Neal, a Jamaican citizen who owned and operated a yacht servicing company for 25 years in South Florida, spent 17 months in a prison that’s been converted into a detention center for immigrants in Georgia. Speaking to us of his experience at the Folkston ICE Processing Center, Neal described a prison that lacks basic safety and care for the people detained there and overall conditions that reveal a jarring lack of regard for human life. “That place is not for safety or for human beings—it is just for money,” said Neal, who wishes to be identified by his first name only. “I thought this government was going to close down all of those private ICE prisons. Politicians say anything when they want votes.” On June 30, a government investigation of Folkston identified numerous violations that “compromised the health, safety, and rights” of detained immigrants.
The hearing on July 26 was part of an investigation by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into USP Atlanta, which is a facility for pretrial detainees. So far, the investigation has focused on civil rights violations, prison staff misconduct, the flow of contraband and narcotics, and the high rate of suicides. According to Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff, who is the chair of the subcommitee, “The investigation has revealed that gross misconduct persisted at this facility for at least nine years, and that much of the damning information revealing misconduct, abuse, and corruption was known to BOP and accessible to BOP leadership during that period.” The subcommittee invited outgoing BOP Director Michael Carvajal to testify, but the Justice Department initially declined to make Carvajal available.
About a dozen customers were spread around the Ansley Mall Starbucks on a recent Friday, quietly working at tables or fiddling on their smartphones. From behind the counter came the tapping of brewing tools, the crinkling of wrappers, a bean-grinder straining. Two baristas wore shirts with rainbows and the words, “So glad you’re here.” The café felt laid-back, friendly, bright, welcoming and diverse. The only sign that this one was any different than 9,000 other Starbucks stores was a button, half-hidden in the folds on one barista’s apron.
Atlanta, Georgia - “We are on the timeline in which everyone loses,” a friend once said. It always felt that way. Even though we always tried, all of us, our victories were always innovations in methods, in discourse. Something is changing. In the forest. Across the city. Even more, it’s as if an astral plane has opened up. This plane, if it exists, seems to spiral outward in every direction. Everything is growing from one simple fact: we really intend to win. We won’t let them take everything from us, to pave over everything with condos and parking lots. Hundreds of people ride dirtbikes and ATVs on a Sunday afternoon, giving shared meaning and purpose across three generations of small-time mechanics and adventurers. Music pulses through the trees as small groups find their way down the walking path, dimly lit by glow sticks, dancing beneath the stars for free; no doorman, no cover fee. On the edge of town, apartment complexes split the cost of bounce houses so that all of the children can celebrate birthdays together, sharing food and community in the warm Georgia sun, despite whatever challenges the work week holds.
Activists from throughout the country have converged on Atlanta this week to oppose the construction of the police training facility and the destruction of the forest upon which the project depends. Dubbed “Cop City” by its critics, the 85-acre police training facility carries a price tag of $90 million for its initial phase. In September, 2021, Atlanta’s City Council approved a proposal to construct the facility within a huge swath of forested land in unincorporated DeKalb county southeast of Atlanta. The particular parcel of land slated to become a police training center is the former home of a city-run prison farm, which operated in the area from 1920 to 1989. The facility was used to house prisoners from Atlanta who were forced to work on the farm raising food for the city’s prison population.
A black sedan barreled it’s way into the south power cut blocking off a MAJOR entrance to the woods off Constitution Road across from Black Hall Studios Sunday night, May, 8th, accompanied by a banner that states, “Fuck this World And It’s Cops”– kicking off the, “Week of Action,” to, “Defend the Forest,” in south Atlanta… A huge ass bonfire along with a vast array of fireworks and feral friends silhouetted and serenaded the break in the forest that has now come to be one of the main zones to defend against police incursion into the woods so many people and non-human animals call home. Cop City and Black Hall Studios will NEVER be built as long as Forest Defenders occupy these 500 or so collective acres of woods and comrades continue to engage in the practice that, “solidarity means attack.”
Atlanta, Georgia – Carrying signs decrying “racist traitors,” about a hundred civil rights activists marched and chanted at Georgia’s Stone Mountain on Saturday to protest at the return of an annual celebration of the Confederacy at the foot of a towering monument to the heroes of the South’s pro-slavery past. As dozens of state and local police, including SWAT teams with armored trucks, looked on, the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) with 200 supporters gathered for its celebration, which it says honors the sacrifices of their forebears. The Atlanta NAACP and other civil rights supporters, some using megaphones to try to shout down the event, which it views as a salute to the South’s legacy of racism.
After Abby's major legal victory getting Georgia's anti-BDS law ruled unenforceable, Israel has hit back by getting the State Legislature to keep this brazenly unconstitutional law officially on the books.
The three white men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced Friday to life in prison, with a judge denying any chance of parole for the father and son who armed themselves and initiated the deadly pursuit of the Black man in February 2020. The life sentences for Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery, and his father, Gregory McMichael, do not carry the possibility of parole. Their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan will be eligible, however, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said. Bryan must serve at least 30 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Millions of people in the United States believe the justice system—from the cops in the street right on up to the judges in the courthouse—is fair and unbiased. Millions of people also believe systemic racial and class biases are relics of a bygone era washed away by progressivism, the election of the First Black President, and the great healer called Time. But those millions of people need to wake up and watch Jason Pollock’s documentary, “Finding Kendrick Johnson” (2021), for a healthy and horrifying dose of reality. The film begins with Kendrick Johnson, a 17-year-old Black student, who was found dead in 2013 inside a rolled-up mat that was propped up against a little-used wall in the gymnasium of Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia.
On September 3, 54 school bus drivers in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System SCCSS) in Georgia began a rolling sickout and staged a protest at the school district offices over pay structure and lack of adequate protections from COVID-19. The sickouts forced the school board to scramble for drivers to transport students. The school relies on about 218 drivers to ferry more than 18,700 students to and from school; the 54 drivers who are protesting represent about 22 percent of the district’s drivers. A school district spokesperson reported that the district had been forced to call upon private coaches and other employees with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) to make up for the deficit. The school board released a statement on Friday saying that they were already understaffed, and they were trying to hire more drivers.
Savannah, Ga. — A former Georgia prosecutor was indicted Thursday on misconduct charges alleging she used her position to shield the men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery from being charged with crimes immediately after the shootings. A grand jury in coastal Glynn County indicted former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson on a felony count of violating her oath of office and hindering a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor. The indictment resulted from an investigation Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr requested last year into local prosecutors’ handling of Arbery’s slaying after a cellphone video of the shooting and a delay in charges sparked a national outcry. “While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice,” Carr, a Republican, said in a statement.
BCTGM International President Anthony Shelton issued the following statement in support of members of BCTGM Local 42 (Atlanta, Ga.) who are on strike against Nabisco in Norcross, Ga.: “Early this morning, members of Local 42 at the Nabisco distribution center outside Atlanta joined their Brothers and Sisters in Portland, Ore., Aurora, Col., Richmond, Va. and Chicago, Ill. in striking Nabisco. Nabisco workers in all five locations are saying strong and clear: stop exporting our jobs to Mexico and end your demands for contract concessions. The BCTGM will take all appropriate action necessary in order to reach a contract settlement that treats Nabisco workers fairly and equitably.
A federal court ruled in favor of journalist Abby Martin, who was barred from speaking at Georgia Southern University after she refused to pledge she would not boycott Israel.
Anton Flores thought it would be simple to help someone get their water turned back on. "I had a single mom, who was undocumentable, whose utilities had been cut off, and she came to me," Flores, an immigration activist in the small Georgia city of LaGrange, said. He helped new immigrants navigate unfamiliar systems frequently. He figured all they had to do was come up with the money—so they did. Together, they went down to the municipal utility office. But it turned out, getting utilities turned on in LaGrange was a lot more complicated than having the money to pay. In fact, for the undocumented woman in question, it was impossible: with no social security number, the municipal clerk denied her request.