Statement in Support of Activists’ Efforts to Stop Cop City and Defend Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta

“We don’t want it… We don’t want it because it doesn’t contribute to life. It’s not an institution of peace. It’s not a way forward for our city that we love.”
-Emory University religion professor Sara McClintock, during the public open comment session at Atalanta City Hall

On Monday, November 13, 2023, the people of Atlanta and supporters from around the country will gather in the Weelaunee Forest to bring the construction of Cop City to a halt. Justice Outside is in solidarity with them. Here are ways our community can take action regardless of where you are:

  • Click here to learn more about and participate in the mass mobilization on Monday. 
  • Click here to learn about other events organized by the community from November 10-13 and participate in them. 
  • Learn more about and support the movements to defend the forest and Stop Cop City and follow the organizations on social media and uplift their voices and demands. 

Earlier this week, 61 activists and protesters indicted on racketeering charges related to protests against a planned police and firefighter training facility near Atlanta appeared in court for arraignment. This is the latest development after nearly two years of protests, forest protection and civil disobedience by community members who are tirelessly working to prevent the creation of Cop City. This newest development raises significant concerns about transparency, environmental justice, and community well-being. 

Cop City, a police training center, will come not only at the cost of devastating impact on one of the country’s old forests, Weelaunee Forest, but also be built near sites that hold historical and cultural significance to Indigenous Americans and Black Americans. Read more about the history of the forest, its original inhabitants, and more here

We, at Justice Outside, commend the activists who are working tirelessly to shed light on the impacts of Cop City on the environment and on communities, especially on Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color who often bear the brunt of environmental disaster. These activists deserve support, not criminalization and legal charges. 

We call on Mayor Andre Dickens to take concerns raised by the activists in Atlanta into account. We reiterate the call of the activists on the ground: our communities do not need more resources devoted to law enforcement. The most sustainable way to create safety is to invest in the economic and social well-being of the people of Atlanta. We cannot build a safer Atlanta, or world, by destroying our environment and ignoring the voices of communities. It’s time for Atlanta to reverse this outsized court decision, clear activists of charges, and halt all development at Cop City. The people of Atlanta have spoken and they must be heard. 

Photo credit: Chad Davis on Flickr.