The latest news from the fight to stop Cop City and save the Weelaunee forest is not good. Activists and organizers, attempting to use all legal means to stop construction have gathered more than 115,000 signatures calling for a referendum vote. The mayor of Atlanta, the City Council, and local election officials, all of whom say the support the police training facility, have refused to count the signatures, and are using classic, Jim-Crow-style voter suppression tactics to try and deny a vote.
Everyone from the local Judges to Georgia voting rights hero Stacy Abrams, to Rev Warnock, the Senator from Georgia who also preaches at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, has called on the Mayor and City Council to stop obstructing, let the signatures be counted, and the people vote on Cop City. But Dickens & the city council are just not listening – captured by corporate interests and unable to see a living forest as anything more than a clearcut waiting to happen, they’re refusing to let the people be heard.
There’s something we can all do to support them – sign here to stand with Stacy Abrams, Rev Warnock, the Hip Hop Caucus, and a national coalition of partners who care about climate, forests, and community safety who demand transparency and accountability from the Atlanta City Council on Cop City.
We’ve told you before about the Atlanta Police Foundation’s Cop City, the largest police training center in the country, where police can practice urban warfare, tear gas, bombs, and social movement suppression tactics. Despite waves of protest and non violent civil disobedience since last year, the Atlanta’s City Council voted to approve an additional $37 million in funding for Cop City earlier this year. And they’re not just pro-police: they’re cracking down on anyone who speaks out against Cop City or its political benefactors, throwing activists in jail and escalating charges to a ridiculous degree against non violent activists for handing out fliers, speaking at city council meetings, and supporting bail funds and communal meals.
Now they’re going to use Jim Crow-style tactics to overturn the will of Atlanta voters and keep the project going. They are using a segregationist voter suppression tactic called “signature matching” that is overwhelmingly discriminatory against Black voters and other voters of color, older voters, first-time voters, returning citizen voters, and voters with disabilities.
For years we’ve advocated to defund the police and invest in climate and communities instead. For months, activists have been protesting against the construction of this militaristic police training institution and the people of Atlanta deserve a fair chance at casting their ballots in a referendum. Cop City is the biggest, clearest fight happening today that our struggles for a safe, healthy, livable climate are linked.
The Atlanta City Council needs to restore trust with voters by accepting the good faith collected signatures immediately. Sign the petition and demand transparency and accountability from the Atlanta City Council on Cop City!