Stop Cop City in Atlanta is a vital movement that seeks to stop the construction of a “training” center for the tactics of mass incarceration. This pivotal, nation-wide struggle deserves all of our attention: the corporate-funded Atlanta Police Foundation is working hand-in-hand with city government to bulldoze the Weelaunee Forest just south of the city and replace it with a $90 million “mock village” for the further training and militarization of the police.
It is the unshakeable, multi-year resistance efforts of Indigenous, environmental, and prison activists that have challenged this project every step of the way, and together we will not stop until we Stop Cop City.
The state repression of the Stop Cop City movement is brutal. During a January raid on the forest, police shot and murdered 26-year-old Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán because they were camping as an act of civil disobedience. We are no stranger to state violence in the face of people’s movements: this brutal act reminds us of the murder of Little Bobby Hutton, the violent repression at Standing Rock, and the bombing of Judi Bari, the dynamic, funny, and rock solid Earth First! Activist that founded the Redwood Justice Fund (the parent nonprofit of Prison Radio).
RJF was built to pursue Judi’s successful lawsuit against the FBI, the ATF, and the Oakland Police Department for the assassination attempt that was meant to kill her. A car bomb blew up under her driver’s seat during Mississippi Summer in the California Redwoods, severely injuring Judi and Darryl Cherney. This CointelPro in the 1990’s disruption campaign against forest activists was led by none other than the infamous Richard W. Held, station agent in charge of the FBI San Francisco field office (See: America’s Secret Police by Noelle Hanrahan).
More than a half-century later in 2023, the police are again arresting peaceful protestors under charges of domestic terrorism. They even raided the offices of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which provides local support for those arrested while protesting, and arrested three of its organizers. This is a preview of the militarized state that Cop City’s construction will advance.
Prison Radio amplifies the voices of imprisoned and jailed activists. We worked with the Water Protectors’ Legal Collective to distribute funds to NoDAPL prisoners. We know that stopping Cop City is a critical front line movement. We need to hear from these folks directly and we are reaching out to make contact and offer our resources to those still being held in jail.
Although Atlanta City Council recently approved funding for Cop City—after 14 hours of public comments almost unanimously denouncing the project—this fight is long from over. As I write, the Stop Cop City movement has come together for its sixth week of action and is organizing fervently to collect enough signatures to launch a historic referendum proceeding. These local efforts are crucial, but this movement needs all of us. No matter where you are, you can join the fight too—and when we fight, we win.
Prison Radio Staff