February 28, 2023
For Immediate Release
Faith leaders put out a moral call to stop Cop City
200 faith leaders representing thousands of people of faith call on Mayor Dickens and the Atlanta City Council to stop the destruction of the South River Forest and cancel the lease to the Atlanta Police Foundation.
At 12:00 PM EST on Monday, March 6th, 2023, Faith leaders throughout Atlanta and across the country will host a press conference on the Mitchell St side of Atlanta City Hall. The press conference will be followed by a processional March to the front of City Hall—where the Faith Coalition will attend the Atlanta City Council meeting to deliver at least 200 Signed Letters from Faith Leaders expressing their moral stance against the destruction of the South River Forest and the construction of Cop City.
“We will not succumb to evil nor systems or policies that bring harm and destruction. We will continue our work with justice and love, until the day we can all live in peace as God’s children.”
We declare with faith, commitment, and hope that this land will be a part of healing, repair, and the flourishing of all people in the greater Atlanta community and beyond. As people of peace, we commit to work in solidarity for these things, recognizing the continuous efforts of the Mvskoke people, Black freedom fighters, working class organizers, artists and many more who form the stream of past and present liberation movements.
To begin repair and healing of the harm already done, we, Atlanta clergy, religious leaders and all those across the nation and world who are in agreement, join our voices with those calling for:
-A complete stop of the Cop City project, and cancellation of the Atlanta Police Foundation’s lease
-Dropping all charges against forest defenders and protestors and an independent investigation into the usage of domestic terrorism charges. (These charges are unjustified and serve only to stoke fear among activists and community leaders who organize in good faith for the wellbeing of their communities and the planet.)
-An independent investigation into the killing of Manuel Teran, “Tortuguita,” for which recently released video footage of the event suggests there was lying and deceit surrounding the incident on part of law enforcement in their inital reporting of the incident.
-All current and former City Council members and Mayors to heed the voice of the people and their constituents by rescinding their explicit or tacit support for building Cop City including: former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and current Mayor Andre Dickens; previous council members Cleta Winslow, JP Matzigkeit, and Joyce Sheperd; current members Liliana Bakhtiari, Michael Julian Bond, Andrea Boone, Jason Dozier, Amir Farokhi, Dustin Hillis, Marci Collier Overstreet, Howard Shook, Keisha Sean Waites, Matt Westmoreland, and Jason Winston.
-The community process to continue envisioning how the Weelaunee River and Forest can be the heart and lungs of community wellness and healing. This process should center the voices and needs of: Mvskoke leaders and community members; incarcerated people in the surrounding prisons and their families; neighbors and those who live in close proximity to APD firing range and under police surveillance throughout the city; and community organizations fighting for holistic community safety, clean water, tree canopies, and a future for all children.
FAITH COALITION TO STOP COP CITY
The FAITH COALITION TO STOP COP CITY will host a press conference on Monday, March 6th at 12:00 PM on the back side of Atlanta City Hall:
68 Mitchell St SW
Atlanta, GA 30303