For Immediate Release
Students, Educators, and Neighbors Rally to Defend Weelaunee Forest and Stop Cop City
ATLANTA — On Saturday, March 11th from 10:00am to 2:00pm, Atlanta student leaders, children, families, educators, and community members will come together for a Youth Rally and Festival at Brownwood Park in East Atlanta to protest the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest (South River Forest) and the development of “Cop City.” This peaceful youth and family-centered event will include a rally and march, live music and entertainment, free lunch and snacks, art activities, and a teach-in about the movement to defend Weelaunee Forest and stop cop city.
This event will close out a Week of Action to defend Weelaunee Forest from destruction. This event is organized by the Weelaunee Coalition, a multi-racial, intergenerational group of educators, students, families and neighbors organizing to stop Cop City and protect the Weelaunee Forest (South River Forest).
The Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), a corporate-backed nonprofit organization that privately funds police militarization and expansion, intends to raze roughly 380 acres or more of vital forested watershed to build the nation’s largest police training facility. “Cop City” will include military-grade training facilities, shooting ranges, and a replica city for law enforcement to hone protest suppression skills and strategies. The planned training facility has been widely opposed by residents for many years; however, public outcry over the destruction of the forest, the development of Cop City, and the city and county’s repressive tactics has exploded following Georgia State Patrol officers’ fatal shooting of Manuel Esteban “Tortugita” Paez Terán, a 26-year-old environmental activist peacefully occupying the forest, and the arrest and subsequent domestic terrorism charges levied against seven additional activists engaged in nonviolent protest to protect the forest from destruction. For more information on the profound importance of protecting the Weelaunee Forest and preventing the development of Cop City, please refer to Stop Cop City: A Syllabus.
As Rukia Rogers, founder and director of the Highlander School, says, “We are the people of Atlanta, educators, families and children reimagining the ways in which we live together. A community where the basic rights of each member are fulfilled and we have the capacity to thrive. Our Beloved Community includes the Weelaunee Forest as an integral part of our sustainable future as well as our opposition to increased police militarization and violence in a free society. We are fighting for a future worthy of young children, worthy of us all.”
The Youth Rally and Festival will provide an opportunity for community members from across Atlanta to come together to celebrate the strength and resilience of the community, and demand that plans for Cop City and all destruction of Weelaunee Forest be canceled.
Date/Time: Saturday March 11th, 10am-2pm
Location: Brownwood Park, 607 Brownwood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316