Defend the Weelaunee Forest and Stop Cop City
Our Fights against White Supremacy, Police Violence and the Climate Crisis Are Interconnected
Climate Justice Means Taking a Stand Against Racism and State-Sponsored Violence.
In the wake of the George Floyd uprising of 2020, the Atlanta Police Foundation proposed a $90 million police training compound that would be used to train police from across the country, and around the world, in militarized tactics. The project would destroy hundreds of acres of the Weelaunee Forest, one of the largest urban forests in the country. The forest is a key resource to mitigate climate driven extreme heat and flooding in the surrounding majority Black communities.
A vast network of organizations and people have been resisting the project for over two years. The #StopCopCity movement has utilized a wide range of strategies, from community organizing, to direct action, call-in and email campaigns, and legal interventions which have successfully delayed construction of the project.
On January 18, 2023, a community member and Stop Cop City organizer named Tortuguita, was shot and killed by police while defending the forest. Climate Justice Alliance endorsed the statement of solidarity with the movement to Stop Cop City and Defend the Weelaunee Forest, and joined over 1300 groups in calling for an independent investigation of Tortuguita’s death.
Despite this growing opposition to the project, on February 1, 2023, the City of Atlanta approved the final permits for Cop City. Forest defenders from across the US and the world saw the urgent need to respond and converged for several mass mobilizations in Atlanta. Police raided a concert in March 2023 that was part of one of the mobilizations in the Weelaunee and arrested 23 people. Over 60 people now face Georgia state ‘domestic terrorism’ and racketeering charges in the unprecedented crackdown on opponents of this corporate-sponsored paramilitary police training center. This is a critical moment in the campaign to Defend the Weelaunee Forest and Stop Cop City, and a critical moment in the abolition and climate justice movements.
The land slated for development into Cop City has long been the site of racialized violence: the land was violently stolen from the Muscogee (Creek) nation, later became the site of a 19th century slave plantation, and was a forced labor camp (the Old Atlanta Prison Farm) as late as the 1990s.
In Opposition to “Cop City” and In Defense of Black Life & Mother Earth, Climate Justice Alliance Stands with Mobilizations in Atlanta
Click here to read the statement that was released on March 9, 2023 by Dwaign Tyndal, Melissa Miles, Kirtrina Baxter, and Leah Humphrey, the Co-Chairs of Climate Justice Alliance’s Black Caucus.
BREAKING: More police repression against the protests against Cop City, a $90 million police training camp that would be used to train police in militarized tactics. The project would destroy 100s of acres of the Weelaunee Forest. #StopCopCity 🚫👮🏻♂️pic.twitter.com/6MsrbCCEby https://t.co/4an3FtHZaa
— Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) 🌻 (@CJAOurPower) November 13, 2023
A Black Abolitionist View on Cop City
Movement for Black Lives and Community Movement Builders organized a conversation with Dr. Angela Davis and a new generation of Black abolitionists about Atlanta’s Cop City, police militarization, and environmental racism. Angela Davis, Jasmine Burnett (Community Movement Builders), Mariah Parker, and M Adams (M4BL) explained how the militarization of policing started and is continuing to show up in our daily lives, how often-separated movements are finding what ties them together in this fight, and how we are finding creative ways to protest as the state continues to try to make it a crime. They also shared ways you can get involved in #StopCopCity! It’s time to join us in the fight for our communities in Atlanta and anywhere the state inflicts violence to maintain capitalism.
Follow these groups for information and updates.
A vast network of organizations and people have been resisting the project for over two years.
People started lining up at Atlanta City Hall in the morning before the vote to give public comments in opposition to Cop City, and stayed until the early morning hours of the next day. The movement is strong, undeterred by this unconscionable vote and it will #StopCopCity.
Mass Arrests in Atlanta During the Week of Action
Mass Mobilization in Atlanta
In response to the murder of Tortuguita, and the approval of Cop City’s final permit, frontline organizers called for a large scale mobilization in Atlanta from March 4-11.
People from across the country converged in Atlanta to stop Cop City, to defend the Weelaunee Forest, and honor the life of Tortuguita. They were met with violence and repression.
In total, 42 people from the Stop Cop City Movement and the South River Music Festival have been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism.
Defending the Atlanta Forest:
Behind the Movement to Stop Cop City
Hear from the people on the ground in Atlanta, Georgia in this October 2022 Unicorn Riot documentary about their efforts to protect the Weelaunee forest and the people from the Atlanta Police Foundation’s Public Safety Training Center (aka “Cop City”).
Roy Wood Jr. Explores Police Militarization & Atlanta’s “Cop City” | The Daily Show
Police vs. Atlanta: The Battle Over Cop City | AJ+
The Forest Defense Fund supports the work of the broad coalition dedicated to saving the Atlanta Forest.
The Atlanta Solidarity Fund is providing critical legal and bail support for people arrested at protests in Atlanta.