Defend the Atlanta Forest
The Atlanta Forest is one name given to a Weelaunee, the forest located in Muscogee territory, one of the largest in the so-called United States. Two projects intertwine to threaten this forest. On one side of the woods, police are attempting to build the largest paramilitary training center for police on U.S. soil, activist dubbed Cop City. On the other, a private Hollywood land developer "swapped" forested park land for a desolate former movie studio in a shady backroom deal. Both of these land grabs would clearcut dozens or hundreds of acres of trees. The South River Forest is vital to protecting South Atlanta from flooding and the worst impacts of climate change. This led to two movements working together to save the woods:
The private developer, Ryan Millsap, involved in the shady land swap, has repeatedly threatened protestors with construction equipment, up to and including bulldozing a large section of public park without legal authority or permits. While a stop work order posted confirms the destruction was illegal, Millsap will not be punished . Meanwhile dozens of peaceful protestors have been charged with terrorism for alleged crimes such as as attending a music festival, sleeping in a hammock and occupying a tree.
In January of this year, during a brutal raid on a protest encampment in the woods, police shot and killed 26 year old activist "Tortuguita" Teran (they/them). While the police claim Tort shot an officer, an independent autopsy found they were shot through both palms while sitting on the ground with their hands in the air. No bodycam footage exists of the shooting itself, but in other footage officers can be heard discussing the friendly fire incident. Since Tort's death attacks against the forest defenders by police have only increased.
The citizens of Atlanta have been clear that they do not want either of these facilities built. 17 hours of public comment was made which overwhelmingly opposed Cop City, but the will of the people was overridden. The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and more than a thousand other organizations have called for the project to be cancelled.
How Can I Help?
Sign the Petitions