John Legend tweeted support for the #CommunitiesOverCages #CloseTheJailATL Campaign yesterday, specifically thanking Mayor Bottoms for the community-driven process, encouraging her to include formerly-incarcerated people in its redesign, and linking to our recent article on Vice's Broadly
We agree formerly-incarcerated people should be at the helm, which is why Women on the Rise, a group of formerly-incarcerated women, is leading this campaign with the Racial Justice Action Center and why we've written legislation for a Design Team to determine the future of the building.
In a meeting with the Mayor last month about the repurposing of the jail, she showed enthusiasm for a community-led process and our proposed legislation to implement a Design Team, as well as our vision of it as a Center for Wellness & Freedom.
And while John Legend was tweeting, Mayor Bottoms was presenting at a US Conference of Mayors Meeting on Economic Mobility, where she spoke on the repurposing of the jail stating, "This opens a great opportunity to repurpose the current ACDC facility into a potential Center for Equity. The Center would provide our most vulnerable residents with resources, education and support systems needed to break the cycles of intergenerational poverty."
We're so glad she's taking leadership and ownership of the project but also want to remind her that success is in the process.
A community-led Design Team process is what ensures that the people of Atlanta, not corporate interests, determine what happens with the building and the funds. The transformation of the extra city jail into a Center for Wellness and Freedom is not just another development deal. It is an act of redemption. And redemption demands that the people most harmed by this jail are the ones to guide its transformation through a transparent, community-led process.
Join us tomorrow night as we unveil imaginative design plans for the Center for Wellness & Freedom and hear from two national experts, Jarred Williams of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, & Justice and Deanna Van Buren of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces on closing and repurposing jails across the country. Please RSVP.