We're sure you've already heard by now about the indefensible vote in Atlanta City Council on Saturday that resulted in the Atlanta Police Department receiving a budget increase despite years of injustices including the recent police murder of Rayshard Brooks.1,071 people called in from across the city for 16 hours of public comment passionately urging the Council to DEFUND the police and close the jail- but clearly many on our City Council are still not listening.
The Communities Over Cages: Close the Jail ATL Campaign knows that every day the Atlanta City Detention Center remains open, APD will have reason to arrest people in order to fill it. Every day the jail remains open, Atlantans are at risk for further harassment, violence, and death at the hands of APD. We want all carceral systems defunde din Atlanta.Closing the jail and demolishing it moves Atlanta further from harmful policing and closer to equity, freedom, and wellness, which is why our anchor organizations Racial Justice Action Center and Women on the Rise joined community demands put forth in the wake of the police murder of Rayshard Brooks which also call for the decriminalization of the city code, so petty offenses carry no potential for arrest.
As you know, our work to defund the jail was also up for vote on Saturday- and we're happy to announce that, thanks to you, City Council voted to defund the jail by millions of dollars, which included reallocating $1.5 million for the community-based alternative to arrest, the Atlanta/Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Program.
We still don't have a date for the jail's closure though - despite the Reimagining ACDC Taskforce Report release last week that issued a clear call to action- to not only decriminalize all municipal offenses responsible for filling the jail cells, but to close & demolish the building into a Center for Wellness & Freedom.
Many of our Councilmembers showed their true colors this weekend, playing politics with people's lives. But we haven't forgotten they're all up for re-election soon and we're just getting started. This weekend just confirmed what we already knew - that Atlanta intends to continue business as usual and that it's up to us to continue to stoke the flames of justice, put forward bold visions for a redeemed Atlanta, and hold decision makers accountable if we truly want to transform our city into one that relies on community, not jails & police, to keep us safe.
Stay tuned for more as we continue to demand that justice can't wait - we need a date to close the city jail and break ground on a new day.
P.S. In the meantime, keep up with our allies working to defund the police, including Black Futurists Group, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, JUST Georgia, Project South, Southern Center for Human Rights, and more.
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