Filed under: Action, Development, Police, Solidarity, Southeast
Report back on solidarity rally with the movement to Defend the Atlanta Forest in Savannah, Georgia.
Following the raids of the Weelaunee Forest and arrest of six forest defenders in mid-December, supporters of the movement to Defend the Atlanta Forest called for a Weekend of Solidarity with the movement from January 13th-16th.
In response, we held a rally outside a Brasfield & Gorrie construction site in Savannah, GA to demand that B&G drop the Cop City contract in Atlanta. More than 30 people came to the rally. While some people had previously heard about the movement to Defend the Atlanta Forest, others learned about it for the first time on social media, at a local punk show, or when they were handed flyers at the farmer’s market earlier the same day.
Protestors chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Brasfield & Gorrie has gotta go!” and “What do we do when the forest is under attack? What do we do? Stand up, fight back!” Our chants and large banners interrupted a historical tour of Wright Square and drew the attention of passerby, both tourists and Savannah residents.
Passerby joined the rally to hear speakers situate the proposed Cop City facility as a reaction to the George Floyd uprising and rebellion in Atlanta after an APD officer murdered Rayshard Brooks in 2020. Speakers described how Cop City would be an extension of forms of environmental racism that have plagued the region since the genocidal colonization of Muscogee ancestral lands and the establishment of the Georgia Colony in Savannah.
Though the police, prosecutors, and some journalists have tried to claim that solidarity and direct action from residents outside of Atlanta is “domestic terrorism,” one speaker stated that “the funders, contractors, and violent police tactics backing Cop City have ties across the nation and the world. Our solidarity must, too.”
"The fight to #StopCopCity poses a question to us: defend the forest so both human and non-human life can thrive, or sacrifice it once again to institutions that have perpetuated racialized violence here in Georgia for hundreds of years?
We stand with the forest defenders!" pic.twitter.com/wRltZAMy1l
— Savannah Against Cop City! (@SavTheForest) January 16, 2023
In addition to sending a clear message to Brasfield & Gorrie, our rally for the Weekend of Solidarity created a space in which we could spread the word about the movement, meet other people who share our desire to fight for the kind of world we want to live in, and begin to scheme ways to build and expand collective power right here in Savannah.
To get involved with events in solidarity with the Defend the Atlanta Forest movement in Savannah, email [email protected] You can also follow @SavTheForest on Twitter.