When the government is incapable

It’s just unbelievable, or sadly, it is believable, that Congress can suggest severe cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Social Security, Medicare, and other social safety net programs. All of which could be paid for by a small fraction of the military budget. This is just another example of the government being incapable of helping us. And/or unwilling to do so.

The following is from Des Moines Mutual Aid, that I am proud to be a part of.

In the late 1970’s the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for School Children Program fed tens of thousands of children daily. Our free food project in Des Moines is a continuation of the program started by the Des Moines Chapter of The Black Panther Party for Self Defense fifty years ago.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recognized what a threat the free food program was to the status quo in those days.

Free food seemed relatively innocuous, but not to FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, who loathed the Black Panther Party and declared war against them in 1969. He called the program “potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for,” and gave carte blanche to law enforcement to destroy it.

How the Black Panthers’ Breakfast Program Both Inspired and Threatened the Government. The Panthers’ popular breakfast programs put pressure on political leaders to feed children before school by ERIN BLAKEMORE, History.com, FEB 6, 2018

Newly uncovered FBI records are a poignant reminder of just how long African Americans and others have been demanding fair treatment from the law. Together with the marches across the nation last year after the killing of George Floyd, the records serve as a stark reminder why lasting police reform can no longer be delayed.

The FBI documents shed new light on a scandalous raid on a Black Panthers apartment on Chicago’s West Side on Dec. 4, 1969. In the pre-dawn raid, officers under the command of then-Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan shot and killed Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

The killing of two Black Panthers, the secrets of the FBI — and our nation’s long fight for police reform. Newly released documents shed disturbing light on the FBI’s involvement in a 1969 police raid that resulted in the deaths of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark by CST Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan 24, 2021,

When those in authority talk about threats, they are referring to social, political, and militarized policing threats. Threats of violence and death.

It’s important to point out that Mutual Aid is absolutely nonviolent. Violence is antithetical to Mutual Aid. The following describes the first action of Des Moines Mutual Aid, participating in a peace march.

One year ago today Des Moines Mutual Aid participated in a march protesting the potential for war or increased hostilities with Iran that followed the fallout of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by drone strike in Baghdad.

This was our first “public” event since adopting the name Des Moines Mutual Aid, a name we gave our crew during our growing work with our relatives at the houseless camps throughout the city and our help with coordinating a weekly free grocery store that has a 50 year history, founded by the Des Moines Chapter of The Black Panther Party For Self Defense.

Des Moines Mutual Aid, January 7, 2020

For years I’ve been warning about the collapse of our social, political, and governance systems from environmental chaos. But it has become increasingly clear that social and political collapse from extremists and the movement to authoritarianism is happening now. Authoritarianism advancing with the aid of increasingly militaristic, deadly police forces. With radically expanding surveillance and characterizing political dissent as terrorism. I removed the credit for the quote above from a good friend of mine for security reasons in this political climate.

So, it’s time for many more of us to do something like a free food program again. A growing number of us are doing what “the government is incapable of”. In a minute I’ll be leaving to go to our Des Moines Mutual Aid free food project, as I have for almost three years.

Mutual Aid is something I’ve written about extensively. See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/mutual-aid/

Stop Oil Trains

I’ve been horrified, watching the scene of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. That reminded me of another train derailment which was in Sandpoint, Idaho in 2016.

The press release below for a protest against fossil fuels train pollution at that time reminds me of one of my solo demonstrations. Oil trains were moving through Indianapolis at the time (2016).

One of the arguments sometimes made for pipelines was they were a safer way to transport oil than trains. We have to keep all fossil fuel in the ground. Thus, we don’t need oil trains or any more pipelines, refineries, cargo ships or any other fossil fuel infrastructure.

We had planned a demonstration, but when no one else showed up, I asked someone walking by to take a photo of me and my sign.

2016 Downtown Indianapolis


Media contact: Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide. wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com, 208-301-8039

Saturday Protest of Fossil Fuels Train Pollution

February 1, 10 am rally & carpool at Sandpoint City Beach Park, & 11 am march from Bonners Ferry Visitors Center (Sandpoint, Idaho)

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), #No2ndBridge, and regional climate activists are hosting a Fossil Fuels Train Pollution Protest in Bonner and Boundary counties on Saturday, February 1. Participants are gathering at 10 am around the City Beach Park pavilion in Sandpoint, Idaho, for a brief, information sharing rally. Carpoolers are next traveling to the Gateway Visitors Center in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, to march at 11 am and return to Sandpoint by 1 pm.

This community event commemorates the one-month anniversary of the January 1, rockslide derailment and January 26 removal and current disassembly of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, mixed freight train locomotive that submerged and leaked at least 2,100 gallons of diesel fuel and engine oil into the Kootenai River near Moyie Springs, north Idaho.

Resistance to ongoing, coal, oil, and hazardous materials train pollution and derailment risks and impacts to public and environmental health and safety is increasing across the Idaho Panhandle. Rural, rail corridor residents continue to oppose bridge, track, and operations expansions that compound these threats, such as BNSF’s inherently perilous, present and proposed, fossil fuels pipelines-on-rails across north Idaho, along the Kootenai River, and almost one mile over Lake Pend Oreille.

After dozens of derailments along waterways and deadly and injurious railroad collisions in north Idaho and western Montana during the last decade, frontline activists are demanding that multiple government agencies provide to the public and enforce several measures, to prevent and remediate the ecosystem and economic devastation imposed on rural communities by the Kootenai River wreck and similar disasters. Through comment letters, they are requesting derailment oil spill information, independent water quality and environmental monitoring, protection of native and endangered fish and wildlife, a Federal Railroad Administration incident investigation and penalties, and railroad operation revisions and locomotive recovery plans.

Protest organizers ask that participants dress for winter warmth and dryness, bring friends, family, and creative, relevant signs and banners, assist with event transportation, and sign the Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project [1]. Contact WIRT for further event and emerging issue information, also described through the linked event flyer and announcements [2] and compiled photos and updates [3] on WIRT facebook and website pages.Sandpoint, ID: Protest of Fossil Fuels Train Pollution, RISING TIDE NORTH AMERICA, JANUARY 30, 2020

[1] Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/petition-to-deny-revoke

[2] Fossil Fuels Train Pollution Protest

[3] BNSF Kootenai River Wreck and Spill 1-1-20

College students against Cop City

Students at the Atlanta University Center and Morehouse College denounce the building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center (Cop City)


  • We demand that Morehouse College denounce and sever their support in building the “Public Safety Training Center” in our Atlanta community, which is referred to as “Cop City”.
  • We demand President Thomas dissent, as a Board Member of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, against their support of the creation of Cop City.
  • We call the student body to action. We must advocate for the reallocation of the 30 million of taxpayer dollars to be invested in the Atlanta community.
  • We demand that President Thomas align himself with these demands and join us to fight against every contribution to over policing.

Streamed live on Feb 2, 2023.MOREHOUSE COLLEGE CROWN FORUM: Chris Smalls | Amazon Labor Union | TALKING RACE AND WORKER RIGHTS!

 We got to build the community that we want to live with.
…that’s one without police

Chris Smalls at Morehouse College

The real Fighters and the real leaders are right here in this room and understand that Jay-Z and all these other billionaires like Oprah they’re not going to give us what we want, they’re just not. We have to understand that if we get the opportunity to we got to be the ones to pour back into our communities and not just pour back into our communities we got to build the community that we want to live with.

And let me tell you one that is one without police. Let’s tell you right now that’s one without police. That’s a mouthful and that’s definite. That’s a revolution. Chris Smalls, I want to thank you for the words that you’ve given us today and I want to start with something that you said, and I think it’s very important that we remember this. We are here to keep it real and keep it black. These students are here, these are Morehouse students and members and faculty of the community who agree that there is a problem. We are here to discuss a system that is historically and continuously oppressing our community. We are here to acknowledge the murder of Tyree Nichols.

We are here to address the construction of a mass police training center in Atlanta. And we are here to discuss Morehouse’s contributions to a system that does not serve black people. Morehouse, policing in America has not served our people their needs, their interests. It is not serving us. Morehouse has issued a statement referencing the murder of Tyree Nichols by law enforcement not only commemorating his life but to publicly endorse the mass militarization of the police. Morehouse has endorsed the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, also known as Cop City, for those who are unaware. Cop City is a Training Center built in a black community or planning to be built in a black community in Atlanta. The residents of Atlanta have descended its construction of the facility since its approval in September of 2021. There have been three years of peaceful protests, but the people have not been heard and the protests have resulted in violence. Two weeks ago, a protester was killed for believing what they thought was what they believed to be right standing against Cop City. And two days ago, Mayor Dickens of Atlanta addressed the building in this facility and not once did he acknowledge the problem of police brutality in our community. He alleged that Atlanta officers are already required to undergo civil rights history education training, but his team failed to address the murders of black people historically in Atlanta. The murder of Rayshard Brooks by APD or Anthony Hill a veteran with mental health issues who was undergoing amental health episode and was killed naked in the streets, these streets of DeKalb County where they plan to erect Cop City. There is an undeniable reality that police systems in our communities, across America, are terrorizing our people.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 10, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Kannette King

Students of the Atlanta University Center Denounce the Building of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center
Morehouse College Holds Private Forum with Mayor of Atlanta to Discuss Atlanta Public Safety Training Center
Atlanta, GA – On Thursday, February 2, 2023, students of the Atlanta University Center occupied a school-sanctioned event at Morehouse College. During the event, the students shared their concerns about the College’s association with the Atlanta Public Training Center, as well as the larger issue of systemic oppression and police brutality in the city of Atlanta.

Following the event, the students refused any private discussion of the Institution’s relationship with the training center, demanding a public forum for President Thomas to address all students’ concerns publically. The President organized a forum addressing the student body and invited Mayor Dickens to address the construction of the Atlanta Public Training Center. This raised a new concern address in the forum by the student speaker.

On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, Morehouse College hosted a private forum with the Mayor of Atlanta for students from the Atlanta University Center. Unfortunately, the forum was not open to the public and residents of the community were not given the opportunity to attend and express their concerns. Additionally, Clark Atlanta University personnel were not formally invited, and Spelman College only informed their students about the event an hour before it took place.

Despite these limitations, the President of Morehouse College allowed only one student to make a statement during the program, which was limited to five minutes in the ninety-minute forum. Many questions were left unanswered and students departed the event feeling disappointed in the condescending manner of communication from the Mayor. It appeared that the purpose of the Mayor and his staff was not to converse with the community about public concerns, but instead to propagate the need for an Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.

In conclusion, the intention of the forum was to address the concerns of students and the community, but it was clear that many of these concerns were not taken seriously. The students and residents of Atlanta deserve a platform where their voices can be heard and their concerns addressed in a meaningful way.

About Morehouse College: Founded in 1867, Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts institution located in Atlanta, GA. The College has a rich history of producing outstanding leaders and thinkers, and has a commitment to providing a transformative educational experience for its students.
About Atlanta University Center: The Atlanta University Center is a consortium of historically black colleges and universities located in Atlanta, GA. The consortium includes Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University, and is dedicated to providing world-class educational opportunities for African American students.

Video of 02/02/23 Student Demonstration

Morehouse students issue demands, statement on Cop City


To the Morehouse Community,

The Graves Hall Bell, forged in 1886 from Bethlehem Steel in Baltimore, MD, serves as a Morehouse relic that was utilized to signify danger or celebration. Whenever there was a sign of external danger towards the campus grounds, the bell would be rung for students and staff to seek refuge to the nearest building in sight. The Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, Cop City, is a threat that is approaching our institution and community.

In 2016, The bell was rung to signify a universal danger, the election of Donald J. Trump. We find ourselves again in times of imminent danger. With the creation of Cop City, it is apparent the enemy is near. We must speak up about the development of Cop City, for its construction will only lead to more instances of police brutality and racial profiling within the Atlanta community. We, the concerned Morehouse students, understand the great moral hypocrisy of our institution supporting the implementation of this policing facility, and we can not allow this to go unnoticed.

The bell will ring!

From the Samuel T. Graves Era to the present day, this bell embodies the immense amount of triumph and strength that this institution has been able to endure. For these reasons, we will ring the bell in honor and support of its historical significance.

Signed, Students Allied to the Movement


I. We demand that Morehouse College denounce and sever their support in building the “Public Safety Training Center” in our Atlanta community, which is referred to as “Cop City”.

II. We demand President Thomas dissent, as a Board Member of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, against their support of the creation of Cop City.

III. We call the student body to action. We must advocate for the reallocation of the 30 million of taxpayer dollars to be invested in the Atlanta community.

IV. We demand that President Thomas align himself with these demands and join us to fight against every contribution to over policing.

Des Moines, Iowa

More blog posts: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/?s=Tortuguita+

Police vs Atlanta and the rest of us

The proposed construction of “Cop City”, an 85-acre, $90 million dollar project to build a police training facility in the South River Forest in Atlanta, is a prime example of so many injustices.

  • Land theft from the Muskogee people
  • Forced displacement of the Muskogee, the “Trail of Tears”
  • Enslavement of people of color
  • Once a prison with a history of abuse
  • Environmental injustice
  • Attempted corruption of city council members
  • Killing Manuel Teran (Tortuguita)
  • Charges of terrorism against people protesting the training center, and the death of Tortuguita

And these concerns are not limited to Atlanta, or Georgia. The plan is to train police there from all over the country.

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Groups who oppose the construction of Atlanta’s future public safety training facility are asking the courts to block construction at the site until the appeal against its land disturbance permit is sorted out. 

In Monday’s complaint, individuals said that despite an appeal against its permit, the Atlanta Police Foundation — who is the main funder of the project — is still clearing land at the planned site of the future training facility. The site has been the epicenter of a more than yearlong protest movement that refers to the area as “Cop City.”

Those who oppose the facility said the appeal should mean that the foundation must stop all construction or clearing of the site until the zoning board reaches a decision — but the foundation has continued business as usual.

Complaint filed to stop construction at Atlanta Public Safety Training Center amid permit appeal, Documents allege crews are still working on the land when they shouldn’t be by Gabrielle Nunex, 11Alive News, Feb 15, 2023

This video from Al Jazeera explains the many problems related to the proposed “Cop City” project in Atlanta.

From the transcript:

I’m not sure they’re trying to force us out of the community and just take over the whole Community overall but that’s what it looked like. The path we headed down to Atlanta’s proposal to construct the police facility here speaks to the land’s painful history.

The site was a prison farm until 1995. Prisoners there were subjected to harsh punishments and slave conditions including poor sanitation nutrition and overcrowding. Some critics say claims of unmarked graves have not yet been properly investigated.

Before that the land is thought to have been a plantation that enslaved at least 19 people. It was originally stolen from the Muskogee who lived there until the U.S government forcefully displaced them to Oklahoma. Today both activists and tribal members have reclaimed the indigenous name as Weelaunee People’s Park. Local Advocates have long called for the area to be preserved as a historical site. They just can’t wait, they cannot wait, they just want to go in and bulldoze everything and then write the history the way they want. They haven’t even done proper you know, ecological surveys yet. But Cop City isn’t the only facility that the residents have opposed. Around the forest is a Hollywood studio, sanitation Center, juvenile prison and asphalt and trucking factories, and KIRO landfill. Nobody wants to address the environmental Injustice of this. Those issues have never been vetted. The facilities have severely polluted Muscogee Creek which flows downstream to the South River.

History of the Land

Until the 1830s, the Weelaunee Forest — now called the South River Forest, located southeast of Atlanta — was occupied by the Muscogee people. The Muscogee were known as the first tribe to become “civilized” through George Washington’s civilization plan, a six-step plan to disrupt Native culture, occupy native land, and teach Indigenous people how to live like white settlers. 

The Muscogee were forcefully removed from the forest in the 1830s through the “Trail of Tears,” a decades-long movement to forcibly remove Indigenous people from their homelands, resulting in thousands of deaths. Following their removal, the land was purchased by plantation owner Lochlin Johnson. During the Civil War, it was the site of the Battle of Atlanta.

In 1918, 1,250 acres of the forest were bought by the Bureau of Prisons and United States Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta for $160,000. Until the early 1990s, the land was used as a prison farm.

Atlanta Is Starting Construction of ‘Cop City.’ Here’s What You Need to Know. We take a deep dive on the history of the land, the environmental and political implications, and the growing movement against the facility by Adam Mahoney, Madeline Thigpen, and Adam Mahoney, Capital B News, Feb 9, 2023

This is a link to posts I’ve written about “Cop City”. https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/?s=%22cop+city%22

On January 31st, we had a solidarity action in Des Moines related to “Cop City” and the killing of Tortuguita. We visited the local office of Cushman and Wakefield. They are a global corporation and John O’Neill is the President of U.S. Multifamily Capital Markets of the global firm. We asked the president at the local office to contact him to cut ties with the Atlanta Police Foundation. He confirmed that he did, for what it’s worth.

Following are some of the photos I took at our action that morning.

Spirit, Justice, Mutual Aid, Healing and Survival

A number of ideas have come together for me lately. So, I’ve taken some time to write the following, putting them all together.

The PDF of Spirit, Justice, Mutual Aid, Healing and Survival can be found below. There is a button to download the PDF.

This is the link to the same PDF document online: spirit-justice-mutual-aid-healing-and-survival.pdf

Additionally, I’ve published an eBook version of the same document here:
Spirit, Justice, Mutual Aid, Healing and Survival eBook version

Feel free to leave comments below.

Spirit, Justice, Mutual Aid, Healing and Survival

‘Cop City’ Opposition Spreads

Concerns and demands for investigation of the fatal police shooting of Tortuguita are growing.
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/?s=Tortuguita+)

The Atlanta public safety training center’s land disturbance permit (LDP) is being challenged by a member of the project’s own review committee, and another member has resigned in outrage over the police killing of a protester at the site.

Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee (CSAC) member Amy Taylor filed an appeal on Feb. 6 with the DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA). The appeal claims the County improperly issued the LDP because the project would violate a state limit on sediment runoff and because its lease gives an inaccurately large number for the amount of green space set aside.

Meanwhile, CSAC member Nicole Morado quit on Jan. 18, the day that police killed protester Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran, after the protester allegedly shot and wounded a state trooper during a raid of civil-disobedience campers on the site.

“Really I did not want to be affiliated with a project that is using police violence and taking lives…,” Morado said in a phone interview. “I’m still an interested resident. I just don’t want to be affiliated with that group any longer.”

“It was kind of getting uncomfortable about how some of the members were being OK with how the police were treating the protesters over exaggerated concern over safety of the police officers,” she (Morado) said. “I was like, gimme a break. They can handle this. They’re professionals. … [The protesters are] just a bunch of kids – nonviolent, Earth-loving people.”

TRAINING CENTER PERMIT CHALLENGED BY ITS OWN REVIEW COMMITTEE MEMBER. Another Quits Over Protester Killing by John Ruch, Saporta Report, Feb 6, 2023

The public safety traning center’s master plan as of November 2022. (Image by Atlanta Police Foundation.)

(Atlanta police chief) Schierbaum was speaking about a march through midtown Atlanta, Georgia, last Saturday night that began peacefully, only to see several protesters separate and begin breaking windows of businesses and lighting fire to a police car. The marchers were protesting “Cop City”, an 85-acre, $90m training facility planned for South River forest, a wooded area south-east of the city.

They were also protesting the fatal police shooting of Tortuguita, a fellow activist, less than a week earlier, on a raid in the Atlanta forest where dozens have been tree-sitting and camping for more than a year.

The march, arrests of 18 activists charged under a state domestic terrorism law, a series of raids on the forest in recent weeks and Tortuguita’s killing have escalated tensions over Cop City. They culminated Thursday afternoon in the Georgia governor, Brian Kemp, declaring a state of emergency. Under the order, up to 1,000 national guard troops will be available until 9 February or upon further order.

Georgia is seeking to define ‘Cop City’ protests as terrorism, experts say. Actions by police match rhetoric from state politicians seeking to define a largely peaceful protest movement as terrorism by Timothy Pratt, The Guardian, Jan 28, 2023

Brian Kemp, the Georgia governor who declared a state of emergency and mobilized 1,000 members of the national guard over the (Atlanta) protests, has blamed “out-of-state rioters” and a “network of militant activists who have committed similar acts of domestic terrorism across the country” for the troubles.

Georgia’s response to the protests follows an alarming pattern of environmental and land rights defenders across the US being threatened, arrested and charged with increasingly drastic crimes, including terrorism, for opposing oil and gas pipelines or the destruction of forests or waterways, advocates claim.

“This was meant as a chilling deterrent, to show that the state can kill and jail environmental defenders with impunity. It reflects a trend towards escalation and violence to distract from the real issue of advancing corporate interests over lands,” said Nick Estes, author of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.

Atlanta shooting part of alarming US crackdown on environmental defenders. Twenty states have enacted laws restricting rights to peaceful protest, as environmentalists are increasingly criminalized by Oliver Milman and Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, Feb 2, 2023.

Two editorials on the $90m, 85-acre project, called “Cop City” by activists, recently appeared in the New York Times, both calling attention to flaws in the democratic process that led Atlanta city council to approve the training center in late 2021.

Students and faculty from Atlanta-area schools Emory University, Morehouse College, Spelman College and other historically Black schools also issued statements this week, urging the schools to denounce the project.

Three members of Congress – Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush and Senator Ed Markey – have called for an independent investigation into Tortuguita’s death, who law enforcement officials say fired first, wounding a Georgia state patrol officer.

More recently, opposition to development in South River forest has included neighborhood associations, established environmental groups such as the Sierra Club’s Georgia chapter, local schools, Atlanta-area citizens and others. About 70% of more than 1,000 comments to Atlanta city council in advance of their September 2021 vote on the project also opposed the project, according to an independent analysis.

‘COP CITY’ OPPOSITION SPREADS BEYOND GEORGIA FOREST DEFENDERS. Law Enforcement Training Center Has Drawn Attention And Concern From A Broad Range Of Local And National US Voices Who Worry About Its Impact by Timothy Pratt, The Guardian, Feb 9, 2023

Stop Cop City solidarity in Des Moines, 1/31/2023

Family of Manuel Teran demands GBI release info 

There continues to be no public police response to the killing of Manuel Esteban Paez Teran. A private autopsy found they had been shot at least thirteen times. Their body was so badly mangled the exact count could not be made.
(See other posts about this: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/?s=Tortuguita+ )

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (WUPA) – The family of Manuel Esteban Paez Teran joined attorneys and advocates at a press conference on Monday, February 6, demanding the Georgia Bureau of Investigation release details on its investigation into the officer-involved shooting death of Teran.

The family’s attorneys said Teran, who was also known as Tortuguita and went by the pronouns they and them, was shot about 13 times with different guns, based on an independent autopsy. Teran’s mother, Belkis Teran, said the activist, who was born on April 23, 1996, was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Florida State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an associate’s degree in Sociology. During the press conference, she and her husband described Teran’s passion for preserving the environment and inspiring people, as well as the tragedy of losing one of their children.

Family of Manuel Teran demands GBI release info on deadly police shooting by Velencia Jones, CW69Atlanta, 2/7/2023

The idea of “Cop City” came after the uprisings in 2020 when the police-perpetrated murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and here in Atlanta, Rashad Brooks, began a new call for defunding and/or abolishing the police. While communities wrestled with the idea of alternative forms of public safety, the Black-led city of Atlanta, the Atlanta Police Foundation, the Atlanta Police Department, corporations and institutions in Atlanta as diverse as Morehouse, Spellman, Coca-Cola, the Atlanta Hawks, AT&T, and others, put down their Black Lives Matter signs and started planning a $90 million complex to demonstrate their commitment to police and to develop a tactical site that could stop mass movements. These institutions worked with corporate media to shift the narrative from police violence to a focus on “crime,” where the police were again centered as the solution to all our problems. Once the plans to build Cop City became known to the public, opposition emerged immediately. Although public opinion surveys have shown that 70 percent of Atlanta is against it, the city and its corporate friends have continued to move forward with construction.

But just like King, the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the Black Power movement and the climate movement, we continue to move forward. This campaign to Stop Cop City has participants from all of the above. It is a diverse grouping of organizations, community groups, loose confederations and individuals who continue to fight against the building of Cop City, the criminalization of a movement and in the defense of those falsely charged as terrorists for sitting in trees. It is after these arrests that we have all continued in a weekend of solidarity to fight back against Cop City. We have had multiple trainings, demonstrations, banner droppings and teach-ins, among other organizing efforts. Now, more than ever, the campaign to Stop Cop City needs support to show that movements of people will not be intimidated by state violence and its corporate backers. In the midst of worsening climate change, killing a forest and displacing a Black working-class community for the sake of a militarized police base must be stopped.

MLK’s Vision Lives On in Atlanta’s Fight Against New Police Training Facility. Plans for the “Cop City” in the heart of a working-class Black community include a mock city to practice urban warfare by Kamau Franklin, TRUTHOUT, January 17, 2023

Buffalo Rebellion

January 27 at 2:29 PM

Trigger warning: police murder

Last Wednesday, January 18th, militarized police raided Atlanta’s Weelaunee Forest and murdered Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Teran. Tort was camping within the forest alongside other activists in order to defend the land and stop the destruction of 300 acres of the Atlanta Forest for a $90 million dollar “Cop City” to be developed. If built, Cop City will become the largest police training facility in the United States. Set to be designed as a military style compound, Cop City will serve as a model for police militarization where police will undergo urban warfare training, crowd control methods, bomb testing, and more to suppress and further impose racial violence on our communities.

Tort dedicated their life to mutual aid and climate activism. They preached non-violence in the face of state oppression. Buffalo Rebellion supports the demand for an independent investigation into the killing of Tort and rejects the police narrative. We see Tort’s work as a north star, guiding us even in their last moments, showing us that protecting the land from generations of violence and greed is worth our last breath.

As we write this message, the racist Governor of Georgia is calling in military troops to quell protest in response to police murdering another Black man, Tyre Nichols. In fact, police killed more people in 2022 than ever before. Cops protect the status quo, capitalist exploitation of oppressed people and the planet to enrich a few. We are not safe until we rise up to abolish these systems completely and build a new world belonging to all.

We call on everyone to rise in solidarity. There is power and safety in numbers. We urge you to visit the link in our bio for ways to take action now. Defend the Atlanta Forest. Defend the Earth. Defend our lives.

#StopCopCity #defendtheatlantaforest #justicefortortuguita #AbolishPolice

Stop Cop City solidarity in Des Moines, 1/31/2023


FCNL Statement on Anti-racism, Anti-bias, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

My parents, Burt and Birdie Kisling, were involved with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) for many years. I’m very grateful they persuaded me to become involved, too. I was on the General Committee for nine years.

I was reluctant at first because I refused to have a car, so the trip from Indianapolis to Washington, DC, took twenty-two hours via the train, if it was on time, which it usually wasn’t. I would arrive sometime around 9 pm and walk from Union Station to William Penn House. I just had to stop by the US Capital building on the way to take photos, as it was lit so beautifully. I was sometimes approached by Capitol police, but I guess I appeared to be harmless. (Don’t tell my friends at FCNL that I mainly went to DC so I could take photos of all the monuments and memorials. Some of those photos can be found at the end of this.)

As Black History Month begins, here is an article by Lauren Brownlee. Following that is the new FCNL Statement on Anti-racism, Anti-bias, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion that I wanted to share with you.

“I Rage Because I Love”

I strive every day to put my faith, and the love at its heart, into action. I will always remember sitting in a Meeting for Worship in the early days of the Black Lives Matter movement and realizing that I rage because I love. Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, said, “I had to change my mourning into a movement, my pain into purpose, and sorrow into a strategy.” As Quakers say, ‘friend speaks my mind.’  

As Black History Month begins, I again feel rage in mourning for Keenan Anderson, Tyre Nichols, and too many others. I strive to channel my righteous indignation into grounded action. Sometimes that action is reaching out to loved ones to check in on them. Sometimes it is going to a rally, a protest, a vigil, or a march.

Sometimes it is organizing and advocating to change the systems that maintain white supremacy, and those are the moments that I am most grateful for FCNL. While the world we live in was built on a foundation of white supremacy, the world we at FCNL seek centers racial justice.  

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We are the ones who help bend it and there are myriad ways that we can do so. Each of our FCNL issue areas are designed around bending that arc, and our new Statement of Anti-racism, Anti-bias, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (AJEDI) guides how we bend it. 

(article continues here: https://www.fcnl.org/updates/2023-02/i-rage-because-i-love)  

As Black History Month begins, I again feel rage in mourning for Keenan Anderson, Tyre Nichols, and too many others. by Lauren Brownlee, FCNL, February 2, 2023

The Friends Committee on National Legislation is a national, nonpartisan Quaker organization that lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, and environmental stewardship.

Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL fields an expert team of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and works with a grassroots network of tens of thousands of people across the country to advance policies and priorities established by our governing General Committee.

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
As we bear witness and lobby in solidarity with Native Americans, we also honor the Nacotchtank tribe on whose ancestral land the FCNL, FCNL Education Fund, and Friends Place on Capitol Hill buildings stand. They are also known as the Anacostans, the Indigenous people who lived along the banks of the Anacostia River, including in several villages on Capitol Hill and what is now Washington, D.C. By the 1700s, the Nacotchtank tribe had merged with other tribes like the Pamunkey and the Piscataway, both of which still exist today.


A dangerous trend toward authoritarianism

The killing of Tortuguita scares me. As an environmental activist, I often participate with my friends in public actions to try to bring attention to our evolving environmental crisis. I’ve realized for years that white privilege meant I didn’t feel particularly threatened by police during such actions in the past.

I don’t think my Black, Indigenous and other friends of color have ever felt safe from policing.

Now that has changed for me. I do feel threatened in the presence of police. And what really scares me now is how this is an escalation toward authoritarianism.

When Michael Brown was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, ten young people in Indianapolis drove to Ferguson to see how they could help. Prior to the trip they didn’t know each other. They met via social media. I was loosely associated with Indy 10 because one of the members was a Quaker.

When it became known that Indy 10 planned to hold a rally during the Indianapolis 500 Parade, they received numerous death threats. They did not hold the rally then but did a short while later. This photo is from that rally. There was a palpable feeling of fear, but they gathered despite that.

Indy 10, Black Lives Matter, Indianapolis

During Buffalo Rebellion’s Climate Justice Summit last spring, we marched to the offices of MidAmerican Energy to protest their coal burning power plants in Iowa. The Des Moines police arrived, but seeing this as a peaceful gathering, left us alone.

Just three days ago we held a “Stop Police City” solidarity rally in Des Moines, at one of the companies supporting that project. There was some tension as a security guard aggressively hassled us. https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2023/01/31/stop-cop-city-solidarity/


What happened in Atlanta is clearly part of a dangerous trend of US law enforcement attacking climate leaders

Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, a brave environmentalist known as Tortuguita, was shot and killed by the police on January 18 as they (Tortuguita was non-binary and used they/them pronouns) encamped in a forest Tortuguita and other activists had been trying to defend from being razed and turned into an enormous $90m “urban warfare” style police academy. This tragedy is an obscene escalation in the decades long war the United States has been waging on climate activists.

What’s even more troubling is the lack of contrition exhibited by the state that is responsible for Tortuguita’s death.

Environmentalist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran’s death is part of a disturbing trend by Steven Donziger, The Guardian, Feb 2, 2023

“What’s even more troubling is the lack of contrition exhibited by the state that is responsible for Tortuguita’s death.” We increasingly see this lack of contrition in our society. Politicians push increasingly extreme policies that are completely out of touch with the needs of those they are supposed to serve. Ideologies are being legislated. All this is consistent with increasing authoritarianism.

I recently wrote “There is a web of interconnections between the killing of Manuel Esteban Paez Terán (Tortuguita), who was resisting the plan to build “Cop City” in Atlanta, resistance to a police academy in Chicago, and the epidemic of violence and killing by police in this country.” That point was also made in this email I just received from Defund The Police.

As we begin a new year and a new budget cycle, we’d like to share some powerful and timely resources, budget tools, and calls to action for divesting from police and reinvesting in our communities’ futures. This comes at a time when our communities are mourning and organizing for loved ones whose lives have been stolen by police violence in recent weeks.

  • In response to the tragic death of Tyre Nichols, DeCarcerate Memphis is calling on local, state, and national organizations to sign onto this letter with the following demands: end the deployment of armed patrol officers in traffic enforcement; eliminate the use of pretextual stops, terminating all Federal funding support for them; require public police reports showing the location of each stop and the demographic characteristics of every driver; and disband the Jump-Out squads that operate to criminalize, intimidate, and too-often brutalize residents in low-income Black and Brown communities.
  • Defend the Atlanta Forest, part of the #StopCopCity movement, is calling for actions of solidarity following the police killing of Weelaunee forest defender Tortuguita. Check out their calls to action here, including a sign-on letter and telling investors in the project to divest from Cop City.
Defund The Police

Tell the Atlanta Police Foundation: Stop Cop City and Resign!

The Atlanta Police Foundation is trying to build the largest police training facility in the US (colloquially known as Cop City) in the Weelaunee Forest, an Atlanta watershed surrounded by a Black community who overwhelmingly oppose the project. The plans include military-grade training facilities, a mock city to practice urban warfare, dozens of shooting ranges, and a Black Hawk helicopter landing pad. Protestors are bravely sitting in trees to stop the deforestation of this sacred urban forest.

Forest defender, protestor, and friend Tortuguita was murdered in cold blood on Wednesday January 18th, 2023 by the Atlanta Police during a violent raid of the forest.

Take action against the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), who is the biggest supporter & funder of Cop City. Tortuguita’s blood is on their hands!

Use this form to automatically email APF board members & demand that they #StopCopCity and resign from the foundation.

Thanks to our friends at Resist and Abolish the Military Industrial Complex (RAM INC) for collecting this information and tweeting it out.


Subject: Send a letter: Ask the Atlanta Police Foundation: Stop Cop City

The Atlanta Police Foundation is trying to build the largest police training facility in the US (colloquially known as Cop City) in the Weelaunee Forest, an Atlanta watershed surrounded by a Black community who overwhelmingly oppose the project. The plans include military-grade training facilities, a mock city to practice urban warfare, dozens of shooting ranges, and a Black Hawk helicopter landing pad. Protestors are bravely sitting in trees to stop the deforestation of this sacred urban forest. Forest defender, protestor, and friend Tortuguita was murdered in cold blood on Wednesday January 18th, 2023 by the Atlanta Police during a violent raid of the forest.

Take action against the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), who is the biggest supporter & funder of Cop City. Tortuguita’s blood is on their hands! Use this form to automatically email APF board members & demand that they #StopCopCity and resign from the foundation.

Thanks to our friends at Resist and Abolish the Military Industrial Complex (RAM INC) for collecting this information and tweeting it out.

Can you join me and write a letter?

Click here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-the-atlanta-police-foundation-stop-cop-city-and-resign?source=email&


No Cop Academy-Chicago

It’s clear what it means when the establishment proposes dramatically expanding the militarization of police as their response to police brutality and killings.

There is a web of interconnections between the killing of Manuel Esteban Paez Terán (Tortuguita), who was resisting the plan to build “Cop City” in Atlanta, resistance to a police academy in Chicago, and the epidemic of violence and killing by police in this country.

Thursday, January 31, we had an action, “Stop Cop City” Solidarity in Des Moines.

(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2023/01/31/stop-cop-city-solidarity/ )

My friend Jon Krieg, who works at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), recently told me about the resistance to a proposal for a police training facility in Chicago, similar to “Cop City” in Atlanta. https://nocopacademy.com/

Debbie Southorn works for the American Friends Service Committee in Chicago, where she supports community efforts and youth organizing to end policing and reimagine community safety. In 2012, she co-founded the Chicago chapter of Black & Pink, currently serves on the National Committee of the War Resisters League, and is a Board Member of the Chicago Freedom School.  She’s written about policing and white supremacy for outlets including TruthoutIn These Times, and The Intercept.   

Sophia: What is the cop academy? What do you want people to know about it? Why is it dangerous?

Debbie: In July of 2017, the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, announced his plans to spend at least $95 million on a new cop academy on the west side of Chicago. He has been heralding this project as an important step towards reform of the police department, saying that this building will provide a clean slate for the Chicago Police Department (CPD). There are so many reasons why this is dangerous. We know that this isn’t about having a kinder, gentler Chicago police department. 

This facility is being built so that the police department can have an expanded shooting range, so that they can do more mock raids. This is not about de-escalation and anti-bias training. They are trying to say that this is a response to the scathing Department of Justice report which delineated the realities of racism and violence that are plaguing this department. The report was issued in response to the killing of Laquan McDonald and the subsequent cover-up. 

PART ONE: No Cop Academy: What you should know about Chicago’s proposed police academy by the American Friends Service Committee, Nov 19, 2018



From 2017-2019, Chicago Black youth powerfully organized and led an effort against the construction of a $95 million dollar cop academy, and demanded the city of Chicago fund youth and communities instead. This upcoming documentary chronicles the explosive #NoCopAcademy campaign through those who lived it. “Real community safety comes from fully-funded schools and mental health centers, robust after-school and job-training programs, and social and economic justice. We want investment in our communities, not expanded resources for police.” #NoCopAcademy

SoapBox Productions and Organizing

#NoCopAcademy is a grassroots campaign launched by Assata’s Daughters, Black Lives Matter – Chicago, People’s Response Team, For The People Artists Collective, and many more grassroots organizations to mobilize against Rahm Emanuel’s plans to spend $95 million for a massive training center for Chicago police in West Garfield Park on the city’s West Side. We refuse any expansion of policing in Chicago, and demand accountability for decades of violence. Instead, we demand resources for schools and youth. This video offers the unique perspective of students who attend school one block away from the current cop academy, and young people who live adjacent to the site of the proposed expanded cop academy. What does it feel like to go to school next to cops every day? What would it feel like to have a shooting range, live scenario trainings, and a swimming pool for police next door to your high school gymnasium? What would you really need to feel safe in your neighborhood? In addition to centering the experiences that Black youth and youth of color have had with police in their communities, this piece goes the extra step by highlighting the ways young people are at the forefront of one of the most pressing issues in Chicago. The youth organizing team of #NoCopAcademy are organizing meetings, engaging their neighbors, meeting with City Council, engaged in direct action – all to demand an end to the violences that Black young people have experienced at the hands of the police and the city alike, and to demand schools for kids, not cops.

#NoCopAcademy NoCopAcademy.com | IG: @nocoapacademy

Schools for Kids, Not Cops 

Protesters who oppose a police training facility in West Garfield Park were escorted from a City Council committee meeting on Tuesday. (Note: This video was originally published on May 22, 2018)

Police training facility protesters. Chicago Sun-Times

Police killing of Tyre Nichols should remind us of five lessons from 2020
In the face of normalized police violence and ongoing systemic racism, Mary Zerkel of the Chicago Peacebuilding Program writes about why we need to keep pushing for community safety for all beyond policing. Lessons from 2020 include:

  1. Reformist reforms don’t work.
  2. We need police out of traffic stops.
  3. We need police out of mental health response.
  4. Police must stop targeting social justice organizers.
  5. We need alternatives to police response to keep all community members safe.

Yes, policing is still deadly. The police killing of Tyre Nichols remind us: Let’s not forget the lessons of 2020 by MARY ZERKEL, American Friends Service Committee, JAN 31, 2023