The Georgia January 20th Coalition Launches Action to Demand that Atlanta Declare Itself a Sanctuary City
Atlanta, Georgia – On January 20th, the Georgia January 20th coalition engaged in the People’s Inauguration, demanding that the City of Atlanta declare itself a Sanctuary City by addressing a list of demands to protect the human rights of our communities.
“Donald Trump’s agenda threatens immigrants, women, people of color, and our democracy. Atlanta will resist because we are better than the hate and false solutions that he peddles. Billionaires have never solved working people’s problems. If he comes for one in the morning, he’ll come for the rest at night. That is why we stand together for a better world for all of us,” said Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights.
“As we encounter the torrent of hate, xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia from some at the federal level epitomized by the inauguration today launching a system of white supremacy, we will work towards making our city into a sanctuary space where all of our communities will be afforded their human dignity,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal and Advocacy Director of Project South.
The coalition demands that the City of Atlanta repeal all city laws and policies that degrade, discriminate and cause harm against undocumented individuals and their families, Black lives, people of color, women, Muslims, immigrants and refugees, trans and queer people, and poor people.
“The City of Atlanta’s leadership must decide which side it’s on. It means nothing to denounce Trump and still pass policies that keep Black people in cages, over policed and criminalized, primarily for low level offenses like possession of marijuana. For too long Black poor people in this city have experienced Trump like policies, passed by people who look like them. For too long the city, big businesses, and the rich has profited off of the suffering of those most marginalized. This political moment calls in to question our actions versus our rhetoric. What is the City of Atlanta willing to do to make Atlanta a Sanctuary City for Black, brown, poor, trans and queer people? They can start by passing the demands set forth by the people,” said Mary Hooks, Co-Director of Southerners on New Ground.
The coalition also demands that the City of Atlanta oppose any registry based on religious identity, national origin, gender, race or political affiliation. “We have a new president, not a new Constitution,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, attorney and executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “If President Trump targets Georgia Muslims by creating a Muslim registry, putting houses of worship under surveillance, or discriminating against travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the City of Atlanta should oppose such bigotry by any and all legal means necessary.”
Among the coalition’s demands are also that the City of Atlanta stop participating in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), a program that sends city police to Israel to receive training in repressive and racist policing tactics. “GILEE is a racist program that militarizes Atlanta’s police force, perpetuates racial profiling tactics, and is a blatant abuse of our tax dollars,” said Aysha Abdullateef, a Palestine solidarity activist.
The coalition’s full list of demands can be found here: https://gaj20.wordpress.com/our-demands-2/
The Georgia J20 Coalition is a solidarity-building partnership of local community grassroots organizations and networks, faith-based organizations, and labor unions. The Georgia J20 is led by impacted communities, who know that the growing climate of hatred, bigotry, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia has poisoned our political process and damaged our society’s moral compass. As our nation continues to move toward a more right-wing, corporatist, and exclusive form of leadership, we seek to lift up the concerns of our communities and our neighbors. We affirm the resilience and self-determination of our people who are the most directly impacted by forces of oppression. We will continue to center our voices and amplify our initiatives. We will organize, strategize, and build unity in our defense and will continue to follow the guidance and leadership of our communities. We seek to create a sanctuary space to support and defend our communities’ human rights from a system rooted in income inequality, white supremacy, racism, and misogyny. We realize that in unity and solidarity there is strength.
Member organizations of the Georgia January 20th Coalition include: Atlanta Antifascists, A World Without Police, Black Lives Matter Atlanta, Compassionate Atlanta, the Council on American-Islamic Relations: Georgia Chapter, Create Community 4 Decatur, End New Jim Crow Action Group, Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), Georgia AFL-CIO, Georgia Detention Watch (GDW), Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition (GPJC), Georgia WAND, Global South Research Consortium, Industrial Workers of the World General Defense Committee (IWW GDC), Interfaith Peace Builders, Jewish Voice for Peace – Atlanta, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America (MADSA), National Lawyers Guild – Georgia Chapter, Project South, Respetrans -Georgia Chapter, Showing Up for Racial Justice – Atlanta, Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaP-Co), Southerners On New Ground (SONG), United Students against Sweatshops Georgia State University, US Human Rights Network , Workers World Party