Hip Hop Caucus and Amanda Seales want to put a stop to ‘Cop City’

“It is no far cry for us to just do the basic math that policing is not for Black people,” said actor and comedian Amanda Seales.

The Hip Hop Caucus is calling on U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and other state and local politicians to stop the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, also known as “Cop City.”

The multi-million-dollar facility will be one of the largest militarized police training centers in the country, which will include classrooms, a shooting range, a driving course for practicing high-speed chases, and a mock city where police can practice conducting raids.

Activists In NYC Demonstrate Against Atlanta's Planned "Cop City" Police Training Center
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 09: Activists participate in a protest against the proposed Cop City being built in an Atlanta forest on March 09, 2023 in New York City. Cop City, a vast police training facility under construction atop forestland in the Atlanta, Georgia area, has become a focus point of demonstrations opposed to the development in one of the state’s most pristine forests. The $90 million training center is designed to train police in militarized urban warfare. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, told theGrio that activists and residents must continue to pressure their representatives in local, state, and federal government.

“Cop City is simply a clear representation of how anti-Black racism, environmental injustice, and police brutality intersect,” said Yearwood.

He told theGrio that, so far, Atlanta residents have filed over 116,000 petitions to local politicians protesting the construction of the police facility.  

In a letter obtained by theGrio, Warnock’s office asked Atlanta Mayor André Dickens to err on the side of giving people the ability to express their views” as it pertains to their opposition to the police facility.

Last month, during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 52nd Annual Legislative Conference, the Hip-Hop Caucus held an event titled “Stop Cop City” to speak out against the construction of the facility.

Yearwood, actress and comedian Amanda Seales, and actor Kendrick Sampson spoke to members of the press at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to voice their concerns about Cop City and the impacts the facility could have on Black and brown communities across the nation.

Seales told theGrio, “It is no far cry for us to just do the basic math that policing is not for Black people.”

“Policing in this nation is very specifically grounded in the disruption of the peace of Black people, but it’s masked as if it’s for crime,” she said.

“But, if you look at Black people as criminals, well, then here we are. So when we’re building an entire city that is dedicated to this already in a nation that’s been dedicated to this, we see that it’s only going to spread like wildfire,” Seales added.

Premiere Of Focus Features' "Harriet" - Arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 29: Amanda Seales attends the Premiere Of Focus Features’ “Harriet” at The Orpheum Theatre on October 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

For months, environmental activists have protested Cop City. They say it also poses a threat to the environment and will be harmful to Black and brown Americans.

Seales told theGrio that in order to build the police facility, that includes destroying a forest, which will displace “not just animals and not just the people…but trees.”

She added, “We’re in a climate issue. We’re seeing flooding. I saw flooding the other day at Morris Brown that [officials] were able to contribute to the fact that these trees have been cleared, and so now there are less barriers to protect the infrastructure that’s been built” near the forest.

As it stands, Cop City is slated to open at the end of 2024.

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