“And when you see images of dragons consuming people, it brings to mind the type of destruction [the neighborhood’s] seeking to eliminate.”
creative loafing put out one of the better takes on the thing that happened recently in pittsburgh, a mostly black and mostly lower-income neighborhood in southwest atlanta, where some residents of the area painted over a mural of a crocodile-machine-man-thing that a french artist had made as part of the living walls street art conference that atlanta hosts yearly
without exactly using these words, i feel like the article does a good job of getting away from the Religion Versus Art narrative that most of the mainstream/white press (including creative loafing, usually) is using, and does more to acknowledge that this thing has been very much about how usually black and usually poor/working-class people in southwest atlanta are having to negotiate increasing gentrification in / appropriation of the area
the comments are still mostly fucking vile though
the article is here (creative loafing atlanta: thomas wheatley / november 14, 2012)
Residents of the predominantly African-American neighborhood stress they’re not anti-art. They’re just anti-Roti’s mural and wish they would’ve been more involved. They don’t think the art represents the community, which was founded in the late 1800s by former slaves and has spent the last few decades trying to combat foreclosures, mortgage fraud, flippers, vacant homes and the various social ills — prostitution, drugs, squatters — that accompany them.
“For some individuals in the neighborhood, it’s the idea that, if we allow people to just continue to move in our neighborhood and do whatever, then we’ll never be able to garner the community strength to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps to build a safer, vibrant, more thriving neighborhood,” says LaShawn Hoffman of the Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association, which serves as the de facto neighborhood association.
i don’t really get all these lefty folks i know declaring the voting down of TSPLOST a courageous and heartening victory for the people or something
an atlanta without TSPLOST may well prove to be somewhat less shitty and exploitative and wasteful than one with it, but you’re kidding yourself when you ignore that a whole lot of the opposition to it was motivated by disdain for low-income people, bare indifference to the need that lots of people with disabilities have to use transit to get the fuck around, and plain old straight-up racism with a special helping of hatred for urban and poor-suburban people of color
“And if someone shines a 50-kazillion spotlight in my face, I’m not going to be happy about it either,”
Police: Despite TV reports, no increased violence among Midtown crossdressing prostitutes - by Dyana Bagby of the GA Voice GLBT newspaper (17 May 2012)
11Alive and WSB-TV went on air Wednesday night with sensational segments that stated cross-dressing and “transvestite” prostitutes were terrorizing residents living in Midtown. The commander of the Atlanta Police Department’s vice unit said Thursday the stories are not true.
Lt. Scott Kreher, commander of the vice unit for the APD, said there is no evidence of prostitute gangs or increased violence. […]
“There has been no evidence any increased violence,” he added. “And we’ve done details there as much as any other part of the city. We don’t see any evidence of pimp or prostitute gangs.”
When residents approach prostitutes, however, there may be issues, Kreher added. […]
“[T]he only violence I see is when citizens approach the prostitutes and are trying to challenge them,” he said. “I don’t see it [violence] any other way.”
For example, one Midtown resident living in this neighborhood, Steve Gower, who is gay, has for years followed prostitutes in a Midtown Ponce Security Alliance car and is known for shining a spotlight in their faces.
“And if someone shines a 50-kazillion spotlight in my face, I’m not going to be happy about it either,” Kreher said.
The APD makes sweeps in areas know for prostitution in the summer months, Kreher added, including Midtown.
Kreher said there is no evidence of “prostitute gangs” and that prostitutes do travel typically in pairs for safety reasons.
When asked if these prostitutes were transsexual or transgender women, Kreher said no, that they were men who dressed as women.
“They are mostly men dressed as women, not transsexuals or transgender,” he said, adding that LGBT liaison Officer Brian Sharp often accompanies the vice unit on details and trains the officers on transgender issues.
The word “transvestite” is also considered a slur by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
urph midtown security
even the fucking cop whose job it is to round up sex workers understands that harassing people [especially by shining bright, disorienting lights at people in the middle of the night] is likely to make them pissed off or scared and panicky or both
and i feel like there’s a lot of race and class (and gender!) stuff going on with the assertion that the folks who work ponce are all really cross-dressing men and not women or otherwise trans people, which is a rhetorical assertion that the midtown ponce security alliance themselves have made in the past to dismiss claims that they’re engaging in anti-trans oppression
(which, to be clear, is also not an assertion that i think that all of these people really personally identify as trans women or as trans at all, either; which can also be a dumb/normalizing/racist way of talking about whatever)
Seventh Annual Women of Color Arts and Film (WOCAF) Festival: March 15 -18 in Atlanta
Seventh Annual Women of Color Arts and Film (WOCAF) Festival announces Opening Night Centerpiece and Closing Night Films
March 15 -18 in Atlanta
ATLANTA (February 21, 2012) — The seventh annual Women of Color Arts and Film (WOCAF) Festival is pleased to announce its opening night feature film, “The Education of Auma Obama” by Branwen Okpako , taking place at Walter C. Hill Auditorium, High Museum of Arts, 1280 Peachtree St. Atlanta, GA 30309 on Friday March 16th at 7pm. The film which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, is an intriguing look into the life of President Barack Obama’s Kenyan half sister Auma Obama, filmed in her homestead in Kenya during the run up to the 2008 US Presidential elections that brought her brother President Barack Obama to power. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the High Museum of Art’s box office.
The centerpiece film “MA’AMI” by acclaimed Nigerian Filmmaker Tunde Kelani is scheduled to be screened on Saturday March 17th at the Auburn Avenue Research Library (AARL), 101 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, GA and is free and open to the public. Set over a two day period, leading to the 2010 World cup, “MA’MI” is an inspiring story of a poor conscientious single parent’s struggle to raise her only child, Kashimawo who eventually rises to international stardom in an English football club, Arsenal and becomes a national hero.
The closing night film “Ties That Bind” by multiple award-winning director Leila Djansi, described as one of the hottest new wave directors out of Africa, is the story of three women from different backgrounds bound together by a common tragedy; the loss of a child. The film features Hollywood actress Kimberly Elise, Ghanaian stars, Ama K Abebrese, John Dumelo, David Dontoh and one of the Nollywood’s most notable actresses, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde. The screening will take place at Walter C. Hill Auditorium, High Museum of Arts, 1280 Peachtree St. Atlanta, GA 30309 on Sunday March 18th at 6pm. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the High Museum of Art’s box office.
For a detailed festival itinerary please visit our website, www.wocaf.org.
Few details in fatal shooting involving MARTA officer
Posted: 9:40 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011
Few details in fatal shooting involving MARTA officer
The Georgia Bureau of Investigaiton said late Sunday it was still gathering facts and interviewing witnesses before releasing more information about a shooting involving a MARTA office.
Family members say a teenager was shot and killed by a MARTA police officer after a scuffle outside the Vine City rail station on Saturday night. The shooting happened on Carter Street following a series of high school homecoming football games at the Georgia Dome.
The victim’s brother, Rodney Stafford, told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi his brother and a group of men started arguing outside the transit station when the shots were fired and 19-year-old Joe Tavis Stafford was killed.
“They were like, ‘Where the gun at? Where the gun at?’ So after that, I heard a gunshot. Pow. Everybody started running,” said Rodney Stafford. Stafford said he then saw a MARTA officer run past him with a gun drawn.
“As he was drawing his gun, I was turning back around. My brother threw his hands up. MARTA police shot him in the back. Pow. And my brother lying on the ground, just looking at me and I was looking at his gunshot wound. As I’m looking at that, MARTA police shot him two more times in the back,” said Stafford.
Family members had to be restrained by police after the shooting in an emotional scene.
“The officers were right here. The parents were right here trying to fight them so they were calling for extra back up. They just wanted to see their son because he was dead,” said witness Cassandra Ross.
MARTA officials handed the shooting investigation over to the GBI. Neither the GBI nor MARTA police would say why the officer drew his gun. The officer was put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for a shooting, officials said.
The Space Being Occupied by Occupy Atlanta - Kung Li
de Kung Li, el Lunes, 10 de octubre de 2011, 15:19
The Occupy Atlanta occupiers renamed their campsite Troy Davis Park yesterday in honor of what would have been Troy Davis’s 43d birthday. Today is Columbus Day. It seems a good day to know something about the little patch of grass where Occupy Atlanta is braving the rain.
A month after the end of the Civil War, a train carrying Jefferson Davis pulled into the Atlanta depot two blocks from where Occupy Atlanta has pitched its tents. The President of the Confederate States of America had been caught in South Georgia as he tried to flee. The train stopped in Atlanta to pick up coal on its way to Virginia, where he would await trial for treason.
When the Georgia Legislature convened later that year, it dutifully ratified the Thirteenth Amendment as it was required to do to reenter the Union. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, but with an enormous loophole. Neither slavery or involuntary servitude, it read, shall exist in the United States, except as punishment for crime.
The 13th Amendment ratified, the all-white Georgia Legislature turned around and passed the Black Codes, effectively reinstating slavery in Georgia. The Codes required former slaves to enter into labor contracts, with wages to be paid by the Master totaling – after deductions for food, shelter and penalties for days not worked – two cents an hour. That’s how Georgia’s antelbellum 1% had rolled before the war, and that’s how they wanted to roll after. The only industry had been cotton, so the Black Codes were written to keep freedmen working the same fields they had worked as slaves.
Many were trapped by the Black Codes, but not everyone. Atlanta was the destination for the men and women who walked off their plantations in south Georgia in defiance of the Black Codes and came to the city to live as free people. They gathered in downtown Atlanta – on the streets of what is now Woodruff Park – to look for work and to build a new life. They were confronted by a new Vagrancy Law, the enforcement of the Black Codes that made it illegal to wander or stroll about in idleness without a labor contract.
When the threat of arrest was not enough to drive Black men and women back to the plantations, the real arrests began. Joseph Brown was arrested on Decatur Street in 1868, one of hundreds. Rather than picking cotton under a labor contract, he was in Atlanta without work. The charge: vagrancy.
Mr. Brown and other freedmen who were sentenced as vagrants were not sent to prison. Georgia’s prison had been burned during the war, and there was no money to rebuild. Rather, they were leased out to plantation owners, railroad companies and coal mines. Georgia’s first lease of in 1868 was to a railroad company: $2500 bought 100 Black men, arrested for vagrancy or loitering and forced to work not as slaves but as convicts.
This was the start of the modern criminal justice system. It started, you might say, right here where Occupy Atlanta will be sleeping tonight, in Woodruff Park, by the post-Civil War plantation owners intent on keeping the work of black men and women cheap and available.
By the time the practice of leasing people convicted of crimes out to private parties was abolished (by the Georgia Legislature, in 1908), convict leasing had turned the primary function of the South’s judicial systeminto the maintenance of white control over black labor.
In 1906, Decatur Street, where Mr. Brown had been arrested 38 years earlier, was now lined with saloons, hotels, a buggy repair shop, and the post office.
Spring of that year, the Chief of Police in Atlanta launched a campaign to rid the city of Black men. He committed a full squad of officers to “arrest all loafers” and close down the “Negro dives” that lined Decatur Street in downtown Atlanta. The Chief told City Council that in order to arrest and prosecute all the vagrants, he would need fifty additional policemen.
The police arrested dozens of Black men through the summer, but were not satisfied. The Chief of Police stepped up the campaign in August. “Vagrant Negroes fill streets and saloons at all hours of day,” read the August 25 headline in the Atlanta Constitution, “Difficult to convict loafers of vagrancy after they are arrested.” The editorial page the next day urged support for police efforts to “Drive out the vagrants.” And to clarify why, the next day: “For protection of white women.”
The police campaign against “vagrants” in the “Negro dives” on Decatur Street, packaged as a way to reduce crime, was concerned only with Black men and had little to do with actual violence or criminal activity.
On September 3, for example, a white man stabbed another man to death in one of the white saloons on Decatur Street. Tommy Lucas’ escape was so leisurely that the newspapers were able to report his name, which morning train he took to Chattanooga, what he packed for the trip, and where he would be staying once he arrived in Chattanooga. There is no record of his arrest.
Pressure to “arrest and lock up all the negroes who were idling about the city” intensified. By the third week in September, coverage about the police campaign against “vagrants” and “negro dives” merged into sensational stories about white women around the city fending off sexual attacks by Black men. Four such allegations turned into front page headlines in that week in September. On Saturday night, thousands of white men gathered in Five Points, sent there by the newspapers exhorting “good white men” to band together and take action to protect their women from “black beasts” and “animals.“
By the time the sun set, over 5,000 white men were milling around Five Points. They were stomping their feet on the ground where Occupy Atlanta’s General Assemblies sit. Their numbers doubled over the next two hours, men armed with rifles, pistols, long knives, and clubs. They were ready to kill.
And kill they did. Groups of twenty, thirty, a hundred burst forward in a sprinting chase whenever a black man or boy appeared. A footrace up Peachtree, another down Decatur Street, another across a bridge flying over the railroad tracks. Three bodies were dumped in a pile at the foot of the statue of Henry Grady on Marietta Street. A black man was strung up on a lamppost along Peachtree Street. The white mobs raged through the night, quieting in the early morning.
The Governor called in the state militia, but rather than protecting Black families from white violence, militiamen mostly stood at the ready to defend whites from retaliatory violence. No retaliation came. A second mob, smaller than the first, gathered at the corner of Marietta and Peachtree Street, the southwest corner of what is now Woodruff Park. Whites ventured out in groups, more leisurely now, to look for another Black man or woman to kill or maim.
Over three days, twenty-five Black Atlantans were killed, maybe more. Another fifty, sixty, or more had injuries serious enough to brave the streets to get to Grady Hospital. There is neither memorial nor mention of the dead among the commemorations in Woodruff Park.
Half a century later, the streets here around Woodruff Park had been scrubbed clean of any reminder of the race riot. Where the saloons had been were now office buildings, some modern steel frame, some red brick.
On February 1, 1960, four Black students in Greensboro, North Carolina sat down at a Woolworth lunch counter and waited to be served. The police came, but could not arrest the students because they were not breaking any law. The next day, the students returned and again sat quietly at the Woolworth lunch counter. The media picked up the story, and the sit-ins spread. On February 13, five hundred students in Nashville sat in at lunch counters across the city.
The Georgia legislature responded with astonishing speed, passing a new trespassing law four days later. Should the sit-ins spread to Atlanta, they wanted a law that would let the police make arrests. A small law would do. Cast in the same mold as the vagrancy laws, the new trespass law made it a crime to remain on the premises after being asked to leave.
The fears of Georgia’s lawmakers were well-founded. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) held its first conference at the Atlanta University Center October 14-16 and resolved to take direct action to desegregate Atlanta’s lunch counters. Three days after the close of the conference, Atlanta students staged mass demonstrations and sit-ins at the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Five Points and other counters across the city. Across the corner from Woodruff Park where Occupiers will sleep tonight, Black students trained in nonviolent direct action took an elevator up to Rich’s 6th Floor Magnolia Room, or down to the Cockrel Grill in the basement, then sat down and waited to be served.
The police came and used the new trespassing law to arrest 51 people, including Martin Luther King, Jr. In pleading innocent that afternoon, Martin Luther King, Jr. announced that he would “sit in jail 10 years if necessary” rather than post the $500 bond.
The next day, the sit-ins and pickets expanded to 16 other downtown eateries. Twenty-six more protesters were arrested, this time on loafing and disturbing the peace charges. They were sentenced to 20 days in the city prison farm.
The students insisted on staying in jail; the Mayor insisted that they be released. The Mayor got his way, but the students won the day.
Atlanta changed. Rich’s downtown became Macy’s. Martin Luther King, Jr. made a final journey through the streets of Atlanta in a wooden farm wagon drawn by two mules before being laid to rest in South View Cemetery. The students who had been arrested for trespassing became fathers, nurses, senators.
Then in 1996, the Olympics came to Atlanta. The City built a new jail in record time, the first facility completed for the Games. It also closed down Woodruff Park and renovated it. The City took its time – it was their best chance to move out the homeless men and women who slept in the park – and when it was reopened, the Park had been landscaped with a wide open slope to make it easier for police to keep it clear of the visibly poor.
Should the Atlanta Police decide to evict Occupy Atlanta from Woodruff Park, they will likely use one of the ordinances banning overnight sleeping or camping on public space, passed in preparation for the 1996 Olympic.
Officials with the Atlanta Olympic Committee insisted the police were not used to clear poor black people out of downtown Atlanta for the Olympics. Yet, the visibly poor – nearly all Black – disappeared from Woodruff Park for the duration of the Games. The County Jail’s population shot up from 2200 to 4500 before and during the Olympics. The Olympic officials insisted: just a coincidence.
Five days before the execution of Troy Davis, thousands of Altantans gathered at Woodruff Park to march to Ebenezer Baptist Church for a part-vigil, part-protest that recalled the civil rights movement’s most raucous mass meetings. The protest was majority – an overwhelming majority, if you include those already seated in Ebenezer Church – African American. The State of Georgia was not moved, and killed Troy Davis by lethal injection.
When Occupy Atlanta rolled into the park, it was overwhelmingly white. This has caused some gnashing of the teeth, especially after Congressman John Lewis came by to offer his support and was not able to speak. My teeth are gnashed, no doubt.
But being anti-racist in this place – that is, in Woodruff Park, in Atlanta, in Georgia, in the South – is not mainly about getting more people of color to pitch a tent and sleep out there. In fact, I’m kind of OK with having mostly white people sleeping out there, because when the junta that runs downtown Atlanta decides it has had enough and people get carted off to jail, there’s no need for having more Black or brown people in the Atlanta City Detention Center.
Being anti-racist is, if you are going to set up camp and take Five Points as your center point, acknowledging that the corporate forces at play around there are totally about race. This is true currently, and it is true historically – no surprise: Georgia’s government was created by and for plantation farmers, the original 1%, running antebellum corporations. And that 1% has been using everything in its power, most notably the criminal justice system, to hold on to its power.
Put a different way. Occupy Wall Street declared, “We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.” That’s old news here, friends. The plantation owners have always run Georgia’s government.
But they have not always run the street. In 1960, the students won. Was it because they were one sit-in among dozens of sit-ins happening around the country, much like Occupy Atlanta is one of dozens? Was it because they had both strong process and direct action? Was it because they confronted the criminal justice system head on, demanding to be arrested and refusing to post bail? Maybe, maybe, maybe.
Now that John Lewis has been invited back, maybe he will sit down and give some insight. He wasn’t just a good soldier in the Movement. He was, in my unbiased-notwithstanding-lifelong-crush-on-John-Lewis opinion, the catalyst that turned a series of actions into this country’s greatest Freedom Movement. More on that later.
For now, I am just suggesting that in addition to questions of logistics and process during Occupy Atlanta’s committee meetings and larger Assemblies, the questions of why and how race and racism figure into this fight are, I think, worth trying to think through and understand together. Because this is Georgia, after all. And because what happens in Troy Davis Park in 2011 is being written now.
 Excepting the years 1868-1871, when the First Reconstruction Act prevented ex-Confederates from holding office in Georgia. This period of what Confederates called “military occupation” spurred the growth of the Ku Klux Klan.
West Side of ATL…Hood? Nah!
When you travel to a major city, like Atlanta, Chicago, or NYC, people would warn you about certain “crime-ridden” neighborhood with vacant houses.
In this chase, people tell me not to go the West Side of Atlanta (more so SW Atlanta) because it’s “hood”. I went to the West Side five times, including my trip to Busy Bee on Monday, and I conclude the following things:
- Yes, the West Side have abandoned buildings for every like 3-10 decent housing. But so does East Atlanta, Downtown, and Midtown. In fact, I saw a lot of nice houses in some of the West Side hoods. Atlanta is just that unique place where there’s no clear distinction of segregated neighborhoods (Unless you live in Buckhead, where there’s nothing but expensive places and mini cities)
- Just because a neighborhood is mostly black or another minority doesn’t always mean that it’s hood. For instance, Vine City and the hoods surrounding AUC is mostly African-American. But as far as crime…it seemed mostly peaceful. Unless you actually live there, don’t assume that a black neighborhood is violent. Besides, if you want hood, go to the South Side of Chicago, NYC, or South Central LA.
- Remember this: crime happens in ANY neighborhood, from Grove Park to Inman Park. The local media just blow things out of proportion about crime in certain areas (i.e., hoods with black people).
You could add more to this or dispute my claims if you want. At the end of the day, I’m convinced that the West Side is not that bad (depending on where you live in that general area) as it seems in the media.
there’re definitely more violent parts of the west side - but there’re little pockets of tension and crime everywhere in atlanta, and the way that folks paint anywhere west of the georgia dome like there’re constant shootouts on every corner is fucking absurd and racistfrom pharaohgsworld-deactivated20130
The Atlanta region ranks among the worst major metro areas in the nation for putting transit services within reach of people without cars, the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program said in a report released Thursday.
Of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, Atlanta ranks 82nd, providing 68.5 percent of its households without vehicles access to transit services, the report says. That leaves 37,634 such households out of reach, the largest number among the 100 regions studied.- Study: Atlanta among worst regions for access to transit services | ajc.com (via transartorialism)