Friday, December 19, 2014

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta Presents HUD Grinch of the Year Award!


Raising rent, fueling gentrification, lining the pockets of Wall St., and all with HUD's help? This is what is happening in Georgia an across the country, through HUD's Distressed asset stabilization program or DASP. Yesterday Occupy Our Homes Atlanta and AFSC participated in a national day of action to take demand HUD reform their program and protect our neighborhoods.

 HUD, a government agency tasked with investing and developing our neighborhoods, are doing neither every day they fail to reform their DASP program. Tasked with selling off the "distressed assets" code for the foreclosed homes of our friends, families, and neighbors, HUD is selling these properties for pennies on the dollars, by the thousands, to Wall St and big investors who don't care about our neighborhoods.

 After accepting a meeting with housing groups from across the country, and presenting HUD with our plan for reform they have failed to respond in a comprehensive and meaningful way by our deadline of Dec. 15th. The stage is set for change and now we must demand that is happen.

Yesterday a delegation went to Atlanta’s HUD office and delivered a petition with almost 5k signers all asking for reforms to HUD’s DASP program that would see an end to Wall Streets unbridled access to our communities. After accepting the petition HUD was presented with the prestigious “Grinch OF The Year” award for selling our homes to the some vulture capitalists that created the crisis.

 It's time for HUD to invest in our neighborhoods, not in Wall St. and big investment corporations who only want to invest in their own profit margin.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gen Y Projects Launches #CamsOnCops campaign

Yesterday the Gen Y Project organized a rally before the Atlanta City Council public safety meeting. Originally the council had decided to put off having the body camera discussion till January but after getting word that youth organizers planned on being at the meeting members of the council made sure that the chief of police was there to present findings on body camera field research and public comment was opened up on the issue immediately following discussion.  Around 15  people addressed city council about the importance of police accountability.

Gen Y Projects' Oscar Cain presented city council with the following letter and talking points:

To the Atlanta City Council,

Kathryn Johnston, Ariston Waiters, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, sadly the list of black and brown bodies brutalized and killed by law enforcement goes on and on. We believe that the mandate requiring law enforcement to wear body cameras is one small step toward keeping police accountable to the people in Atlanta.

As young people who have watched our brothers and sisters brutalized and killed all over the country by those that are supposed to protect us we no longer feel safe in the community, we no longer feel like our lives matter.

We know that body cameras themselves are of little use unless they have clear protocols that ensure police are accountable to the communities they serve. The following are protocols that we believe need to be in place in order to ensure our safety:

·         Violators whose video stops recording for any reason will be suspended without pay/fired during an investigation

·         Independent Citizen Review Board will have access to recordings for investigative and complaint purposes

·         Make disciplinary action publically available

·         GBI/Independent Citizen Review Board/IA/GBI will have access to review the video

·         Cameras are to be on at all times, unless stipulated in the policy as agreed

·         Raw video must be stored at a neutral location, where police can’t tamper with evidence

·         Civilians have a right to sign a waiver declining their right to be recorded


1.            With reports of police misconduct and brutality increasing across the nation, body-worn cameras for officers is a way to regain the public’s trust and restore order to our failing justice system.

2.            Officers who are policing ethically can appreciate body cams as a resource to support their actions and responses.

3.            As one example the police department in Rialto, Calif., put cameras on a group of officers and saw the number of citizen complaints filed drop by 88 percent — and more importantly, use of force declined by 59 percent.

4.            Mike Brown, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Jonathan Ferrell and John Crawford are not alive to tell their accounts of the incidents that claimed their lives. Protecting black and brown lives should matter and this is why we support body cams.

5.            Body cams eliminate he say/ she say by capturing both the officer and respondent's behavior in real time.

6.            In 2015, we will not be silenced and intimidated, nor will we continue to allow the burden of proof to be rely solely on an officer’s testimony.

7.            Body cams are a proven approach that promotes transparency and accountability among police officers and the communities they serve.
While a vote wasn't taken Gen Y Project did succeed in forcing a conversation that wasn't scheduled until next year. It's clear that details still need to be worked out but Gen Y's voice and talking points seemed to have a clear impact on the process.
After leaving the city council meeting the group chanted, "Black lives matter" and "I can't breathe". As they came to a giant Christmas tree in the lobby of city hall they held a four minute die in.
Some Press links from yesterday:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Peoplestown Tenants Pave Road to Victory!

Last week Occupy Our Homes Atlanta launched an online campaign alongside the Peoplestown Listening Project and residents of Boynton Village after a series of meetings with residents of the longtime Peoplestown apartment complex.  As residents did the hard work of building support in the community, launching an online petition, doing media trainings, agreeing as a group on demands and points of unity, there was an effort to reach out to the property owners(the Woda group) for a meeting.

Last night that meeting happened. A copy of the petition was hand delivered to the Woda group and the property management company. Residents had space to share their concerns and articulate their demands. Besides having serious concerns about maintenance issues, residents are concerned about their right to return after renovations are made to the property. Boynton Village was acquired by the Woda group as obvious shifts were occurring in the Peoplestown community. As the Beltline project in rolling through and Turner Field is being sold many fear that gentrification could destroy the historic community. Many of the Boynton Village residents have lived in Peoplestown their whole life and while they’ve all agreed to move out for three months while the complex is renovated, many fear they will not be allowed to return.

We are very pleased with the tone of the meeting and the willingness the Woda group displayed at the meeting, we know this is a direct result of a strong turnout by residents, community members, and allies. We know it’s also a result of good organizing and points of unity agreed upon by residents.

The Woda group pretty much agreed to all the residents’ demands, which is amazing! It’s important to be clear that we are not celebrating yet. The Woda group has agreed to put everything in writing by December 15th, so we await that date to confirm. A win for Boynton Village isn't the finish line for housing justice work in Peoplestown, in fact it's only the beginning. Atlanta's gentrifying forces have shifted an eye toward Peoplestown, affordable housing is already becoming hard to find.

We are grateful to the 800 people who signed the online petition! Keep the signatures coming, they do have an impact when met with on the ground organizing! We are excited to continue to work with the brave residents of Boynton Village as we see the beginnings of a strong Boynton Village Tenants Associating in the works to monitor repairs, relocation, renovation, and the return to the property for all.
American Friends Service Committee is proud to be a supporter of the campaign and we will continue to lend on the ground support and give resources to build infrastructure for the housing justice movement in Peoplestown and the greater Atlanta area. Right now there is a need to provide funding for on the group organizers who are longtime Peoplestown residents. Please contact AFSC if you are able to help at

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moral Monday Moves Forward in Georgia!!

 Last night, we all received the announcement by the St. Louis Grand Jury that the killer of Mike Brown will not be held accountable for his actions. The calls to question the metes and bounds of value of Black life in America. There are many issues involved that are important to many of us including the militarization of our civilian police departments, the mass incarceration of young black and brown Americans, and the mistrust of criminal justice system.  We are inspired by young people who will lift creative protest in the midst of this critical moment in our nation's journey towards a more just society. 

Yet, we are encouraged.  On Saturday in Columbus, we had the privilege of standing with mothers, fathers, educators, ministers, retired individuals, young people, gay and straight Georgia during the Statewide Planning for Moral Monday Georgia.  One thing was clear - we all want Progress! 

Where do we go from here?   

Our analysis confirms there was no extreme right-wing mandate from the Midterm elections despite the poplar option of the media.  Instead, despite the failure of candidates to connect; voters endorsed bold progressive ballot initiatives and referendums on criminal justice reform and livable wages won big in those same states. 


Let's launch Moral Monday Georgia 2.0!

Join Moral Monday Georgia at the State Capitol for the opening legislative session on January 12, 2015.  Moral Monday Georgia's platform and legislative agenda is bold and lifts our values and not our fears. From the very start of this movement, our eyes have been fixed on the long view. Last year we made news; this year we want to make change. Change doesn't come overnight; and one press cycle; one legislative session; or even in one election.  If we are going to transform the political landscape in Georgia; we must continue work on a bold, persistent, consistent, disciplined values based agenda of change.  


The coming legislative session is likely to be brutal. Our most vulnerable communities will surely face new attacks.

What can you do?

We must move forward together and not one step back.
American Friends Service Committee is a proud co-convener of the Moral Monday Georgia Movement

Monday, November 24, 2014

MO Grand Jury Shows Impact of Systemic Racism

Below is AFSC's position on the grand jury decision. For those that are near Atlanta we want to encourage you to join the local effort and gather at 5pm tomorrow(11/25) at Underground near 5 points station. Through this tragedy we hope the local effort to challenge systemic racism continue to build momentum. 

Now that the grand jury has decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, people across the country are justifiably seeking answers. The American Friends Service Committee also is seeking clarity in this case. We remain committed to addressing the issues of militarization of police, police accountability and systemic racism revealed by the killing and its aftermath. If we are to prevent future tragedies, people everywhere should join us in these efforts.

Those who pay the cost of these policies are disproportionally young people of color – and with alarming frequency that cost is death at the hands of police. Ominously, local police increasingly rely on militarized tactics and weapons not only to arrest but to contain people exercising their right to assemble and peacefully protest such tragedies as the Mike Brown killing.

Weeks before today’s announcement, Missouri police and elected officials began stockpiling riot gear and “less lethal” weapons to respond to public protest. We urge protesters to resist provocations such as armored trucks, dogs, and blockades staffed by officers in military garb. We   urge police officials to seek dialogue with those they swore to protect and serve, to find common ground and peaceful paths forward. Throughout our decades of work on social justice and human rights in the U.S. and around the world, we have witnessed the effectiveness of such dialogue and exchange programs.

We are proud of the young people with whom we work in Missouri, who are using peaceful means to work for fundamental change in systems that perpetuate racism and inequality. They deserve both applause and help for their leadership in healing and organizing their communities. We urge all people of good will to join us in supporting peace-building programs for these young people.

Starting just days after the shooting, AFSC has been helping youth process the killing of one of their peers through our two-year-old Peace Education Program working in Ferguson and St. Louis. We are standing with teachers and families, with the community organizations protesting, and with the family of Mike Brown.

Most of all we heed and support their vision of what democracy looks like: It looks like police accountability. It looks like equal access. It looks like an end to mass incarceration. It looks like the dismantling of the school-to-prison pipeline. It looks like the demilitarization of police.

As a Quaker organization that believes in the worth of every person, we call on people everywhere to join us in addressing the systemic and structural racism at the roots of Mike Brown’s death – and that of so many others nationwide.

We need to challenge policies – at every level, from the school house to the State House, from Missouri to Washington DC – that disproportionately incarcerate people of color  and boost profits for corporations running jails, prisons and immigration detention centers. We also must challenge media when they stigmatize youth of color instead of acknowledging their humanity.

Our nation will only prosper when we invest in all our children. Join us as we work to end militarized policing and the systemic racism that endangers youth of color and thus threatens our common future. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Occupy Our Homes ATL is Fired Up from Wildfire!

It’s was hard to be fired up at such an early hour when we set out for the Wildfire Convening 2014 in Fruitland Park, Florida; but by the end of day one we were under the palm trees and fired up for our weekend! An in depth training experience the Wildfire Project brought together progressive groups from all over the country. We had the opportunity to meet groups engaging in work similar to that of Occupy Homes Atlanta, and some much different, but we shared one thing in common, our desire for change!

The long weekend was emotional, raw, and powerful, and brought together people from diverse backgrounds into one place of strength and power. We were able to confront and discuss our relationship with the world under the current power systems of patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism; and how that shapes our interactions with the world, our work, and internally. These discussions continued through-out the weekend and we discussed a better work and what those power systems could like to benefit the people, instead of oppressing them. 

Designed in a way that made our entire group think critically, the Wildfire training allowed the entire OOHA team to examine our own organization and the strength and power of our amazing network. We learned and exchanged ideas about direction action, organization, structure, fundraising, and all things vital to running an organization seeking progressive change. There were tears, laughter, singing, and screaming but we emerged that much more powerful. We are now thinking, questioning, planning, and adding that much more critical thought and attention to our movement. This critical analysis and strategy is what will allow us to thrive well into the future.

Above all else the most important part of the trip was the people. We met Dream Defenders, the Ohio Student Association, Occupy Our Homes MN, the Wildfire Team, and Get Equal, and made commitments to support and amply each other’s work. These connections will help us build opportunities for collaboration and learning that go far beyond one weekend. We are building for a better future and it will be possible because together we are unstoppable.

Want to find out what we learned? Join us for Amply Your Voice; A Storytelling Workshop tomorrow 11/20 from 7-9pm at AFSC 60 Walton St, Atlanta! 

Guest Blogger:
Jackie Rodriguez, Project Coordinator, Occupy Our Homes Atlanta

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Vote!!

Trick or Vote is the nation’s largest get out the vote effort in costume and the GenY Project decided to join the cause. Last night the Gen Y Project got hyped up, filled a bus, and went to the West End to spread the word. Armed with voter pledge cards and candy the group set out to remind the neighborhood why it's important to utilize their right to vote. Together we hit the West End Mall and neighboring shops sparking lots of conversation, giving out information, and of course people welcomed the free candy. Some had already voted and others were geared up and ready to vote on November 4th.

With all the efforts to block young people and black/brown bodies fro the polls in Georgia, getting out and voting is more important than ever. Voting isn't the only thing our communities need to do to change a political landscape that isn't working for a lot of us, but it's an important piece of the puzzle that we only lose when we don't participate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jim Crow Business in Georgia

Moral Monday Georgia, along with American Friends Service Committee, Held a Rally and Sit in on this past Monday at the Georgia Capitol in Protest of Clear voter Suppression Tactics by Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Today we learned that the judge presiding over the case has decided not to intervene in the Secretary of State’s work despite the fact that young folks who registered, and have proof that they registered, are missing from the voter polls during an election that has already started.
We are in what appears to be a crisis of democracy, and on Monday several Moral Monday Georgia participants felt strongly enough about the issue to march the following letter into Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office:

Dear Secretary of State Brian Kemp,

This past year we've seen a historic effort to register new voters in Georgia and change a political landscape that continues to benefit a few people at the cost of everyone else.  

Right now, weeks after early voting has begun 40k eligible voters have yet to be entered into the voter rolls. 40k is enough to win or lose this election. We know that most of these 40k are young people who have never voted before and come from communities of color.

On October 24, 2014 four witnesses were not allowed to testify at the hearing against Brian Kemp's office. All four had registered to vote and are not on voter roll yet. Two of them are young first time voters.

We are troubled that you call the lawsuit, "frivolous” This is not frivolity; access to the ballot box is essential to our democracy.

Imagine if you had gone through the trouble of registering to vote and when Election Day came you were told your name was nowhere to be found.

We have a simple question: Mr. Secretary – if you have found all of our missing registered voters, where are they?

The reality is that the election has begun and already 40k voters have been silenced, shut out of the process. We belief that this is a crisis of democracy, and today some Moral Monday Georgia participants are willing to nonviolently put their freedom on the line to put a spotlight on this crisis.

We have decided to remain in your office until this issue is addressed. This means we would like to see every one of the missing registered voters entered into the voter rolls. We believe that in a democracy every voice matters, and we’re counting on you to do the right thing and make sure the promise of democracy in Georgia is realized.


Concerned Georgians

Moral Monday Georgia


Eight Georgians (Kevin Moran 66, Greg Ames 66, Daniel Hanley 33, Lorraine Fontana 67, Peggy Marx 58, Joel Solow 27, Molly Swann 62, and Kathy Acker 62) were arrested for refusing to leave Kemp’s office until he answered.

Ironically they were arrested for disrupting government business. Sadly these days it seems voter suppression is the business of Kemps office, which sits directly across from Governor Deal’s office. Arguably no one stands to gain from blocking young people and communities of color more than Governor Deal who sits several spaces higher on the totem pole above Kemp.

Another sad irony is that the reason Kemp wasn’t in the office that day is that he is currently on a GOP Victory tour. We today Governor Deal and Brain Kemp did get a victory, they have successfully built a barrier to the pole for the group of people who are most likely to vote against them. It’s a victory that should not be celebrated.
There's a name for this kind of business, we used to call it Jim Crow. Jim Crow existed to ensure that policies and laws that only benefited some remained by stopping those negatively affected from participating in the democratic process. Jim Crow will forever be synonymous with nasty, mean business. 

We are proud to be able to share space with the Moral Monday Georgia arrestees as their bold action shined a light on the kind of government business that is worth disrupting.
Some mainstream press articles on Monday's action:


Friday, October 17, 2014

Gen Y Draws a Crowd in the West End

AFSC's new youth led Gen Y Project planned and coordinated a movie screening and listening session in the West End area featuring the movie: BlackPower Mixtape. Black Power Mixtape was produced by Goran Olssan. This movie examines the evolution in the Black Power Movement and the black community from 1967-1975
Gen Y Project chose Black Power Mixtape because we felt like this film would open peoples mind and allow folks to understand how the black community has been oppressed by the system since the birth of this country. It also points out how The Black Panther Party was governing their own communities and empowering the black community to become activist and conscience about the racist world that surrounded them back then. It was sad and heartbreaking to see how drugs destroyed our people and took their minds away from the revolution, democracy, and future of the black community.
 After the movie, everyone had a chance to turn in Q/A cards to discuss key events (all events was key) that touched them the most about the movie; that allowed us to have conversations around issues in our communities today, and how we can get our black communities to become more conscience about the issues that affects and oppresses our youth and young adults.
Oscar Cain
Gen Y Project

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's True; Wall Street Makes for Terrible Landlords

On Wednesday October 15th at Noon, members Occupy Our Homes Atlanta will gathered to deliver a petition and a giant check to Invitation Homes to demand that the company employ fair rental practices in the management of their large number of Atlanta single-family homes.

For the last two years, private equity firms have been buying up foreclosed homes in various cities across the country and converting them to single family home rental properties with an eye towards securitizing the rent their tenants pay. In Atlanta, the largest investor of this kind has been The Blackstone Group, the world’s largest alternative asset private equity firm. The Blackstone Group owns companies like Sea World, The Weather Channel, and Hilton Group. Now they own thousands of houses in Metro Atlanta, and tens of thousands across the United States, through their subsidiary Invitation Homes.

Nefesh Chaya signed a two-year lease with Invitation Homes so that she and her service dogs could settle into the neighborhood. She is facing eviction today because she requested reasonable repairs to a home that had been vacant for a while. Invitation Homes promised that mold removal and repairs would be complete before move in day, but they weren't, and Nefesh had to push the company to follow though. In September, Invitation Homes decided they weren’t going to spend any more money on repairs. They added the cost of a kitchen plumbing fix to Nefesh’s online bill. Invitation Homes refused to accept her rent without the disputed repair cost when she traveled to their office and then they filed an eviction.

Invitation Homes acquired their Atlanta homes for pennies at foreclosure auctions, has driven up rent in the city, and are willing to threaten eviction to get more money out of Atlanta residents. Neighbors tell us that the last tenant in Nefesh’s home was pushed out this way too. Occupy Our Homes Atlanta is concerned that Invitation Homes’ predatory rental practices undermine stability in our neighborhoods and promise to transform a large number of Atlanta single-family homes into revolving doors.

As we gathered outside the building that Invitation Homes leases it was clear that the word was out on our visit as security had a rather large perimeter around the building and were actively looking for our group. When we were spotted we made it clear that our purpose was to deliver a ceremonial check, along with real cash, and a set of festive balloons to Invitation Homes on behalf of Nefesh. The check represented the amount owed minus disputed repair fees(in Georgia repair fees are legally allowed to be disputed and are seen as a separate matter not connected to lease/rent fee).

At first we were refused entry into the building and Invitation Homes refused to come down. Eventually Invitation Homes Allowed two people to come up to their office where they refused to accept Nefesh’ rent money, claiming that unless she paid for the repair and added legal fees, they would proceed with a forced eviction.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

As the Election Begins, 40k Newly Registered Voters Have Been Left Behind in Georgia

Today on the second day of early voting, a delegation of folks representing a number organizations delivered over 33k petition signatures to Secretary of State Kemp’s office demanding that voters, some having registered as far back as May of this year, be added to the voter rolls. With early voting launching Monday, the Georgia Secretary of State is sitting on valid voter registrations. The most important role of the secretary of state's office is to make sure elections are fair, accessible, and secure. Processing these registration forms is not only the right thing to do — but it's also his job.

Color of Change and PowerPac+, and were joined by leaders and activists from Moral Monday Georgia, including American Friends Service Committees, to insist that the Secretary of State do everything in his power to stop this latest voter suppression attempt and uphold his oath to Georgians.

After making brief statements to the press we delivered the petitions to Kemp's office and demanded a response in the next 24 hours. To date Kemp's office has refused to give any reason for his refusal to add the 40k newly registered voters into the system, and he has likewise refused to meet with Moral Monday or other long standing civil rights groups like the NAACP Georgia.

The fact is that this election has already started; the polls are officially open for early voting and 40k newly registered voters are being denied access to the polls. 40k is more than enough voter to through the election, which calls into question the legitimacy of Georgia’s claim to democracy. It is deeply troubling that even to the casual observer following this story it seems that Georgia’s Secretory of State is successfully attempting to block 40k people of color from having access to the polls in 2014.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Youth Building Power From Atlanta to Ferguson

Last night a van load of Atlanta youth, organized by the newly launched Gen Y Project,  began the long drive toward Ferguson, MO to participate in what organizers are calling a weekend of resistance.

The call was put out by Hands Up United, Organization For Black Struggle, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment and other partners in Ferguson.

There will be a series of public events-marches, convenings, panels, concerts- to build momentum for a nationwide movement against police violence.

 The weekend culminates with the launch of St Louis' own Moral Monday actions, as they put it, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. On Monday, we’re taking our cue from the fearless activists in North Carolina who were inspired to fight back against right-wing attacks there and across the South. They kicked off the Moral Monday’s movement for progressive change by engaging in civil disobedience every week, reminding all of us that these actions have been a part of every major movement for change. We’ll be hosting a series of actions throughout the Ferguson and St. Louis area."

We are really excited to be able to support the Gen Y Project and even more excited to see the surge in young young people all over the country rising up in their communities against police violence. In Atlanta and beyond we are beginning to see young people transform a political moment into a youth led political movement.

Organizing takes resources, and sometimes those resources can be harder to come by in youth led projects.  From the van rental, gas, and lodging the costs add up. This weekend we are asking folks to show their support by investing a few dollars into this effort. Should we raise more then is needed to cover the trip we'll be excited to put it to use with other local Gen Y Projects.

For those that want to follow our Atlanta groups trip we will be posting updates here: Gen Y Project and here: South Star News.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Families With Disabilities Bring Special Delivery to Fulton County Chairperson John Eaves

Today American Friends Service Committee joined Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, residents with the Fulton County OETH Permanent Supportive Housing Program, and representatives from Atlanta Jobs With Justice and American Postal Workers Union to deliver a demand letter to Fulton County Chairperson John Eaves office after hearing the concerns of women in the program and doing and onsite visit earlier in the week.

This isn't the first time we have had serious issues with the program and their treatment of the women in it. Click here to read about the last time we organized alongside women in the program.

Months ago Chairman Eaves office had promised to find housing for a number of the women who refused to be displace from the community the had come to embrace, he had also promised to assist with temporary housing, both promises never happened. More recently Eaves had made a commitment to bring improvements to the program during a face to face meeting with the women and hasn't followed through with those commitments either.

With a number of women's housing on the line we decided to take action with a number of women that were brave enough to be front and center with their grievances, there we many who met with us privately who did not come out of fear.

We delivered the following letter to Chairman Eaves office and we were able to meet with program staff.

Dear Chairman John Eaves,

We are here today because you have the power to fix the Fulton County OETH Permanent Supportive Housing Program and clear barriers from our path to self-sufficiency. In July, you moved our families from Vine City to the airport and we pulled our children through yet another new start. They are still struggling to find their footing in a new school and we are experiencing yet another round of staffing, program terminations, and threats. The staff says we must hold a job without access to childcare. They tell us we may not finish our degree. Every step invites termination from the program and return to homelessness. The shelters are full, Mr. Chairman.

We ask that you use your power to lift our destiny out of the hands of a vindictive program staff and the employees of the Regency Park Apartments. How can you put a flesh and blood woman and her six-year old child out in the street for making noise? Every woman facing program termination must be allowed to appeal and an impartial jury must hear her case. Stop Tracey DelGado’s termination immediately. We have signatures from Tracey Delgado’s neighbors who deny she has been noisy.

Program termination must not be used as a threat to coerce any woman to give up her right to freely decide or to protect the rights or the privacy of her children. If you do not allow a transparent process, the right to appeal, or a fair hearing then this is just a cruel weapon that beats us down and keeps us submissive under your control.

We ask you remove all barriers to our pursuit of education to lift our families out of poverty. The promises of the program are so often unmet, are communicated so poorly, and have changed so many times, that we cannot risk relying on it solely. Please don’t cut off our opportunity to prepare in advance of the day that you decide to put us out.

We ask that you allow us to watch each other’s children so that we may go to work and move our families up and out.

We ask that you allow our children to play in the front of the complex like other children who live at Regency Park. You have told us to send them to the dog park. Our children are not dogs.

We are asking for the right to be treated with respect and compassion by the case manager and supervisors in the Fulton County OETH housing program. We understand that there are rules to be followed and we are not asking for a handout, just stability for our families and the chance to go on.
After delivering the letter we were granted a rather long meeting to hash out many of the concerns the women had. While it's clear that the program still has a laundry list of problems we are glad that the County was willing to meet with us to discuss concerns and we are happy the women of the program led the discussion. We did come to some agreements and set a time for a follow-up meeting to discuss problematic policies of the program, explore how groups like Occupy Our Homes Atlanta might work with these families, and develop a stronger understanding of how the program works.
We certainly don't believe this issue is resolved, but we are hopeful that a path of resolution may have begun today. Many of the women in the program launched an online petition yesterday, and we encourage folks to check it out by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Moral Monday on the Rise Outside Atlanta

AFSC was honored to be invited to speak with the League of Women Voters of Carrollton & Carroll County yesterday. Tim Franzen, AFSC's Atlanta Economic Justice program director, used the opportunity to talk about the Moral Monday movement and encouraged LWV members to explore creative ways to build coalition with other groups in their area that they may normally not work with.

We are excited to hear that several of those in attendance plan to organize an issues based march to the polls during the early voter period.

People Push Back Against Voter Suppression In Georgia

On September 9th, the public saw two disturbing attempts to silence our voices and thwart efforts to register and engage voters in Georgia. Brian Kemp, the Secretary of State, issued a broad and vague subpoena to the New Georgia Project. The New Georgia Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on registering Georgians to vote, particularly the estimated 800,000 eligible African American, Latino, and Asian American citizens of Georgia. Brian Kemp also expressed extreme disdain for Sunday voting.

 Last week he Secretary of State’s office has now called for an emergency hearing for Wednesday, September 17th. The State Board of Elections will met with almost no public notice but that didn’t stop us from packing the room and exposing what was really happening; voter suppression.

 These actions, we fear, seem designed as steps to block communities of color from the polls, and successful voter registration activities by all types of organizations. However, the Secretary of State has not responded to a letter sent by multiple organizations or request to meet. Instead, he schedules a last minute hearing to get authority for subpoenas he has already issued.

American Friends Service Committee worked through Moral Monday Georgia to help organize a large press conference before the hearing at the Capitol. After the press conference over 50k completed voter registration forms were delivered to Brian Kemps office and we refused to leave until he met with us. At the hearing we packed the room. As the hearing began several Moral Monday Georgia participants stood up, put stickers that read, “Vote” over their mouths, and turned their backs on the hearing. Surprisingly no one was asked to leave.

 We demand that the Secretary of State get back his job of making sure verified voter registration applicants make it on the rolls successfully by the start of early voting on October 13th.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Know Your Rights

Last weekend, the Gen Y Projected invited Cop Watch of East Atlanta to provide a “Know Your Rights Training” to teach young Metro Atlantans what to and what not to do when stopped by a police officer. The presentation was both informative and entertaining with the training consisting of 4 parts and a Q&A session at the end. The four sections included what rights average citizens had in situations of being stopped walking down the street, being stopped while driving, when police knock at your door, and when being interrogated.

Each section included skits of the wrong way to conduct oneself when interacting with a cop and the right way to conduct oneself complete with information to accompany suggested methods. The audience was taught what rights they have as well as what rights police have depending on the situation. The atmosphere was both light hearted with many funny moments as well as very direct and specific as to why it is important for young people to know these rights.

The audience was delighted to be able to engage in the training and there were members of the group   #istbiggerthanyou in the audience. The training served as both a good bonding experience among Atlanta youth as well as an opportunity to develop practical skills that will be useful in organizing and everyday life.

The Gen Y Project meets every Thursday at 7pm at the AFSC Building, 60 Walton St

Atlanta, GA 30303

 Chiji Ebbis
Gen Y Project Organizer