Stop Cop City 2023 Action of Immediate Witness

WHEREAS, consistent with Unitarian Universalism’s living tradition, our 6th principle on a peaceful and just world, our 7th principle concerning the interdependent web of existence, and our proposed 8th principle on accountably dismantling racism, we affirm that the proliferation of policing at the expense of Black communities and the Earth is a threat to safety, sustainability, and Beloved Community everywhere;

WHEREAS, the Atlanta Police Foundation, in partnership with the Atlanta City Government and a committee of more than 40 corporate donors, proposes to build a $90 million militarized urban warfare training complex known as “Cop City,” in the heart of a predominantly Black neighborhood;

WHEREAS, the construction of the Cop City campus requires the destruction of 381 acres of land in one of Atlanta's largest remaining green spaces, known as Welaunee Forest, an area the Atlanta Planning Department dubbed one of the “four lungs” of Atlanta because it is a green space vital for the environmental health of the city and its residents;

WHEREAS, the Welaunee Forest is sacred land to the Muskogee people, who the U.S. government forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands in the 1820s and 1830s to create what is referred to today as the city of Atlanta, and its further destruction continues the U.S. government’s centuries of violence and land dispossession against Indigenous nations and people;

WHEREAS, organizers who mobilized against police violence and the police murder of Rashad Brooks during the Summer 2020 Uprisings called for the government of Atlanta to divest from policing, to invest in non-policing solutions to community safety, and to give control over public safety resources to community members rather than government officials;

WHEREAS, members of the Atlanta Police Department, Georgia State Police, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, have already deployed violence in their continued efforts to build the Cop City complex and proven that their efforts do not increase community safety, as evidenced by the murder of Indigenous nonbinary forest defender Manuel (Manny) “Tortugita” Terán, who was shot at least 57 times while sitting cross-legged with their hands raised, and the arrests of and assertion of “domestic terrorism” charges against at least 42 activists between January and June 2023;

WHEREAS, pressure from Stop Cop City organizers and activists over the past two years has already resulted in the public divestment of individuals and corporations from the construction of Cop City, and continuation of these efforts is likely to lead to further divestment; and

WHEREAS, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), Unitarian Universalist Mass Action (UUMA), and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), have already joined more than 50 local, state, and national organizations in calling for Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens to terminate the city’s lease of the Welaunee Forest to the Atlanta Police Foundation and to resign his position as mayor.


As Unitarian Universalists, we recognize the momentum of collective action to demand social change, and we call upon the UUA and its member congregations to stop Cop City;

As Unitarian Universalists, we will take action through self-organized phone zaps, mass email campaigns, personal and institutional divestment from banks funding Cop City construction, and other solidarity actions against investors, funders, and other corporate partners across the U.S. and Canada;

As Unitarian Universalists, we will support those engaged in direct action to stop Cop City with spiritual and material resources, by writing letters to incarcerated activists and calling for their immediate release from jail, demanding that all charges against them be dropped, and providing spiritual care for protestors and survivors of police violence; and

As Unitarian Universalists, we will continue to deepen our theological grounding in issues of environmental justice and policing.