Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
East Bay and San Francisco Branches
Work to Advance Peace, Justice and Human Rights
San Francisco occupies a unique space in the American imagination: Because of its history of being at the center of social movements, it is often widely regarded as a liberal bastion, an idealized oasis that has progressed beyond racial discrimination. However, the lived reality for Black San Franciscans tells a different story– one that has
been indelibly shaped by residential displacement, persistent disparities in
socioeconomic outcomes and broken promises.
In February 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors acknowledged the City’s need to formally document the historical harms endured by San Francisco’s Black communities by voting unanimously to form the San Francisco Reparations Advisory Committee (AARAC). In addition to enumerating these harms, the AARAC was tasked with proposing solutions. After two years of research, community engagement and public meetings, the AARAC submitted the final version of the San Francisco Reparations Plan to the SF Human Rights Commission, Mayor LondonBreed and the SF Board of Supervisors in July 2023.
SEPTEMBER 21 – INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
Repairing the Wounds of War: Nonviolent Peaceforce in Ukraine
Webinar: Thursday, September 21 10am-Noon PST
On the International Day of Peace, join FCNL for an online event featuring experts from Nonviolent Peaceforce, an organization dedicated to protecting civilians in violent conflict through unarmed strategies. They will share insights into their work to promote unarmed civilian protection in Ukraine. Learn more and register for this event.
COP CITY AND THE SILENCING OF DISSENT
Excerpted from an article by Cori Bush and Rashid Tlaib
in The Nation September 14, 2023
What started out as a local fight over a $90 million, 85-acre militarized police base in the Weelaunee Forest near Atlanta, known as “Cop City,” has turned into one of the most extreme cases of government overreach, oppression, and violence in recent years. City and state officials are covering up the police killing of a protestor and waging a chilling assault on the right to protest that risks setting a dangerous precedent.
In January, heavily militarized Georgia State Patrol officers shot and killed Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán, a nonviolent activist protesting in the local forest that Cop City would destroy, in a hail of 57 bullets.
Rather than investigate Tortuguita’s killing or reassess their approach to opponents of Cop City, law enforcement has continued to detain dozens of protesters. They have relied on baseless evidence and minor offenses like trespassing to charge more than 40 demonstrators with domestic terrorism. Three community activists were violently arrested for raising bail money and helping to find attorneys for the arrested protesters. Last week, Georgia’s Republican attorney general doubled down on his politically motivated prosecution of protesters, charging 61 people with state RICO charges, sending a clear message that dissent will be punished.
Our rights to free speech and assembly and our due process rights to defend ourselves against politically motivated government charges are under attack, and it’s not just in Atlanta. In Detroit, police beat and arrested Black Lives Matter protesters; then the City relentlessly prosecuted them. Years and numerous legal defeats later, the City of Detroit is now paying more than $1 million to protesters whose rights were violated. In St. Louis, law enforcement routinely harassed and intimidated activists during the Ferguson uprising.
Regardless of one’s politics, every person in our country should be able to advocate for what they believe in, which is why it is crucial that we pay attention to what is happening in Cop City. We cannot allow for the suppression of our right to dissent.
In June, in the middle of the night, and despite hours of nearly unanimous public opposition from many Black and brown residents, the Atlanta City Council approved tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for its development. And now, on top of all of this, public officials are actively blocking a referendum on the facility, raising serious concerns about voter suppression.
We stand against these dangerous and dystopian efforts to criminalize the protection of the planet, threaten the health and safety of Black and brown communities, and transform political advocacy into “terrorism” punished with extreme charges and sentences. We call on the Department of Justice to investigate Tortuguita’s killing, its subsequent cover-up, and the deprivation of civil rights through domestic terrorism charges against protesters. It’s time to hold those responsible accountable.
We must transform our approach to public safety and adopt policies and practices that will truly keep our communities safe. Instead of funneling taxpayer dollars into militarized policing and prosecutorial abuse, we must invest that money in the basic needs of our communities and provide universal health care, public housing, universal childcare, strong unions, and livable wages. We all have a right to participate in our democratic process, and that includes the right to nonviolently protest decisions our governments make. This is a critical moment for every person who values freedom from government overreach to stand in solidarity with movements for justice like Stop Cop City. These intensified assaults against activists are about so much more than the message they are intended to send in the moment—they are about silencing the voices of our democracy.
EXPLORE WILPF TODAY
WILPF East Bay, P. O. Box 13083, Oakland, CA 94661
WILPF-SF, P. O. Box 590253, San Francisco, CA 94159
National WILPF www.wilpfus.org
International WILPF: www.wilpf.org