Rayshard Brooks was killed by an Atlanta police officer on June 12. The shooting happened in the Peoplestown neighborhood, where American Rivers has worked for seven years with neighborhood leaders to address flooding, end combined sewer spills and secure equitable community benefits in the Intrenchment Creek watershed. American Rivers sent the following letter on June 24 to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the members of the Atlanta City Council.
Read more about why fighting for rivers means fighting for justice.
Honorable Mayor Bottoms
Honorable Members of the Atlanta City Council
Sent via email
To the Honorable Mayor Bottoms and Members of the Atlanta City Council:
As an environmental organization whose mission is to protect, restore and conserve clean water and rivers for people and nature, American Rivers is committed to dismantling systemic inequities that threaten one of our most valuable resources — people. The murder of Rayshard Brooks is the latest in centuries of atrocities perpetrated against black people across the United States and in Atlanta. We can be silent no longer.
As a national, historically and predominantly white environmental group, we stand in solidarity as allies with environmental justice groups and community groups who seek justice and structural change. American Rivers has worked for seven years with neighborhood leaders and community groups in Peoplestown to address flooding, end combined sewer spills and provide equitable community benefits in the Intrenchment Creek watershed.
We support our partners’ demands, as put forward by NPU V, for divestment in policing and reinvestment in communities (see full list below). More robust engagement of community voices in decision-making related to policing and community infrastructure is critical to creating and growing a just City. This includes the hiring of the next police chief and officers in the neighborhoods as well as creating and enhancing mechanisms for ongoing decision-making through the Community Review Board. Likewise, accountability policies that hold police officers and the criminal justice system accountable for their actions and provide clear and timely consequences for violations are needed. Moreover, transparency is a critical part of a government that works for the people and in line with this, NPU-V includes several demands to address timely communication and structures for communication.
We appreciate your attention to these important community demands and look forward to your response as we work together to build a better City of Atlanta together.