On Tuesday evening at 6:30 pm, faith leaders from different communities in Atlanta will hold a prayer session for Georgia State University and Carter Development at #TentCityATL (755 Hank Aaron drive). On the days following Easter, faith leaders will pray that GSU and Carter respect the NPU-V community members and include them in development of Turner Field and the surrounding parking lots. They will pray that development projects not drive-out longtime residents as they have before. They will pray that Carter and GSU include community voices in a binding social contract that will ensure development benefits everyone in the community.
On April 1st residents of the area marched to the site formally known as Turner Field and set up a tent city. Residents have been staying there in an act of civil disobedience for 18 days through extreme weather and police intimidation. Our ask is simple; include longterm resident voices in the development of the area and so far Carter and GSU has refused to respond to numerous requests for a meeting.
"For years, we have met with residents across Peoplestown, Summerhill, Mechanicsville, and Pittsburgh to develop a Community Benefits Agreement to ensure that any development on the 80-acre Turner Field property benefits the community and our future generations," explains Deborah Arnold of Mechanicsville who has been camped out since April 1. "More than 1700 of us have partiicpated in community meetings to develop this CBA since the Braves announced thy were leaving, but Carter Development and GSU have refused to meet with us, and instead have slandered us and pushed forward plans for development that doesn't meet community needs."
"We're drawing a line in the sand. We won't allow GSU, Carter, or any other developer to extract wealth from our community. After suffereing through multiple mega developments that promised economic development and delivered broken promises this is our last stand for a community we want to be able to stay in," says long-term resident and Housing Justice League member Alison Johnson and an organizer of the #TentCityATL. "We no longer have anything to lose. If they aren't developing with us, they aren't developing for us."
Since the #TentCityATL began thousands have signed an online petition to bring Carter and GSU to the table and the story has been covered nationally.