For Immediate Release
The organization’s canvassers have already begun collecting petition signatures.
(Atlanta, GA) — New Georgia Project Action Fund (NGPAF) proudly joins a coalition of grassroots organizations and activists working to ensure City of Atlanta residents have an opportunity to vote on the construction of an 85-acre, $90 million police training facility, commonly known as “Cop City,” in their backyard. The coalition is currently collecting petition signatures from city residents to place a referendum regarding the facility on the ballot in November. Last week, NGPAF launched a door-to-door canvass program to talk with voters directly and invite them to sign the ballot referendum petition. NGPAF has a goal of collecting 15,000 petition signatures—of the 70,000 needed—by the August 14 deadline. The organization is coordinating efforts with the broader coalition, but will remain focused on a universe of Black, brown, and previously-engaged voters.
“The people deserve to have a say,” says Kendra Cotton, New Georgia Project Action Fund CEO. “This police training facility would have real impacts on communities and families in and around Atlanta. We’re talking about a $90 million investment, at minimum—a huge chunk of which will come directly from the pockets of Georgia taxpayers. All for a project that has allowed limited public input, sparked public controversy, and raised, frankly, some very valid concerns—concerns which have not been given adequate consideration. We now have, in the form of a ballot referendum, a democratic avenue to allow Atlanta residents to make their voices heard on the matter in a way that cannot be ignored. New Georgia Project Action Fund is seizing this opportunity to do what we do best: organize and mobilize our communities, uplift unheard voices, and build power. We are not new to democratic participation; we are true to it.”
NGPAF consistently grounds its work in research and data. Over the month of June, its affiliate, New Georgia Project (NGP), conducted a community survey of registered voters living closest to the site of the proposed police training center to better understand their sentiments and concerns. The survey found that nearby residents are divided on the issue. Of the nearly 600 people surveyed, 32.5% expressed some level of support for the facility, with less than 10% expressing “strong” support. Meanwhile, 47.8% expressed some level of opposition, of which 21.6% was “strong” opposition. Roughly 20% of survey respondents fell somewhere in the middle—either neutral or undecided.
“It is alarming that the City of Atlanta is moving forward with a project of this magnitude and cost amidst such clear disagreement,” says Keron Blair, New Georgia Project Action Fund Chief Field and Organizing Officer. “Decisions this important—ones that involve public funds and impact community safety—should represent the will and needs of the people. That’s what a democracy is all about. We are excited by the prospect of a ballot referendum as it allows community members to make their voices heard, loud and clear, and helps folks understand the power they have when they participate in our democracy. Any effort to curtail that participation, especially by our city’s leaders, is unacceptable. We plan to see this referendum on the ballot in the fall to give everyday City of Atlanta residents the unequivocal platform they have, thus far, been denied. If we’ve learned anything from the past few elections in Georgia, it’s that votes don’t lie.”
Exactly three weeks remain to collect enough signatures to get the referendum on the ballot. In that time, only current City of Atlanta residents who have been registered to vote in the City of Atlanta since October 2021 are eligible to sign the petition, in-person, and within the physical boundaries of the city. Additionally, signatures must be witnessed by City of Atlanta residents who are also registered to vote in the city. Given those myriad requirements, there is plenty of work to do. But fighting for impacted residents to have direct input via democratic processes is always worth it—which is why NGPAF canvassers are trained up, fired up, and ready to knock doors and collect signatures every day until the petition deadline.
NGPAF is committed to educating Georgia voters on the issues impacting their communities and expanding access to democratic means of changemaking and powerbuilding. Atlanta residents can look forward to an influx of friendly-faced-clipboard-holders-on-a-mission in their neighborhoods over the coming weeks.