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How Organizers Closed Down an Atlanta Jail

“Every time we won a campaign… we fought and we fought until we got it. It’s all about who’s giving the presentation. A person who has not been in our shoes can’t be passionate enough about their freedom.” – Marilynn Winn 

After a historic two-year effort, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced in 2019 that the city would close the Atlanta City Detention Center and launch a community-led task force to reimagine the space as a Center for Wellness, Equity, & Freedom.

The announcement was the culmination of the #CommunitiesOverCages #CloseTheJailATL campaign, led by an alliance of formerly incarcerated women, trans and queer leaders, and immigrant justice organizers.

Get the communications tactics and lessons behind this historic grassroots campaign from Women On The Rise’s Executive Director Ms. Marilynn Winn and Racial Justice Action Center’s Xochitl Bervera.

Below, watch the video, listen to the podcast, or read the transcript.

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Transcript

Sean Gibbons:

We had an extraordinary session yesterday. We have an idea of what we can gather from the check-in. This is an idea from —

A little less nervous, and —

One, we’re going to focus on voting, and — [in] the control room to my right I can see all the great folks you’ll be chatting with. There’s an incredible conversation. If you are waiting for Soledad O’Brien and the conversation she had, you’re going to be in for a real treat as well. The great news is you don’t have to miss anything. We are recording everything that we’re doing, and if you give us about 24 hours, you’ll find it up online. Stick with what you’ve got. You made an excellent choice, I promise you. With that, let me go ahead and let’s get into the day, and I’ll see you back again a little bit later on. Be well. Thanks, everybody. Be good to each other. (Music playing).

Soledad:

Welcome to our conversation today. Back in 2019 Atlanta’s mayor —

There are two women, among many, who made this happen. Turned what was a very bold idea and maybe in some people’s minds an impossible idea into a reality. Marilynn Wynn and Xochitl Bervera, and I wanted to have an opportunity — how they got there and how this happened, and what was the role of communication and messaging and who was around the table in turning an idea to a success.

I’m going to start by reading their biographies. Very short because we’re going to ask them to talk a lot more about their backgrounds, and then we’ll go right into our deep dive about strategy and communication. Marilynn is the co-founder and executive director of Women on the Rise Georgia. As a result of this work, Atlanta made history by being the first city in the South to ban the box on its employment application — stand against employment discrimination against people who have prior convictions in Georgia. We’ll talk about how that work is part of what we’re talking about today. She has 15 years-plus experience in grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, and training and technical experience, focus primarily on … LGBTQ communities.

That’s a blurb on these women who have lived a lifetime — welcome, Marilynn, and let’s get to our conversation. It’s really my pleasure. Marilynn, I’m going to start with you, and Xochitl, right after that I want you to hop in as well. Start with the back story and your own background. Are you optimists, organizers? How would you describe yourselves before this issue even became a reality? Marilynn, you can start.

Marilynn:

Before this issue became a reality, actually, born and raised right here in the city of Atlanta. I remember when the city created its homeless population, then we were granted the opportunity to host the Olympics. That’s when the jail came about. The jail came about to hide the homeless from people coming to visit the Olympics, and since then — since that time the jail has been housing primarily people from oppressed and — I’ve had my days there as well, but I’ve always, always, wanted to close it because I always felt in — not just felt, but learned from experience, that once you are arrested, you have a life sentence. No, you can’t do this. No, you can’t do that. So it has always been in my spirit and one of my passions before I can do anything about organizing, not just to me in my life but the community that I live in.

Soledad:

Xochitl.

Xochitl:

I have worked in California and New York and Louisiana before coming to Georgia. Started out in Mexico City. It was really when the idea was born for the Racial Justice Action Center. And the idea really was just to incubate inside their communities and then across communities. Can we organize with communities of people where we haven’t always historically worked together — in fact, maybe we’ve been pitted against each other? Can we come together and effectuate real change? And we always had a focus on criminalization or what people call criminal justice reform. We often think about that, our system for public safety and wellness. Our idea of what we’ve had for 400 years really, but certainly in Atlanta since 1996, is a punitive system, a system that has not really ever provided safety and wellness for a large majority of the community. And how can we move away from that kind of a system into one that actually provides the supports and services that people need to thrive?

Soledad:

When I read articles about the closure of the detention center, they all start with after a two-year fight or after a two-year battle. I can tell because you’re both laughing that this is a good question. Because it sounded like a very short timeline, and I’m curious, when did this very focused strategy begin? When would you put the start of the ending of this, if you will?

Xochitl:

When there began to be a lot of organizing in the city of Atlanta around policing in particular, and when Women on the Rise as a project of the racial justice faction started out, and we began working with the Solutions Not Punishment collaborative, we were focused on policing because we really saw the cost of the kind of way that Atlanta does policing. We saw the cost of overpolicing, of an overinvestment or bloating — what we saw as cops, courts, and jails — and a systematic underinvestment of mental health services, education, health care. The things that we know — if you ask anybody at any neighborhood, what keeps you safe, what makes you feel safe, what makes your grandchildren feel safe, what makes your grandma feel safe? Those are the things that come up, instead of — not cop cars, not more jail beds.

We began really thinking about policing, and when we began eight years ago, I think that that was really the road we were on, and it wasn’t — Ms. Marilynn always had her eye on that city jail. For many of us, as we began down the pathway, where we got laws repealed and initiated a pre arrest diversion to give officers an alternative to jail. We began to look at this building. It is 470,000 square feet. It sits in the heart of downtown Atlanta. They spent $32.5 million every year to run a jail that houses people for nothing more than violating a city ordinance or a traffic law. That to me — at some point we said, If as a community we know that we need to have the city put their money where their mouth is, criminal justice reform is great as an idea, but at some point it is about the resources. And Ms. Marilynn led the charge of saying we want that building, we want that $32.5 million, and we want to change the way Atlanta thinks about safety and wellness.

Soledad:

Clearly, you are called Ms. Marilynn. When you shifted the focus, that you put your laserlike focus on that, what did that mean exactly? How would you say that that went from being a, “One day this detention center needs to go” to “This is now front and center on my plate,” to strategize around literally bringing it down?

Marilynn:

It took a lot of what we were calling back then low-hanging fruit, where we saw opportunities to change legislation, repeal city ordinances, and we were calling it “starving the beast.” It wasn’t a thing to talk about during that time when we first started it. It was a thing that didn’t sound like something that would happen or could happen, for someone to talk about closing a jail. That sounded like something from another planet, basically. But we took advantage of the low-hanging fruit — that, along with solutions, not punishment. First of all, [we] did ban the box, and that was asking employers to remove that box off applications that — prosecute a person, you know, can’t get an interview, and that — everything we did was basically diverting people from the jail, and as we moved along the cycle, everything we did. We starved the beast, and it was time at this time to launch that campaign, and not just us. I just want to add that even Project South was working along — Project South, and the mayor. And when — I say “the person in the White House.” When the person in the White House decided that he wanted to separate families, our mayor stepped in and ended the ICE contracts with the city of Atlanta, which was a great — a huge win for us as well. Ninety-two percent was people of color. Ninety-two percent.

Soledad:

I want to reiterate that there are a lot of people involved. These things don’t happen because two women decided. You are often speaking about this, but it would be a mistake to not recognize all the other people who had a hand, in big ways and small, in bringing about this change. You guys have had a hashtag, #closethejailATL. As we shift into the communication part of this conversation, do they have to start with a hashtag? Clearly, they’re starting with an idea and concept and strategy. The hashtag to me was not unimportant, was it, Xochitl?

Xochitl:

I would say the hashtag and the message becomes really important. I would say I think especially in kind of the organizing moment that we’re in, that it’s very important that people kind of see all of that organizing that happened beforehand, and all of those people would come together to talk about the issue, and all the folks who have been locked up in that jail for two weeks, two months, up to six months you could be in that jail for sitting on the sidewalk or for jaywalking or for having an open container. We were grounded in the actual people. In the deep philosophy — the other part of our hashtag is Communities over Cages. That’s actually what we’re saying. We’re saying Communities over Cages. We’re saying health care, not handcuffs. We’re saying services, not sentences. The hashtag then becomes powerful because it encapsulates a larger — a larger idea that actually speaks to a lot of people. There are a lot of people who, when offered those choices — sometimes I feel like we used to walk into neighborhood planning unit meetings, you know, and the first thing out of people’s mouths would be, you know, “I don’t feel safe” or “There’s people walking around with drug issues. We need more police. We need more police. Where are the police?” It would take us about 10 minutes to say, Have the police and the jail historically actually helped this problem at all? How many years have we been doing that very same thing? What if we did something else? What if we diverted people out of jail and brought them health services, or mental health services to where they were? What if we actually looked at housing as a critical issue for people? You know, would that — and within 10 minutes the mood would shift, and they would say, “You’re right. Close the jail. Close the jail. Close the jail.” That is the power, I think, of a message that holds inside of it: We are searching for shared safety and wellness. That’s what — that brings us together, and the old solutions that have been offered, I think there’s actually a lot of understanding of the costs of them and how they’re broken. Our Communities over Cages and closethejailATL as messaging really just gives life to, vibrancy to, an alternative that I think can call to people.

Soledad:

You also have to listen to people, right? There are problems, and just telling people what are you going to do to seems like it would be a big challenge. Marilynn, talk to me. You referred to it, that it seems too big. That I’m sure people thought, Well, there’s a lot you can do, but closing the jail is just too much. What kinds of conversations do you start having in the community, and who had to be in those conversations? How did you think about that?

Marilynn:

The conversation we started to have in the community is we talked about alternatives. For instance, I’m formerly incarcerated, I break in your car. I can go to jail, but I’m not going to die in jail. I’m going to come back and do the same thing. Though approximate, one gets to the root of the problem of why people are doing what they do. That’s why we say solutions and not punishment, health care not handcuffs. We need people to understand that jail — that you cannot jail away a problem. You have to solve the problem of the person, and then you can solve the problem of what their actions are. Who we brought to the rooms to have these conversations were people that have been impacted by the system. Why they did what they did, and now that they have the services that they needed, they no longer do those things. That’s how we talked about who is in the jail and why they’re there, and people actually didn’t know that people were sitting in jail for six months to a year for traffic violations or spitting on the sidewalk, jaywalking, and all of those things. They are not crimes, they’re city ordinances. They thought jail, jail, jail was where people go regardless, but when they realized that they could actually unnoticeably walk across the street and the light is red, that they could go to jail, or they can spit on the sidewalk, and they could go to jail. We had to do a lot of educating communities, and we did it through town hall meetings, and we did it through NPU meetings, their monthly meetings. We had to answer — be able to answer questions for people: well, where would this person go? This person did this and that. People get services where, once they get services, then the problems are resolved.

Soledad:

God is in the details when people who care about their community want to understand: Before I pick X, I need to understand this issue over here.

You, Xochitl, said something interesting, and you talked about communities that are frequently pitted against each other. How did you think about the voices that were going to center in that conversation? I think that’s a flaw that a lot of, even organizers who have been at it for a minute, often, you know, don’t run around or can’t figure out how to get everybody who is a stakeholder involved, and you’re seeing an infighting or collapsing from the middle.

Xochitl:

I think from the beginning, one of the things that was so — we were very excited about with this campaign when we did officially launch it, when we took on and looked at it. I always tell the story because I do remember when Ms. Marilynn was, like, now is the time. It’s time. We’ve been talking about it for years. We have been doing this work. I was seized with panic because I do know what a big deal it is, and I know what it is to — you know, there’s one thing to change some laws. It’s another thing to look at a whole institution where there’s a lot of self-interest in that institution, where you are talking about people’s jobs and you are talking about where a city has invested millions for years, and so, you know, when we looked at it, we thought, Look at all the people we can bring together. We had already been working in terms of trans and queer community and formerly incarcerated women. We had been working across those differences locally to talk about policing and police harassment.

Then, we had this opportunity to think also, here in this jail, that we always said there were two sides to the jail: what we called the city side, which is where people sat for those city ordinance violations, and traffic violations. Ninety-two percent Black. On the other side of the jail was where they held the ICE detainees. They had a contract with the federal government, and they detained immigrant families, and that was a sort of hidden fact that brought money into the city every year. And that immigrant justice organizer had been raising the issue of, and had done the study around, conditions there, and said: Does the city of Atlanta, that calls itself a welcoming city, want to be complicity in an immigration system that we can look around right now and say is horrifically separating families, causing great damage in many immigrant communities?

And so we got to partner along those many different lines to bring together the organization, the individuals who had been detained for different reasons, to talk to one another and to share stories and to see commonalities. This jail, this building, both harmed our communities in different ways, and then, the exciting place where we could able to engage lots of stakeholders was in the community engagement process of what this building should become. When we started saying, We don’t just want to close it down. We envision a center for wellness and freedom, which the mayor has called a center for equity, and so we always call it a center for wellness, equity, and freedom. We imagine a facility that can actually repair the harm, and that should be designed and envisioned by the people who have been most harmed by the jail so far.

When we started to do that, we could really bring communities together. The neighborhood, people who have been inside on either side of the facility. Then business owners in the neighborhood, then the neighborhood planning units. Everyone who has an interest in what would make our communities better, more safe, more well, could come together with voices that were directly impacted at the center and really dream, dream big about what we could do.

Soledad:

I’m curious about getting this messaging — which clearly was working in terms of internally to the communities — getting it out to the media. I don’t need to tell all of you, and I know this well, that people who are incarcerated are not sympathetic characters. Very few reporters want to run out the door and be, like, I want to bring humanity to people that are incarcerated. It’s usually the opposite: who is the victim of said crime, and let me elevate their story. So you have a challenge in front of you in how to get the narrative to be one that is one that you wanted. How big of a problem was this for you guys?

[text missing due to captioner switching to different Zoom room]

And yet the budget proposal came out for fiscal year 2021, which was July to June, for 18 million dollars to be spent on the facility. That was very wrong. We had been working so hard for a year with the administration, with this task force. We dropped the legislation that the mayor signed; we worked with the council to have it passed to create the task force that would engage much larger parts of the community in this process. We’ve been meeting diligently, and we had all the recommendations, and then we saw this budget and, you know, we’re like, that’s not what we expected. We expected this facility to be closed by July 1. And so I think there’s less incentive — some would say the world in 2020, as everyone acknowledges, has gone through a lot of upheavals. So we couldn’t foresee the pandemic. We could probably have foreseen the uprisings that have taken place after the killings of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks. Police violence is happening on such a regular basis, but who knew in this kind of way that it would take place?

So it has just meant that there’s a lot of — a lot of things pulling attention from the powers that be to actually implement some of the things that they committed to. So I think that one of the things we learned from it has been persistence as organizers. There’s sort of a myth of one or two people that make something happen, when it’s a whole army and community to do that. It’s not just a good idea that then wins the day. There’s campaigning, there’s having to draft laws. There’s having to be there at city council, having to engage community. And then there’s having to stick it out for the long haul, because the truth is, nobody has a stake like the people impacted in what happens. What we say sometimes to the administration right now is, even when they say we’re working on it, we’re trying to get all the pieces together to close it, we say, well, you’re working — handling paperwork. People are suffering because they’re going to that jail and sitting there when you have already agreed, when we have agreed as a community that we don’t want people to go to jail for those things.

And so in that way, there’s this disconnect between the sense of urgency from communities that are hurting and being harmed and want to start a process of healing, and administrators and bureaucrats or elected officials who have, you know, lots of other considerations and maybe don’t feel the impact so deeply.

So I would say that’s one of the things that has gone, not as planned, and that we are developing a strategy for on a daily basis.

How about what worked?

Oh —

Biggest thing, most impressive thing to you that worked well?

Wow. I think what worked is to bring people together who are impacted, centering voices and lives of people who have had experience with our criminal legal system and building an alliance that crosses community to really organize for something visionary. So to both understand what we’re opposed to and to recognize what’s hurt our communities and families, but to really organize actually around a different vision, that we believe that there could be a safety and wellness that doesn’t trade the live of some … for the safety and comfort of others. That we have lives, that meets people’s needs, and isn’t built on the myths and distortions that our current system has been so built on.

I think that was what — that’s, I think, our greatest success in this campaign.

Soledad:

Yeah. Marilynn, talk to me about how you sell something that relies on a lot of policy. And I’m thinking — every time I have to do a story on the Hatch Act, even the people who care about the Hatch Act, which isn’t many people, don’t know what it is and couldn’t describe it. I feel like whenever I have to do it, I’m slamming my head on the wall. People are walking away from my show and turning off the television because policy sucks people under in its minutiae if it’s not explained right.

I know in newsrooms, whenever I had to tell a story about racial justice, no one on the news — honestly, it was not a selling point. It’s a bigger selling point today, but 10, 12 years ago when I did a series called “Black in America” it wasn’t. If I pitched it as a money issue, look at the money behind it, oh, that is interesting. But selling racial justice, three people cared and nobody else cares.

How do you think about how to position things in a way that both the communities would care about, [and] that’s speaking to the media, that they would care about. Talk to me about some specific things that you did where you navigated that, because as a journalist that’s a confusing story. That’s been hard for me.

Marilynn:

Well, it wasn’t a me. It was a we. And we actually — we talked about money, money saved, money wasted, and money that can be reallocated back into the community services, that we wanted people to get those services instead of putting money into the jail and people being thrown back to the city, back to the street, worse than they went in, when that money can be allocated to community service, housing, jobs, health care, all those things. That kind of caught people’s ears, as well as talking about alternatives for their family members. Alternatives for themselves, something that is related — that they can relate to and that they need, something that is a greater need than that building, a greater need for just human rights and be able to be a human, regardless of what you’ve done — the past is the past. These are not crimes, these are city ordinances. And that’s how we framed it and were able to get — catch people and the city as well. We was talking not too long ago about the $18 million that was in the budget for this year for ACDC. We could take that $18 million and — for the people in the jail right now and live in the Ritz-Carlton for a month. Seriously.

That’s why I’m laughing, because I know you’re dead serious.

It’s 21 people in the jail and you’re going to put $18 million into a skeleton jail? So those are the things that we talk about that catches people, the needs of the community.

It’s interesting that money is often that thing, because people can relate to wasted money, money that can be spent better, things like that.

Let me talk to you about the role of nonprofits. How did you think about leveraging their support? What did you hit up against? I think it’s changing, but I’ve worked with some nonprofits where they don’t want to step into a hot-button issue. They want to give backpacks to small children before school. That’s a really comfortable, safe space. Letting people out of a jail starts getting a little challenging. How did you think about it?

Xochitl:

I think that’s exactly right. I mean, what’s been amazing over the last five years is how sort of, you know, public dialogue has shifted around these issues. And while that hasn’t made all of the difference, it certainly has impacted. So when we started, I think there’s — to go into the city council, people won’t have the concept of reducing mass incarceration or trying to do our part to end mass incarceration. That wasn’t something that the city council was concerned with. It wasn’t something that the nonprofits that we talked to — and you’re right. We ran up against a lot — not only were we in large part formerly incarcerated people, but there’s trans and queer community who were in leadership in this, and immigrant community that were undocumented and unafraid. And all of those, I think, what you think of the most marginalized. There’s a lot of nonprofits that didn’t want to come near that. There were a lot of organizations that believed in some social change that we needed, but that was just too risky for them. And there are council members who I think actually agreed with what we were saying, and yet, wouldn’t come and support it for those exact reasons.

And I think it’s kind of amazing how we pushed forward, and I think it’s amazing how in the last few months, the world has exploded in this conversation around the truth of where policing comes from in this country and what jails actually represent, and this idea of even in common conversation that people were saying abolition, that people are saying we need to think about defunding or decreasing our police departments. And Ms. Marilynn and I joked because we felt terrible, but we spent a little time saying, “Told you so” to so many people.

We don’t mean it in a mean way, but it’s all of the things we’ve been saying to people. Do you see the issues connected? Yes, we’re talking about the jail, but we’re also talking about police violence because the more police contact you have on the streets, the more you increase your chance of something like that happening. The more you train your police as a militarized force but send them out to handle social issues like homelessness, that decreases equity. It makes our communities less safe. And we’ve been saying that. And so our kind of — the way we see it is there’s lots of organizations and people who are not really on board. We’re getting a lot of calls and a lot of reach-outs now from organizations who see this issue and know we’ve been working on it.

And I just want to lift up at the same time, there were some that took the risk and joined our alliance. And I think our alliance is 50 organizations large because there were those willing to take the risk. And I’ll say at the same time, and we still currently have city council members who I would say are still not ready to take that risk, that these issues of supporting formerly incarcerated people are politically not in their interest. There are still people who feel like elections are not made on criminal justice reform but on, you know, in fact, pointing the finger and talking about crime rates. And so we still have a ways to go, even with the progress.

Soledad:

A question for both of you that I’m interested in is around language. I’m a big believer that language matters, and it’s why I often do completely crazed, unhinged threads on Twitter about how some journalist has framed something the wrong way and the words they’re using are not the right words which makes me feel like a crazy person, but I think I’m right.

Talk to me how you thought about the language and how that supported your strategies both within community — [no audio]. [Music playing].

Marilynn:

… language of a person that were more educated, like college professors or whatever. They talk about criminal justice in another type of way, whereas a person that is not educated or formerly incarcerated, some of us did not understand. So by myself, being formerly incarcerated, I was able to reach out to that community and talk and give them an understanding of what some things meant that they didn’t know what it meant. And if they didn’t know what it meant by being formerly incarcerated, they were hesitant to be a part of it.

And then on the other hand, there were — I learned to understand the language around legislation and the other part of the language. So it’s not just one language. It’s two or three different languages for different communities. So those — that’s where the language — you’ve got to put the language in the right community, to make a long story short.

Soledad:

Interesting. Lived experience as expertise. You’re an expert. You don’t have Ph.D. or eight of them after your name. But you have more lived experience than other people on this issue, and that has tremendous value. And then also, how do you navigate the words that will resonate in the community for different communities? — because not everyone is moved by the same thing.

Xochitl:

That is such a beautiful way of putting it. And I think we did see some of what — I don’t think you’re crazy at all. We see news coverage of our issues and for a long time, the use of the word “convict,” “criminal,” all of the pejorative and stereotype words that describe people formerly incarcerated, the false division between formerly incarcerated persons and victims of crime, as if our communities actually aren’t totally overlapping, one and the same, that many people in jail have been survivors of crime themselves. So we see that all the time. And we worked really hard to stay away from some of that language, that even when an article is saying the right things about the subject matter but you are demeaning the people inside, you’re dehumanizing people, and that’s what makes it easier. What we used to say in city council, there’s people sleeping behind bars every night in these tiny little cells and almost all of them in isolation cells, which is known to be a form of torture. And people are just living their lives and not paying attention to that, particularly if you dehumanize them … .

While we did feel the need in this campaign, like Ms. Marilynn was saying earlier, to point out that this extra jail, we’re talking about city ordinance violations and traffic violations because that’s so absurd. But we don’t want to dehumanize the people sitting in the county jail because there’s people accused of misdemeanors and felonies. And the question remains, like Ms. Marilynn said, the question remains: Is that going to actually increase safety in our community? And so I feel like we worked really hard to highlight what’s particular about this jail about making sure we’re not throwing anybody else under the bus and we see — we see news coverage all the time that kind of misses the boat on the realities of our communities and tries to turn us all into monolithic — you know, it just doesn’t — news, as you know, isn’t always designed to capture the complexity, and this is complex. We fought for a long time to get the local press in particular to cover the story for what the story is.

Soledad:

Thank you for making me feel like I’m not crazy, because the nuance and complexity and who’s an expert and whose point of view gets elevated, I’m always so frustrated that you end up having to yell at legislators but not the actual people whose stories are centered.

Before I run out of time, what’s next? I was surprised to hear that the jail isn’t closed because I was one of those who thought it was done. It’s a done deal. It’s announced. Headlines are in the paper. I’ll have you wrap up the steps beyond this detention center.

Marilynn:

So the next steps is we’re working to, working diligently, getting it closed by the end of the year and start the repurposing — the demolition to repurpose on the — with the facility. And moving beyond that, Women on the Rise is an organization that is led by formerly incarcerated women of color that is doing work that has never been replicated nowhere in the U.S. I would like to have time to start trying to replicate Women on the Rise in other states, make it a national organization instead of just — I mean, the city of Atlanta organization. One of the things I would like to do … next on my list … closing another jail that is holding women in Union City.

Soledad:

Great. Xochitl?

Marilynn:

So I really want to see the jail close before we do anything else.

Xochitl:

Yeah, absolutely. Like what Marilynn said, I would be a bad organizer if I didn’t say that anybody watching this, please call your mayor, your city council member and say it’s time. Justice demands that we have a date. And so we’re going to ensure that. And I think there’s a lot of work that goes into this vision for a replaced or repurposed center for wellness, equity, and freedom. We want to make sure that there’s community investment, that it isn’t, you know, sort of an institution that decides what’s best for people, but how do you actually have community leadership, ownership, in order to keep the sort of transformational, you know, what we’ve begun as such a transformational campaign. So I think there’s a lot there. So we’ll turn our attention as well to the policing that happens in the city of Atlanta, because the jail would not have people in it were the police not arresting people for those things. We need to repeal the ordinances that led up to the jail and need to re-envision our police department. That will be the next step in the city of Atlanta, to reckon with what the criminal justice system has been for the last 20, 30, 40-plus years. And decide on a different pathway forward for wellness and safety. They’re going to have to take a look at the police department and what needs to be invested in instead here in the city.

Soledad:

Marilynn and Xochitl, thank you for this great conversation. Really, really helpful both in understanding the issue but also in understanding deconstructing the pathway to what is — I guess we’ll call it on the cusp. Victory, but on the cusp of being fully realized and actualized. Thank you so much for this conversation. Appreciate it.

Thank you. This was wonderful. It’s great. Thank you very much.

Thank you so much. [Music playing]. [End of session].

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