Protesting the School of the Assassins at Ft. Benning - 26th Year

A few MADSA members made our annual November pilgrimage to Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA to protest the School of the Americas, aka School of the Assassins (officially renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), which has trained Latin American army personnel for decades, including a significant number of death squad leaders, assassins of progressive priests and nuns - including Archbishop Romero of El Salvador - and perpetrators of massacres of civilians.  Fr. Roy Bourgeois (honored by MADSA at last year's Douglass-Debs dinner), who organized the first action at the gates of the base in 1990, showed up in an ironic Uncle Sam suit (photo: Reid Jenkins). We joined other SOA Watch veterans and members of a caravan from Cleveland's Interreligious Task Force for Justice who also protested the cruel imprisonment of undocumented immigrants at the nearby Stewart Detention Center. We were a token group of a few dozen, because the main  SOAWatch convergence had been moved to the border between Nogales TX and Nogales MX earlier this fall (attended by MADSA member Adrian Bernal, who will be reporting in our newsletter). Member Barbara Joye was quoted in the Columbus paper.

Atlantans Say No to Pipeline on National Day of Action

Supporters of the Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline marched from CNN Center to the headquarters of Suntrust Bank, one of many large banks that fund the pipeline - Atlanta's contribution to a nationwide day of protest. Led by a group of Native Americans and activists from the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human rights (at left, Eva Morales), the crowd of about 175 placed flowers and other offerings on a symbolic altar (at right, MADSA member Lorraine Fontana offers an apple), spoke out, and sang.  When a bank spokesperson finally appeared, they handed him a letter asking the banks CEO William Rogers for a meeting.  Other sponsoring organizations included the National Domestic Workers' Alliance (NDWA); We Dream in Black (NDWA Atlanta Chapter); Racial Justice Action Center; Solutions Not Punishment Coalition; The Ruckus Society; Trans(forming); and Women on the Rise. Photos: Reid Freeman Jenkins

Post-election Fightback

During the past few days, protesters have filled the streets of many U.S. cities to tell the world that we will not give the new administration a honeymoon but will fight back from day one against extreme rightwing racist, anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ and anti-worker policies and actions that are sure to come. Atlantans were also in the streets. (Photos: Steve Eberhardt)

Calls to action on a variety of issues, including support for the Standing Rock anti-pipeline water protectors, are coming in fast. See the MADSA Facebook page for announcements.

Also be sure to follow national DSA news at We gained 1000 new members in the two days following the election! DSA Director Maria Svart sent a message to inspire us, posted on the blog (home page, center column) and a statement by the NPC is in the works.




Atlantans Say: No Dakota Access Pipeline!

Several MADSA and YDS members joined a spirited crowd of about 125 (mostly young) Atlantans who marched through downtown Nov. 4 from 4pm to midnight in solidarity with the Standing Rock protesters against the Dakota Access pipeline that threatens tribal sacred land and access to water, the Missouri River, and water supply to a large area. YDS members from Emory, U.GA and GA State turned out. Above: The man holding the sign wore a MADSA button from our Pride booth. Next to him: members Mitsy Novitch and Barbara Joye. Photo by Steve Eberhardt.


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Call for Tent City for Equity Nov. 7-8

The ATLisREADY community organizing body is issuing a call for all Atlantans to join us on Monday November 7, 2016 at Atlanta City Hall for our 24 Hour Tent City for Equity sleepout event. This will be a day of action, awareness and solidarity that centers on Atlanta’s homelessness and equity crises and the factors that cause them to persist on the eve of "election" day.

Because the day will center on Atlanta's equity crisis as it applies to people living without homes and those at risk of the same fate we are calling for an all hands on deck resource drive effort to gather donations including: non-perishable food items, clothing (especially winter wear), first aid supplies, hygeine kits, hand warmers and any other items that may fit the needs of individuals living without stable homes. 

We also invite any organizations or individuals who are organizing resource drives separate of this event to take this opportunity to distribute your items on-site and connect with others doing similar work to help further these efforts. 

This tent city sleepout will also coincide with the ATLisREADY Pack City Hall Event which will begin at 1pm. 

ATLisREADY would like to invite all artists, entertainers, photographers and any other creatives interested in filling the space with your work to come out as well and keep us in positive, revolutionary spirits througout the day. 

This will be a full 24 hour sleepout event and we encourage you to bring:
Tents, blankets, heaters, hand warmers, warm bevarages, bottled water, hygeine kits and other supplies in preparation 

SEE:  ATLisReady on Facebook and look for updates.

MADSA Marches, Tables With Pride

The MADSA Pride festival booth was even more popular this year, with a steady stream of visitors all weekend. The button maker never cooled off; we gave away about 2,000 buttons saying "Black Lives Matter," "Metro Atlanta DSA," and "LGBTQ Liberation, not Rainbow Capitalism."

A young student dropped by to say he is starting a YDS chapter at his high school (see photo)! Over 120 people signed up for our email list and took literature; we hope we see a lot of you at our open house Oct. 16 (2 pm at the Decatur Recreation Center) so we can get to know you better.

The parade contingent was lively and greeted with cheers, as always.

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Speaking Out Against Shelter Shutdown

MADSA members joined Black Lives Matter Atlanta, Justice for All Coalition, Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaPCo), Women on the Rise, Racial Justice Action Center, Lawyers United for a New Atlanta and other community organizations who rallied at Atlanta City Hall Oct. 3 to oppose legislation proposed by Council members Kwanzaa Hall and Alex Wan that would permit the City to move towards acquiring the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter for the purpose of building a massive police facility. The rally and educational speak-out was followed by people packing the City Council chamber for their meeting at which the ordinance was to be voted on. Photo: Lorraine Fontana

During the time allotted for public comments, among many moving speakers opposing the closing of the shelter (no one gave a public comment supporting the closing) was Fight for $15 activist Dawn O’Neal. She told Council President Ceasar Mitchell that at one time while she was his daughter’s substitute teacher she was actually homeless and earning only $8.50 an hour. After the public comment period, many audience members broke out into vocal protest, chanting "Vote!  Vote!" and one person was arrested. See the Atlanta Progressive News report for details.  The ordinance passed, with Council member Felicia Moore the only dissenting vote. Meanwhile, the Task Force’s lawsuit disputing the ownership of the property is still going through the court system.  Photo: Marshall Rancifer

Tabling for Social Justice

MADSA, WRFG, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Rise Up, ATL Raise Up and other friends reached out to hundreds of festival goers at the Many Rivers to Cross: a Festival of Music, Arts and Social Justice Festival’s “Social Justice Village” in Fairburn during the first weekend in October.

Daniel Hanley reported on “great experiences and conversations!. . .Organizing highlight: our DSA table spoke with so many Atlantans who pledged to participate Monday in the campaign to save Peachtree-Pine shelter. People were appalled by Kasim Reed's attempt to displace hundreds of shelterless Atlantans and replace their beds with a SWAT command center. We also spoke with people from out of town, who are eager to get plugged in to work with DSA locals in their home regions.” Photos: Daniel Hanley

September Meeting Celebrates Open Door History, Elects Officers

MADSA’s membership meeting Sept. 24 was one of our most inspiring. We heard recollections of the Open Door Community (ODC)-led 1990 occupation of the then-abandoned Imperial Hotel, which resulted in the re-opening of the hotel for homeless people and other gains in affordable housing. Historian Charles Steffens called it “one of the most dramatic street actions in Atlanta since the student-led civil rights protests of the 1960s.”  The main speaker, Terry Easton, author of Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain: The Imperial Hotel Occupation as Prophetic Politics, was joined by ODC founders MADSA member Ed Loring and Murphy Davis, other veterans of the occupation, and ODC board and community members. See the Summer 2016 MADSA newsletter “Equality”, posted on this website, for an article by Easton. For a copy of his book ($10 donation), contact the ODC.

Following the general discussion, MADSA members present elected officers for 2016-2017: Chair Milt Tambor, Treasurer Travis Reid, Membership Secretary Barbara Segal, Recording Secretary Barbara Joye and members t-large Adam Cardo, Cecily McMillan, and Eric Robertson. Thanks to Nomination Chair Bob Caine and outgoing officers Daniel Hanley and Greg Ames. We continue to explore ways to develop new leadership to help us grow in the years to come.

Solidarity With Charlotte, Tulsa

An estimated 1,000 Atlantans led by the Georgia NAACP, Black Lives Matter, #stopkillingus and allied organizations quickly organized Sept. 23 to demonstrate downtown in solidarity with the protests against police killings of Keith Scott in Charlotte, NC and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, OK. (Crowd estimate from Atlanta Progressive News.) They marched from the Center for Civil and Human Rights to the King Center and from there to the Atlanta Police Department and jail, where to the approving flicker of lights from the cell windows they assembled peacefully until midnight for a “Midnight in America” rally. Protests continue. Above, center with DSA shirt and sign: Daniel Hanley; for right with sign, Megan Harrison.  Photo: Steve Eberhardt