The Mainline Podcast is the official podcast for the Mainline, an independent, progressive news outlet based in Atlanta, Ga. The Mainline Podcast features exclusive interviews with movement builders, community activists, legislators, and others to tell the stories that are regularly glossed over in mainstream media. Hosted by founding editor and staff news writer Aja Arnold.
Ep. 50: Policing, media narratives, and the AJC
This week, Aja and Sylvia get in the weeds about local media coverage's role in how the general public views policing, specifically considering coverage from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution—the city's largest local news source owned by Cox Enterprises, whose CEO & President Alex Taylor is serving as chairman of the new police training facility known as "Cop City".
In this episode, Aja delivers a rundown and explainer of status quo journalism, the construct of objectivity, and other industry norms that are harmful to Black and brown communities. Sylvia adds her extensive knowledge of research and data specifically pertaining to the Atlanta police department and police violence in the city. Together, this helps us better grapple with understanding why vast swaths of Atlantans are still unaware of the city's plans to develop the facility, why public perception of police is skewed away from reality, and how media systems are built to uphold our nation's existing power structures rather than challenge and dismantle them.
INDIGENOUS LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This episode was recorded on both the unceded ancestral lands of the Muscogee Creek Tribe on so-called Atlanta, Ga., and those of the Duwamish Tribe on so-called Seattle, Wash.
"Atlanta police shootings, 2018-present: a database" (last updated on Aug. 11, 2021) by Sylvia Johnson: https://www.mainlinezine.com/atlanta-police-shootings-2018-present-a-database/
"Atlanta City Council passes ground lease for training facility, public dissent continues" by Aja Arnold: https://www.mainlinezine.com/atlanta-city-council-passes-police-training-facility-legislation/
"Atlanta protesters arrested while City Council passes lease agreement with police foundation" by Aja Arnold: https://www.mainlinezine.com/atlanta-protesters-arrested-council-passes-lease-police-foundation/
"The Atlanta police murder of Sam Parker" by Nolan Huber-Rhoades: https://www.mainlinezine.com/ep-44-the-atlanta-police-murder-of-sam-parker/
"The Cop Who Quit Instead of Helping to Gentrify Atlanta," Mother Jones: https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2020/09/the-cop-who-quit-instead-of-helping-to-gentrify-atlanta/
The View from Somewhere podcast created by Lewis Raven Wallace: https://www.lewispants.com/
To support our work, become a sustaining member at https://patreon.com/mainlinezine
Or consider making a one-time donation at https://mainlinezine.com/donate
Ep. 49: On Atlanta City Council's will to ignore the people
This week, Aja and Sylvia catch up with city designer and urban thinker Ryan Gravel following Atlanta City Council's vote to pass a proposal by the Atlanta Police Foundation to build an 85-acre police training facility on the 381-acre forested land in DeKalb County known as the Old Atlanta Prison Farm. In this episode, we discuss the events leading up to the vote, the vote itself, and what could happen next.
Prior to council's vote, council members sat through 17 hours of public comment in which nearly 70% of voters adamantly opposed the facility. Council deliberated hte proposal for about an hour before passing the legislation, denying any additional amendments, in a 10-4 vote.
The proposal originally sought to build a 150-acre training facility before adjusting following intense public outcry and dissent. Local organizers in Community Movement Builders, Sunrise Atlanta, Atlanta DSA, DARC, and others have been galvanizing in the #StopCopCity movement since the ordinance was introduced in June. Other organizations like the South River Forest Coalition have also been advocating and organizing for preservation of the forest.
This episode plays exactly as it was aired during the Mainline News Hour on WRFG radio in Atlanta on Fri., Sept. 10.
To learn more about the land, which was originally inhabited by the Muscogee Creek Nation before they were forcibly removed. After the Civil War, the land was sold in a land lottery to a plantation owner tho used the land for chattel slavery and forced labor of Black people criminalized by the state: https://itsgoingdown.org/slave-labor-overcrowding-and-unmarked-graves-the-buried-history-of-atlanta-city-prison-farm/
Our full breakdown of the council's vote and an overview of public opposition among Atlantans: https://www.mainlinezine.com/atlanta-city-council-passes-police-training-facility-legislation/
Our report detailing the arrests made during council's deliberations: https://www.mainlinezine.com/atlanta-protesters-arrested-council-passes-lease-police-foundation/
To support our work, consider becoming a sustaining contributor at https://patreon.com/mainlinezine or making a one-time donation at https://mainlinezine.com/donate
Ep. 48: Zuri Tau of Social Insights Research
Last week, research organization Social Insights Research—a woman of color-led firm working to decolonize research & evaluation to produce data that amplifies marginalized perspectives—released its findings from research conducted to learn how Atlantans feel about Cop City, the newly proposed $90 million police training facility developed between the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Foundation in unincorporated DeKalb County.
Atlanta City Council was expected to vote on the legislation that would authorize the ground lease of city-owned land known as the Old Atlanta Prison Farm to APF on Sept. 7. After receiving nearly 17 hours of public comment line calls, the council delayed deliberation until the evening of Sept. 8.
Founding editor Aja Arnold was able to connect with Social Insights Research founder Zuri Tau, who spearheaded the research which shows that 98% of Atlantans surveyed do not want the police training facility in South Atlanta and that 90% of Atlantans surveyed do not want a new police training facility in Atlanta in general. The two anxiously await for deliberation on the legislation to begin in council as they discuss Tau's methodology, the story the data tells us, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's letter sent to city council members just a couple hours ahead of their vote.
Social Insights Research's Community Survey on Development of Police/Fire Training Facility in Atlanta: https://site-2670551-5163-2537.mystrikingly.com/
Social Insights Research official website: https://www.socinsights.com/
Social Insights Research on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SocialInsights8
Aja on Twitter: https://twitter.com/soundslikeasia
Mainline's latest report, "Official documents show no community members present on training facility advisory council": https://www.mainlinezine.com/police-training-facility-advisory-council/
Our info starter kit for Cop City: https://www.patreon.com/posts/53201136
To support our work, consider becoming a sustaining donor at https://www.patreon.com/mainlinezine
To make a one-time donation, go to https://www.mainlinezine.com/donate
Ep. 47: The People's explainer about #StopCopCity
This episode is a double feature: the debut of The Mainline News Hour on WRFG 89.3 in Atlanta as well as the People's story about the growing #StopCopCity movement in the city. In this special report, founding editor Aja Arnold delivers a brief explainer of Cop City — the City of Atlanta and Atlanta Police Foundation's newly-proposed massive $90 million police training facility — and the land the city wishes to place it on, the Old Atlanta Prison Farm.
The report features recorded audio from last month's People's Town Hall, an event organized by local groups DARC, Atlanta DSA, Community Movement Builders, and Sunrise ATL. The People's Town Hall is the only true public forum event regarding Cop City to date, with no collaboration with any elected officials in city council or City Hall. Of the 13 council members, only two were in attendance.
Over 100 Atlantans gathered to speak their opposition, concerns, and sentiments towards the proposal and the city's governance at-large. Tune in to hear the people's story of #StopCopCity. This episode plays exactly as it aired on WRFG on Fri., Sept. 3.
INDIGENOUS LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT [also discussed in the report]
The City of Atlanta and Atlanta Police Foundation are attempting to build a 150-acre police training facility on 381 acres of forested land that is historically known as the Old Atlanta Prison Farm. The prison farm land is city-owned, but resides in unincorporated DeKalb County. This land was once home to the Muscogee (Creek) indigenous peoples before the land was awarded in a land lottery to a plantation owner who practiced the chattel enslavement of African people.
Aja's recent report about the training facility published in The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2021/08/11/atlanta-police-training-center/
An info starter kit to #StopCopCity via The Mainline: https://www.patreon.com/posts/53201136
A local researcher's metal analysis testing of Intrenchment Creek, the water source in the South River Forest/Old Atlanta Prison Farm: https://twitter.com/lilponitz/status/1425103516390014991
To learn more how you can help in the movement: https://stopcopcity.org
To support our work, become a sustaining member at https://patreon.com/mainlinezine or consider making a one-time donation at https://mainlinezine.com/donate
Your weekly ATL politics briefing, Aug. 20
This week, King, Sylvia, and Aja are back to break down the recent news in Atlanta regarding #StopCopCity, the mayoral race — particularly aspiring candidate Brittney Geter, other candidate updates from Sylvia, a pretty deep F-word section, a new segment called "Explain It To Me Like I'm 5", and more.
Our podcast episode featuring Sylvia, Jess, and Aja entitled "2020, a postmortem," to center the reflections of how vital centering Black, trans, Indigenous voices are while working in transformative justice ... because failing to do so runs the risk of it all falling apart. Bumping this up because of apparent amnesia: https://www.mainlinezine.com/to-the-left-2020-a-postmortem/
To support our work, consider becoming a patron on our newly launched Patreon for as little as $3 or $5/month to unlock an entirely new catalog of news coverage with other cool stuff. https://patreon.com/mainlinezine
Or, consider making a one-time or recurring donation, with nothing in return at https://mainlinezine.com/donate
Follow King Williams via his stacked newsletter via https://iamkingwilliams.substack.com
Follow Sylvia Johnson online at @slyarounddaworld on Instagram and @slyarounddworld on Twitter
Ep. 46: Kamau Franklin / Community Movement Builders
This week, Aja talks with Kamau Franklin of Community Movement Builders in Atlanta about the recent city council vote in which council members voted to table Cop City legislation that would have authorized a ground lease of 381 acres of green space to Atlanta Police Foundation for $10 a year. This means that Cop City was in fact stopped — at least until the vote that is scheduled to take place on Sept. 7. The unexpected turn raises a lot of questions for Atlantans, journalists, and organizers. In this episode, we discuss the vote, how we got here as a city, and what could happen next.
In the intro, Aja takes a much-needed moment of reflection of Mariam Abdulrab. The restaurant community in Atlanta mourns as another tragedy ripples through the city, and we stand in solidarity with those communities as well as survivors of violence.
To support our work, consider becoming a patron on our newly launched Patreon for as little as $3 or $5/month to unlock an entirely new catalog of news coverage with other cool stuff. https://patreon.com/mainlinezine.
Or, consider making a one-time or recurring donation, with nothing in return at https://mainlinezine.com/donate
Follow Aja on Twitter at @soundslikeasia
& Community Movement Builders at @CommunityMvt
"How we got here" highlight reel via Mainline's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mainlinezine/
Aja's article featured in The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2021/08/11/atlanta-police-training-center/
The People's Town Hall recording: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=414307796658247&ref=watch_permalink
It's Going Down feature detailing the history of the Old Atlanta Prison Farm by Atlanta Community Press Collective: https://itsgoingdown.org/slave-labor-overcrowding-and-unmarked-graves-the-buried-history-of-atlanta-city-prison-farm/