In episode 2: the Hot Seat, we hear from Jacqueline Echols about what’s happening in Atlanta where the South River Forest - one of the four “city lungs” - is under attack. Advocates and residents are rallying against a massive police training facility set for development on nearly 85 acres of beloved green space. Dr. Echols is an environmental justice advocate for 25 years and board president of the South River Watershed Alliance, an organization working to protect the river and adjacent forest ecosystem. Her more than two decades of work to improve water quality in Atlanta’s waterways and protect the city’s tree canopy earned her the 2017 Environmental Hero Award.
The forest in Southeast Atlanta is home to wetlands that filter rainwater, prevent flooding, and help the city stay resilient in the face of climate change. As Jacqueline impassionately shares, the proposed $90 million dollar training facility dubbed “Cop City” has sparked outrage from community members, where local officials are offering a red carpet layout under the pretext of preventing crime. The closest neighborhood to the forest is 77 percent Black and still reeling from ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Its residents will feel the immediate impacts of police presence and the loss of park space for generations to come.
Discussion Questions for S1 E2 “If you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu”