(By Barbara Joye and Lorraine Fontana)
MADSA’s latest membership meeting at the Open Door Community (ODC) featured several reports from our members and friends on some of the current activism that we support.
Ed Loring, ODC founder, opened by reading a letter announcing that the ODC will be selling its building by the end of the year, though their services to the homeless will continue to Martin Luther King’s birthday, Jan. 2017. We have greatly benefited from the hospitality and comradeship that Ed and the community have extended to us for years, so this was very sad news.
We next heard from sister Alison Johnson of the Housing Justice League, which is preserving affordable housing and preventing displacement from gentrification in neighborhoods like Peoplestown. MADSA members Tim Franzen, Greg Ames and others helped launch the League, formerly Occupy Our Homes Atlanta. See the spring issue of “Equality” for a related story. (Photo, right: Lorraine Fontana)
Sister Minnie Ruffin presented a packet of information and an expert explanation of the upcoming Opportunity School District (OSD) ballot initiative that we are urging everyone to vote against. It’s a takeover of Atlanta public schools, deceptively worded (Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins).
Sharon Reaze, Executive Director of Atlanta Jobs With Justice, updated us about the work her coalition is doing, for example fighting against pre-emptive legislation happening in many states to take away the ability of local governments to make decisions on many issues (e.g. re raising the minimum wage or protecting trans people in the public restrooms). MADSA is a founding member of the AtlJwJ coalition, which links labor, faith and community organizations. Reaze wants AtlJwJ to “be the river that flows between and connects the silos” of all the different orgs/issues in our movement! Right on!
Cecily McMillan previewed plans in the works for a MADSA-sponsored benefit party Aug. 13 to launch her upcoming book The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan: An American Memoir (Nation Books) and draw attention to prisoners’ rights issues, details TBA. Justin Holsomback, “endorsed Berniecrat,” told us about his progressive campaign to represent State House District 54 (Kennesaw/Marietta).
NEXT MADSA MEETING – 2 pm, June 26 at the Decatur Recreation Center: Our Socialist Dialogue will co-sponsor with the Jacobin Reading Group a report by members attending the June 17-19 People’s Summit in Chicago. The Summit brings together over 40 organizations active in the Bernie campaign to discuss what’s next for our movement and develop a People’s Platform.