Report back from solidarity action in NYC calling for divestment from the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF).
In solidarity with Defend the Atlanta Forest, the WDS-NYC is calling for Banyan Street Capital, the real estate firm that owns 191 Peachtree Towers, to end their lease agreement with the Atlanta Police Foundation (or the APF)*.
During lunch hours on February 24th, there was a temporary occupation in the lobby of 180 Maiden Lane, a skyscraper in Manhattan’s financial district also owned by Banyan Street Capital.
Tents were erected, a speech was given, fliers were distributed to lunch goers, a banner was held until it was snatched and thrown outside by the building’s temperamental security guards. Demonstrators were able to quickly recover it and sneak back inside with it through another entrance. The vibe was lighthearted and jovial; a true feat in such an austere locale that had probably otherwise never known joy.
The lobby of 180 Maiden Lane is a public/private atrium. A glass-encased slab of concrete, layered with astroturf and dotted with sickly looking trees. Perhaps to a Wall Street banker, this is a fine substitute for nature, but for us, it is a symbol of exactly what we are fighting against: the destruction of the environment for the creation of simulated environments. The suffocation of life under the concrete of capital.
This was not the first action targeting Banyan Street Capital in New York City. Earlier in the week, on February 22, there was a demonstration at their office in Manhattan. The Banyan property manager came down to announce that the lease with the APF will be up soon, and that they will look into terminating it.
These actions were part of a national week of solidarity that saw demonstrations and other events take place in over 40 cities across the country.
The struggle for the forest is the struggle for all life, no argument.
From NYC to ATL, we are all forest defenders.
The Atlanta Police Foundation is the organization behind “cop city”, the plan to clear 385 acres of public forest in order to build a $90 million militarized police training facility in Atlanta.