Updated 12:09 p.m.: Jaira Burke, who represents Fight for $15, came out to support her fellow protestors today. she said her organization recognizes the nature of poverty, low minimum wage and policing Black and brown communities.
“When people are working 3 to 4 jobs they can’t come out here and advocate for themselves,” she said.
Working with Mayor Reed is a good thing, she said, despite disappointment with today’s meeting because Reed can help raise the minimum wage for city workers to $15 an hour.
11:23 a.m.: Aurelia William was also one of the protestors in the meeting today and last Monday. She’s an 18 year old political science major at Georgia State.
She said before the meeting, “I was very excited to present our demands. We’re not terrorists or kids without a cause.” She says they had well thought out, specific policies issues they wanted to address.
She also mentioned their request for a public forum on the steps: “we want to move into a new era of transparency. If closed doors meetings worked, Atlanta wouldn’t be where it is now. The meeting was a ceremonial show to get the protesters to shut up.”
10:29 a.m.: Protesters, arguing that Reed is not meeting with the leaders of the movement in the closed door session, tried to storm the meeting.
“The four people that he met with are not in there, said Khalid Kamau.”you need to meet with the people you said you would. Not suits and Usher.”
In fact, while the meeting was going on Usher tried to come out to calm the crowd. Where he was shouted down.
A member of Reed’s security detail came out and escorted the four members.
The remainder of the protesters remained in the lower lobby singing.
Tatiana Robertson, a community activist who says she was in the meeting with Reed said Reed called this a “conversational meeting, not a solutions meeting.” The protesters downstairs aren’t happy. She followed up by saying Reed offered to host as many meetings as necessary until they actually do find a solution.
Protesters from Black Lives Matter are meeting right now with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Police Chief of Police George Turner.
The meeting is discuss the tense relationship with the black community and police.
Atlanta and the rest of the nation saw day after day of protests after police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. Even after five Dallas lawmen were killed by a black man, the protests did not abate. After Atlanta protesters took their campaign through Buckhead last week, Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner met with them and agreed to today’s meeting.
- Laura Thompson contributed to this report