ATLisReady organizer Seyoum Bey (left) chants alongside another activist at a town hall Monday, July 18. The town hall came after activists were disappointed with the outcome of the meeting with Mayor Kasim Reed.
Photo: Sierra Hubbard / AJC
Photo: Sierra Hubbard / AJC

Town hall: Activists will ‘continue to cause civil disobedience’

Organizers of the ATLisReady movement held a town hall Monday evening on the steps of Atlanta City Hall.

The leaders of the town hall were three of the four people who met with Mayor Kasim Reed in a van last week after protests reached the governor’s mansion.

“We don’t consider ourselves an organization. It’s more of a movement,” said Taiza Troutman, one of the event leaders.

She is a graduate student at Georgia State University and lives on the west side of Atlanta.

“We exist to amplify the work that is already existing in Atlanta and connect people to this grassroots movement,” Troutman said of ATLisReady.

Before the event really began, an officer stopped by to explain that peaceful protesting is fine but that those who stayed in the streets would be arrested. Besides his visit, though, there was hardly any visible police presence in the area.

Seyoum Bey, another leader with the movement who was in the van with the others last week, explained to the crowd the four demands presented to Reed. During the Monday morning meeting between activists and Mayor Reed, Bey said that “essentially Kasim Reed denied our demands.”

“We’re going to continue to cause civil disobedience throughout the city of Atlanta,” Bey said.

ATLisReady has also posted their demands on Twitter.

Other speakers stepped forward to discuss the importance of voting, encourage activists to join the Black Lives Matter movement and give testimonials of their own experience with struggle.

Jill Cartwright, a student at Spelman College, has only been in Atlanta for two years.

“Mayor Kasim is afraid of the people and the truth that we have to bring,” she said.

She spoke to the crowd about the importance of growing the cause beyond the city limits.

“This movement will not sustain itself unless it is a national movement,” Cartwright said.

Another attendee spoke and agreed with Cartwright, but wanted to take it one step further.

“This should be a global movement,” said Joe Beasley. “We’ve got to find ways, especially with this media we have, to link the struggle.”

Beasley turns 80 years old in December and told stories of his travels to countries like Brazil and South Africa.

“We’ve been in this struggle a long time,” he said, “and unless we get it right we’re going to miss the point.”

He told the crowd he supported their efforts and their movement, and he explained how he could prove it.

“I’m making sure the bond money will be ready to get you out of jail,” Beasley said.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.