Voices from within ‘Stop Cop City’ movement discuss messaging and next steps

Opponents to Public Safety Training Center clash with police near "Cop City" construction site on Nov. 14, 2023. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

It’s been almost ten months since police shot and killed environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán near the proposed site for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center — and their mother, Beliks Terán, is working to keep their legacy alive.

On Tuesday’s edition of “Closer Look,” Beliks reflected on Manuel’s life, legacy and love for community during a routable discussion. She told show host Rose Scott that the movement will continue.

During the discussion, Beliks was joined by Jamie Peck, a spokesperson for Block Cop City, Dr. Jacqueline Echols, board president of South River Watershed Alliance, and Rev. Keyanna Jones, an Atlanta-based minister and an organizer with Community Movement Builders, echoed Beliks’s sentiment.

The guests discussed why they oppose the building of the $90 million facility, the overlap between civil rights, racism and environmental justice, and their organization’s individual efforts to stop the construction of the training center.

The conversation came just one day after hundreds of people protested near the proposed site and more than one month after Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George R. Christian announced that Manuel’s shooting death was “objectively reasonable” and no charges would be filed against the Georgia State Police troopers involved in the shooting.

Authorities say Teran fired the first shot. Teran’s family disputes those claims following an independent autopsy.