Atlanta City Councilman Invites Mayor Bottoms and Other Officials To Join In The Atlanta
After several nights of Black Lives Matter protests in 2016, then-Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and APD Chief George Turner met with protesters to hear their demands.
ATLANTA — "No justice, no peace!" Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown chanted Tuesday night after grabbing a bullhorn to address hundreds of protesters near Centennial Olympic Park.
Brown, who represents District 3 on the City Council, joined protesters as they marched several miles across Downtown and Midtown Atlanta in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The councilman called the march the most peaceful march he has ever seen.
As protests continue in Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been visible both in interviews with national news organizations and during press conferences.
During an interview with 11Alive, Brown invited Bottoms to join him at the protests.
"I'm petitioning Mayor Bottoms," Brown said. "Come march with us. Stand with us. I know she cares, she is born in Atlanta. March with us. The people need you right now. They need your presence, they need your leadership and they need to know that you care and not just from a press conference."
Brown continued and extend the same offer to other Georgia elected officials.
"It goes for all our statehouse leadership, that goes for all our house representatives, our senators, our governor. Stand together," Brown said. "This is a non-partisan issue. This is about justice. We all need to stand together in this fight."
While addressing the protesters, Brown asked them to respect the 9 p.m. curfew and to not act violently when leaving. Several protesters left after hearing Brown's request.
"Abide by the 9 p.m. curfew, that way I can work to get the curfew lifted," he said. Brown said he had talked with Bottoms about lifting the curfew in the future.
Scrolling through Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Twitter account, there are several examples of the mayor speaking about the protests in Atlanta and around the country, and addressing the need for social justice reform.
Examples include a recent interview Bottoms did with CNN and a New York Times opinion piece she wrote. In the article, she describes being the person Atlanta's police department reports to, but still fearing for the safety of her black children.
"We know that the larger issue is that so many people of color in this country feel devalued," Bottoms said during another national interview this week with NBC's "TODAY Show" on Tuesday. Bottoms also appeared on "Late Night with Seth" Meyers.
When peaceful protests on Friday unfolded into fires and looting, Atlanta's mayor delivered a passionate speech during a press conference.
"If you care about this city then go home," Bottoms said during the press conference.
The approach is in contrast to her predecessor, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
During the summer of 2016, protesters took to Atlanta's streets and marched in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement. Reed also held press conferences and was interviewed by a variety of news organizations.
After several nights of marches, though, Reed and then Atlanta Police Chief George Turner met with protesters outside of the governor's mansion. The pair agreed to meet with protesters for a meeting at Atlanta's City Hall.
The meeting, which lasted for more than two hours, was held days later behind closed doors. Afterward Reed talked at a press conference alongside two of the protesters.
"I don't believe that meeting and listening is a sign of weakness. I think it is a sign of caring," he said.
The protesters presented Reed a list of 25 demands during the meeting. Reed said he didn't agree with everything the protesters said during the meeting but called it progress. Other protesters refused to take part in a closed-door meeting and instead protested outside city hall.
"We are standing our ground and saying no, we are going to have this meeting out here with or without you," one protester said during the 2016 meeting.
Mayor Bottoms' office was unable to make her available Wednesday for an interview. 11Alive planned to ask Bottoms about the protests in downtown Atlanta and if she plans to meet with protesters in-person.
Meanwhile, on Thursday Brown plans to host a community march at 10:30 a.m., beginning at the King Center, near the intersection of Auburn Avenue and Jackson Street, in honor of George Floyd's funeral service.