This information was written and distributed by STOP COP CITY ATL
ATLANTA — About 300 people gathered at Little 5 Points in remembrance of Tortuguita (tor-too-ghee-tah), the forest defender who was shot and killed by the police on Wednesday, January 18. Organizers are outraged at the police killing of yet another person of color.
People mourned, cried, and supported each other. They reaffirmed their commitment to public safety free of police and Cop City. People sang, played guitar, and then marched in the streets shouting “No justice, no peace” and “Stop Cop City.”
Organizers are receiving an outpouring of support from across the country. There were vigils for Tortuguita in Asheville, Durham, Olympia, Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Savannah, and Portland, with more planned for this evening and this weekend.
People who knew Tortuguita are devastated by the loss. A post on @stopcopcity reads: “They spent their time between Atlanta, defending the forest from destruction and coordinating mutual aid for the movement, and Florida, where they helped build housing in low-income communities, hit hardest by the hurricane. They were a trained medic, a loving partner, a dear friend, a brave soul, and so much more. In Tort’s name, we continue to fight to protect the forest and stop cop city with love, rage, and a commitment to each other’s safety and well-being.”
Tortuguita was a very active part in supporting material needs for the community and people in the forest. In Tallahassee, they were a part of Food Not Bombs, a food distribution organization. In Atlanta, they ran the mutual aid account @browncatmutualaid, which raised thousands of dollars to meet the material needs of people of color and people who were defending the forest. One person reached out saying: “When I was going through some things late last year, this person was always willing to share the posts I made and even made donations periodically. They would reach out asking how I’m doing and if I needed help. I, in turn, would share mutual aid requests for forest defenders.”
A friend of theirs said: “Tortuguita was a very kind person. They were always willing to help and take care of people in need around them, especially the qtbipoc community. They were always attentive to others needs and offer always the best of them. A truly warriors for the forest and the people! I miss them so much.”
A fellow forest defender offered the quote: “Tortuguita showed an incredible amount of passion toward collective struggles for liberation and freedom. This passion was informed by their strong commitment to critical thought and inquiry. During their many months in the Weelaunee Forest, Tort could often be found in deep discussions about radical history, theory, and how we move together in this movement.
Tort was an instant friend to many, and touched countless lives with love and kindness in their tragically short life. Their ideas live on in our actions, and their friendship lives on in our hearts. Rest in power, Tort.”