George Floyd Solidarity Update and Financial Roadmap

George Floyd Solidarity Update and Financial Roadmap

July 28, 2020

A Bit About Us

The Atlanta Solidarity Fund finances are managed by a collective which is responsible for administrating the fund, ensuring money is handled responsibly and directed toward the intended purposes. We have worked for the past 4 years to build an infrastructure of support for protest movements. We have developed processes which keep us strictly accountable to our responsibilities, but also allow for flexibility, trust, and quick decision-making in the high-stakes, high-stress situations that are common when activists are being arrested and jailed. Our collective members are known and trusted by many local organizers. If you’d like to get to know us, get in touch!
In this moment, the scale of our responsibilities has grown dramatically. We want to be clear about how our work is supporting the current struggle and in particular the Black radical communities which have pushed this struggle forward. In that spirit, we’re sharing this roadmap to give a clear picture of how we’re managing the funds which are being contributed.

Summary

As of this writing, approximately $1.44M has been donated toward supporting Rayshard Brooks/George Floyd protesters in Atlanta. This is a huge number but the need for support is also huge. Close to a thousand protesters have been arrested so far, and the movement is not slowing down. There are still many unknowns about how much money will be needed in total to ensure that each protester will get the anti-repression support they need. We have a plan to answer those unknowns over time. As we do, we’ll determine whether we need to raise more money or there’s excess. The excess funds, if any, will be redistributed to other projects in line with the spirit of the donations. The redistribution will be determined independently from the Solidarity Fund collective by a council of radical organizers (all BIPOC, majority Black).

Priorities

We have a series of priorities which guide how money is allocated. This is an outline of the priorities and our process for determining a budget cap for each – that is, the maximum amount of money which must be set aside to ensure that each priority can be covered and no protester is left hanging.

Immediate Top Priority

Bail out anybody arrested in the Atlanta metro area in connection with #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protests, or for violating the curfew.

Obstacles to determining a budget cap right now

  • All current protesters are bailed, but it’s not clear whether major protests will flare up again (they have in other cities). This may mean a need for more bail in the immediate future.
  • Police are making arrest sweeps well after the fact based on investigations or simply targeting perceived leaders. These protesters usually are given very high bail amounts.

Roadmap for determining budget cap

  • We will check in weekly to consider capping the funds allocated for bailing protesters at future protests, based on observing current protest activity.
  • We will check in monthly to consider capping the funds allocated for after-the-fact sweeps, based on the current pace and intensity of arrests.

Long-Term Top Priority

Pay legal and defense-related costs for anybody arrested in the Atlanta metro area in connection with #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protests, or for violating the curfew.

Obstacles to determining a budget cap right now

  • Hundreds of protesters have been arrested, but most have not yet been assigned lawyers.
  • While the legal team is doing great, it’s not yet clear how much pro-bono capacity they will have to handle all cases.
  • Arrests for serious charges continue to emerge, which will each require significant legal resources.

Roadmap for determining budget cap

  • We will check in monthly to consider capping the funds allocated for legal costs, based on the number of current cases, the legal team’s current capacity, and the pace of new emerging cases.

Immediate Second Priority

Help make bail for protesters arrested elsewhere in the southeast US in connection with #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protests.

Obstacles to determining a budget cap right now:

  • Similar to our top priority, protests are still developing and may flare up
  • The legwork involved in contacting other areas and networks to discover their needs hasn’t been finished

Roadmap for determining budget cap

  • We will check in weekly to review needs of other arrested protesters in the SE, and the needs of other bail funds. Once we have a clear picture of the needs, we will cap the funds allocated to this priority accordingly.

 

Long-Term Second Priority

Pay other costs incurred by anybody arrested in the Atlanta metro area in connection with #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protests, or for violating the curfew. e.g. Probation fees, costs to get to court, court-ordered classes, impound fees etc

Obstacles to determining a budget cap right now

  • There are hundreds of arrested protesters, and we’re still gathering information from all of them to determine the costs they have incurred (and will likely incur going forward).

Roadmap for determining budget cap

  • The jail support team will continue to reach out to arrestees through all available channels, to have them fill out post-arrest support forms.
  • We will survey arrestees during their initial court dates (expected to be in September) to get a final measure of what costs will need to be reimbursed, and set a cap based on those reports.

Handling Excess

Once caps have been settled to at least realistic estimates, we’ll compare that to the current donated funds. If we’re falling short of the caps, we’ll make a push for further fundraisers and donations. On the other hand, if our budget caps come in under $1.44M, we will arrange to redistribute the remaining donations.
While we are prepared to speak authoritatively on the allocation of funds for anti-repression, our collective doesn’t feel qualified to decide how funds should best be redistributed to the broader movements against anti-Black violence, the police and the prison-industrial complex. Therefore we’ve asked a number of BIPOC organizers with strong ties to social movements to take on this task. This independent council will decide where the funds should be allocated.
Council Members
  • Dawn O’Neal, founding member of Black Lives Matter Atlanta, member of ATL Radical Art Community, organizer with Rise Up, Fight for $15 and Us Protecting Us.
  • Haroun Shahid Wakil, founder of Street Groomers and long-time community organizer
  • Kamau Franklin, founder of the grassroots organization Community Movement Builders, and co-host of the podcast Renegade Culture
  • Miliaku Nwabueze, queer black activist who was the vessel for Twice As Good, Inc., an organization attempting to help build a queer economy
  • Two organizers who prefer not to be named publicly

Future Plans

We have long-term plans for expanding and strengthening the Atlanta Solidarity Fund and the capacity of our related anti-repression projects like jail support and prisoner support.
For example:
  • Law school scholarships for movement lawyers-in-training
  • Development of software tools to support jail support efforts in Atlanta and worldwide
  • Impact litigation to defend and uphold the rights of protesters
  • Trainings and resources to expand jail support and prisoner support know-how
In addition to #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd donations, we’re continuing to receive a tremendous amount of contributions to our general fund to support our ongoing efforts. We hope this will allow us to make these and other initiatives a reality. This is not the last time Atlanta will see heavy repression of protesters, and next time we intend to be prepared with even more resources, care, and solidarity. The struggle continues, thank you for contributing!