AUC Students Continue Protests for Johnny Hollman

Image via Elise Sampson


By: Bradley Morrison, Staff Writer


On Sept 7, members of the Atlanta University Center’s (AUC) led another protest and marched for the death of 62-year-old Johnny Hollman who died after a violent encounter with the Atlanta Police Department (APD). Students from the Action & Awareness Committee gathered together to start a second protest at the Clark Atlanta University (CAU) promenade. 


On Aug. 25, The Maroon Tiger covered the first protest from the APD headquarters and marched to City Hall. Click here for the full story. 


By the time AUC students, members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and relatives of Hollman arrived, CAU police had already surrounded the protestors at the front gate.


One of the leaders of the protest, Daxton Pettus, discussed with the police the group’s intentions of a nonviolent, safe protest. Soon after, the group began marching from the front of the Clark Atlanta promenade to the CNN Center. During the march, the crowd began singing “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn You Around.” 


Pettus could be heard yelling the names of other Black people who were victims of police brutality such as Jimmy Atchinson and Kevin Davis.


“The power is in the young people, you all know in your spirit what is right and what is wrong,” Mawuli Davis said. “The youth are the movement, the youth are the right now.”


Davis, a professor at Clark Atlanta, is also the lawyer for the Hollman family. He spoke about the history of social justice in the AUC, harkening back to the Atlanta Student Movement. 


“It started in 1960, students from ITC, Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, Spelman and Morris Brown came together,” Davis said. “You all know this system does not value us. We need you all to come and bring your energy and creativity.”


Myteka Burdett, one of Hollman’s five children, marched alongside her siblings to the CNN Center. Chanting alongside the crowd, she spoke to The Maroon Tiger about the youth’s involvement:


“It’s important to be here because we need our youth and community for our dad. We are seeking Justice for him,” Burdett said. “We need the youth and young people involved so that we can start a trend for others who have lost their lives unjustly.”


Once the group arrived at the CNN Center, Pettus gave an opportunity for anyone in the crowd to speak. One person came and sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” while others passionately discussed the continued injustice towards Black lives.


The Hollman family hopes the footage of the incident will be released in the near future. Davis and Pettus want all of the AUC to come out and support the family of Hollman.


“We plan to continue working on ending police violence or oppression with the hopes of creating a better community, creating discussions on how we can support one another and protect the community around us,” Davis said. 


Since the community’s fight against Cop City, the AUC Action & Awareness committee continues to address the racial injustice in the city that for many is their new-found home. 


“The system produces the same result,” he said. “Regardless of whatever status or privilege you have, it can happen to you.”


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