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Black LGBTQ lawmaker arrested, dragged from Georgia State Capitol

I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression. I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true

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State troopers arrested Rep. Park Cannon inside the State Capitol on Thursday.
(Images courtesy video from Hannah Joy Gebresilassie)

By Matt Hennie | ATLANTA – Georgia state troopers arrested and forcibly removed state Rep. Park Cannon from the Gold Dome Thursday as she interrupted Gov. Brian Kemp during the signing of a massive elections bill that critics derided as an effort to disenfranchise voters.

Cannon faces two felony charges – willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence and preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members – third offense. Troopers transported Cannon to the Fulton County Jail after she was arrested. 

A crowd of supporters chanted “Free Park Cannon” outside the jail and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock visited Cannon before she was released on a signature bond. LGBTQ attorney and Democratic activist Dennis Collard launched a legal defense fund for Cannon. By Friday morning, the effort raised $4,230 of its $5,000 goal.

Cannon’s arrest – her second confrontation with troopers during the legislative session this year – sparked outrage among supporters and overshadowed a victory lap by Kemp and Republicans who engineered the elections legislation. Kemp signed Senate Bill 202l into law Thursday shortly after lawmakers approved it on party-line votes.

Early Friday, Cannon – an Atlanta Democrat – thanked supporters. 

“Hey everyone, thank you for your support. I’ve been released from jail. I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression. I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true,” Cannon said in a tweet.

“But someday soon that last person will step out of jail for the last time and breathe a first breath knowing that no one will be jailed again for fighting for the right to vote,” she added.

The arrest unfolded about 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, according to arrest warrants obtained by the AJC. Cannon was arrested after “knowingly and intentionally” knocking on the door to the governor’s office as Kemp signed the bill, according to an affidavit by Capitol police Officer E. Dorval.

Video of the incident shows Cannon approach a door to Kemp’s office suite, which was blocked by a state trooper. Cannon and the trooper exchange words that are inaudible on the video. Cannon then knocks. Two troopers grab Cannon, pull her arms behind her back and handcuff her. Cannon, a Black woman, was then taken away from the door and escorted – sometimes dragged – to an elevator and then outside the State Capitol by several white male troopers as supporters questioned her arrest. 

A video of the incident has been viewed more than 2.2 million times on Twitter.

Outside the State Capitol, Cannon was forcibly placed into a Capitol police cruiser while questioning troopers. A video shows at least six surrounding her. A single Black female Capitol police officer is standing nearby.

“Tell me where I am going and why I am being arrested,” Cannon asks.

Troopers attempt to push Cannon inside the police cruiser.

“Do not push my stomach,” Cannon says.

“Ma’am, get in the car,” a trooper responds.

“My arms hurt terribly. I do not understand why I am being arrested,” Cannon says.

The arrest warrants allege that Cannon assaulted one of the troopers arresting her. 

Cannon was “stomping on Lt. Langford foot three times during the apprehension and as she was being escorted out of the property,” according to the affidavit. The lawmaker “continued on kicking Lt. Langford with her heels.”

The portions of Cannon’s arrest captured on video do not show her stepping on the feet of law enforcement officers. 

State troopers forcibly put state Rep. Park Cannon into a police cruiser outside the State Capitol. (Image via video courtesy state Rep. Renitta Shannon)

Supporters denounce Cannon’s arrest

LGBTQ colleagues at the State Capitol – Cannon is one of seven queer state lawmakers – criticized the arrest. 

“Today [Park Cannon] was arrested for only doing her job,” state Rep. Renitta Shannon said in a tweet. “We are at the jail awaiting her release.”

Shannon, a Decatur Democrat. said the bill is “voter suppression on steroids” and accused supporters of the legislation of targeting Black voters.

State Rep. Matthew Wilson, a Brookhaven Democrat, called Cannon’s arrest “beyond unacceptable.”

“The arrest of my friend and colleague, Rep. Park Cannon, at the Capitol last night was beyond unacceptable,” Wilson tweeted.

Outside the jail late Thursday, Warnock denounced the arrest and the elections bill as “a very sad day for the State of Georgia.”

“What we have witnessed today is a desperate attempt to lockout and squeeze the people out of their own democracy. And in this effort, in this case, they are literally being locked down,” Warnock said. 

“She is an outstanding public servant. We are praying for her. We are praying for her family. We are praying also for Georgia and the soul of our democracy.”

Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, is Cannon’s pastor. Cannon was among a lengthy list of LGBTQ elected officials and advocates that supported his election to the U.S. Senate in January.

Stacey Abrams, a former state lawmaker who founded a coalition of organizations fighting for voting rights, called Cannon’s arrest a reminder of Georgia’s “dark past.”

“From passage of the SB202 voter suppression bill targeted at Black and brown voters to the arrest of a Black legislator who was advocating for the voting rights of her constituents, today was a reminder of Georgia’s dark past. We must fight for the future of our democracy,” Abrams said in a tweet.

Several voting organizations – including the New Georgia Project founded by Abrams – filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday to block the bill.

Kemp signed the bill Thursday less than an hour after lawmakers passed it. Cannon’s arrest interrupted Kemp as he delivered remarks during a live-streamed event that was closed to the public.

“I was proud to sign S.B. 202 to ensure elections in Georgia are secure, fair, and accessible. I appreciate the hard work of members of the General Assembly to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Kemp said in a tweet.

The bill adds new ID requirements for absentee ballots, limits ballot drop boxes, bans handing out food and water to voters, limits early voting and allows the State Elections Board to replace county panels that run elections. The measure also expands weekend voting before general elections.

The preceding article was published by Project Q Atlanta and is republished here by permission.

Matt Hennie is an Atlanta based journalist, entrepreneur, dog dad and founder of East Point Local and @ProjectQAtlanta.

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Community Services - PSA

LA County Parks after Dark program celebrates 50th anniversary of Title IX

Parks & Rec offers sport opportunities for girls in flag football, soccer, softball, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading and volleyball

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – On Thursday, June 23, 2022, 34 participating Parks After Dark (PAD) parks will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Title IX with a highly anticipated girls’ sports clinic and showcase starting at 6:00 p.m.

More than 1,800 girls, ages 5 to 18 will have the opportunity to learn skills and techniques from various sports such as soccer, lacrosse, softball, basketball and cheerleading. Sports will vary at each park.

In 1972, Title IX, the civil rights legislation that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other college sports was passed into law to provide equal opportunity, scholarships and participation for girls in sports. In 2022, the department of Parks and Recreation is striving to offer girls sports County-wide to support the vision of Title IX and aiming for gender equity across all sports programs.

“The department’s goal is to provide a safe space dedicated for girls to play, increase opportunities for women coaches and administrators and to provide a positive experience while participating in sports,” says Regina Bradley, LA County Parks and Recreation Sports Manager.

The department currently offers sport opportunities for girls in flag football, soccer, softball, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading and volleyball.

Parks After Dark is an award-winning program designed to bring communities together by filling park spaces with family-centered activities that transform local parks into summer safe havens. This summer’s program lineup will feature an array of girls’ sports programs to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which paved the way to gender equity for girl’s participation in sports.

The L.A. County Parks after Dark program is possible thanks to the generosity of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors – First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Second District Supervisor and Board Chair Holly J. Mitchell, Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn and Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger – L.A. County Chief Executive Office, L.A. County Department of Public Social Services, L.A. County Probation Department and many community-based organizations throughout L.A. County.

“Now more than ever, L.A. County families need park spaces to heal from the trauma brought on by COVID-19 combined with the financial stress many people are facing,” L.A. County Parks Executive Director Norma Edith García-González said. “Parks after Dark eliminates barriers to recreational opportunities and introduces families to no cost enriching experiences that promote mental and physical health through fun and games.”

Parks After Dark, launched in 2010, has proven to be a successful prevention and intervention program that provides multiple benefits to vulnerable communities,decreasing violence and crime, and increasing social cohesion and community well-being. In 2018, Parks After Dark was recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association, which presented L.A. County Parks and Recreation with its Best in Innovation award.

For more information on Parks After Dark, visit https://parks.lacounty.gov/PAD.

All PAD parks will host programs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00-10:00PM between June 16th and August 6th:

Jackie Robinson Park – 8773 E. Avenue R, Littlerock

Stephen Sorenson Park – 16801 E. Avenue P, Lake Los Angeles

George Lane Park – 5520 W. Ave L-8, Quartz Hill

Val Verde Community Regional Park – 30300 W. Arlington Rd., Val Verde

El Cariso Community Regional Park – 13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar

Loma Alta Park – 3330 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena

Pamela County Park – 2236 Goodall Ave., Duarte

Valleydale Park – 5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave., Azusa

Charter Oak Park – 20261 E. Covina Blvd., Covina

San Angelo Park – 245 S. San Angelo Ave., La Puente

Bassett Park – 510 N. Vineland Ave., La Puente

Allen J. Martin Park – 14830 E. Giordano St., La Puente

Rimgrove Park – 747 N. Rimgrove Dr., La Puente

William Steinmetz Park – 1545 S, Stimson Ave., Hacienda Heights

Amigo Park – 5700 S. Juarez Ave., Whittier

Sorenson Park – 11419 Rose Hedge Dr., Whittier

Adventure Park – 10130 S. Gunn Ave., Whittier

Amelia Mayberry Park – 13201 E. Meyer Rd., Whittier

City Terrace Park – 1126 N. Hazard Ave., East Los Angeles

Eugene A. Obregon Park – 4021 E. First St., Los Angeles

Belvedere Community Regional Park – 4914 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles

Ruben Salazar Park – 3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles

Saybrook Park – 6250 E. Northside Dr., East Los Angeles

East Rancho Dominguez Park – 15116 S. Atlantic Ave., Compton

Mona Park – 2291 E. 121st St., Compton

Athens Park – 12603 S. Broadway, Los Angeles

Mary M. Bethune Park – 1244 E. 61st St., Los Angeles

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park – 905 E. El Segundo Blvd, Los Angeles

Helen Keller Park – 12521 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles

Jesse Owens Community Regional Park – 9651 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles

Franklin D. Roosevelt Park – 7600 Graham Ave., Los Angeles

Ted Watkins Memorial Park – 1335 E. 103rd St., Los Angeles

Col. Leon H. Washington Park – 8908 S. Maie Ave., Los Angeles

George Washington Carver Park – 1400 E. 118th St., Los Angeles

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Community Services - PSA

LA County Parks & Rec invites folks to Juneteenth at Jackie Robinson Park

FREE Performances, Guest Speaker Series, Games, Art Displays, Car Exhibits and So Much More this Saturday!

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – It’s Park Time L.A. County! LA County Parks and Recreation invites you to our Juneteenth celebration, on Saturday, June 18th from 10am to 10pm at Jackie Robinson Park (8773 E Avenue R Sun Village).

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States; specifically, when former slaves were finally freed in Galveston, Texas, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Though long celebrated within the Black community, Juneteenth was formally made a federal holiday on June 17th, 2021.

The L.A. County Juneteenth Celebrations are possible thanks to the generosity of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors – First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Second District Supervisor and Board Chair Holly J. Mitchell, Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger – and many community-based organizations throughout L.A. County.

Juneteenth at Jackie Robinson is hosted in partnership with local community organizations. This year’s activities include musical performances, speaker’s series, wellness activities, resource fairs, artist experiences, hands-on children’s activities, video game trucks and so much more.

For more information on Juneteenth celebrations, contact Delmy Villegas-Delgado, Recreation Manager at (626) 369-5141 or at [email protected]

Juneteenth at Jackie Robison is a FREE events with no registration required. Food available onsite at cost by local businesses and vendors.

Please join us at the following parks and celebrate Juneteenth with us this Saturday:

Jackie Robinson Park – 8773 E Avenue R Sun Village from 10 am to 10 pm

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Community Services - PSA

Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation launches summer aquatics

Summer aquatics registration opens up Saturday, June 18 and programs start Monday, June 20, 2022- visit parks.lacounty.gov/aquatics

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – It’s Park Time L.A.! Beat the heat, get fit or learn to swim at L.A. County seasonal and year-round pools. There’s something for everyone including lap swim, novice teams, aqua aerobics too! Free Every Body Swims and other summer aquatics programs run from June 20 to August 20.

Register at reservations.lacounty.gov starting June 18. 

L.A. County’s five year-round pools operate Monday through Saturday from 6 am to 7 pm. The County’s twenty-three seasonal pools operate on two rotating schedules from 11 am to 7 pm. Pools on schedule 1 operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday and pools on schedule 2 operate Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

For more information on swim programs, visit parks.lacounty.gov/aquatics.

L.A. County’s Summer Aquatics programs are possible thanks to the generous support of the L.A. County Board of Supervisor First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis for her support in funding programming at Belvedere Pool, as well as the American Red Cross and LA84 Foundation for supporting scholarships. Visit your local pool to learn about more information on scholarships. 

Looking for more places to cool off in the evening? Attend evening swim at one of our 18 Parks After Dark (PAD) locations from 6 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Find a PAD swim site by visiting parks.lacounty.gov/pad.   

L.A. County also has 18 splash pads to cool off in that operate from 10 am to 7 pm Monday through Sunday through September 30.

To find a splash pad near you, visit parks.lacounty.gov/aquatics

For more information on L.A. County’s aquatics programs, contact:

 [email protected]

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