Atlantans turn out to support ‘Je suis Charlie’ freedoms of expression

By Maria Saporta

An estimated 2,000 Atlantans turned out for a “silent walk” Sunday afternoon as part of the “Je suis Charlie” global demonstration of sympathy for the massacre of more than a dozen Parisians on Jan. 7.

The killing including 10 journalists who worked at Charlie Hebdo, a weekly newspaper outside Paris, which had run editorial cartoons that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. The newspaper, which was known to caricaturize people of all faiths and political leanings, knew it was a potential target of Islamic extremists and terrorists.

Je Suis Charlie

“Je suis Charlie” slogan has gone viral

In Paris, more than three million people turned out on Sunday – filling the streets of the French capital – joined by leaders from around the world – expressing support for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Although the numbers were smaller, the sentiments among those taking part in the Atlanta walk were similarly passionate.

The walk began at 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue – weaving along the path inside Piedmont Park encircling the Upper Oval beside the historic Bathhouse and the tennis courts before heading up to the 14th Street entrance going west towards Colony Square to mezzanine offices shared by the Alliance Francaise and the Goethe German Cultural Center.

People on the walk, while not completely silently, were subdued. The crowd was multi-national and multi-cultural with a decidedly strong French flavor combined with a strong showing of journalists.

It was a coming together of a cosmopolitan and compassionate Atlanta.

Many chose to let hand-made signs speak for themselves. Here are some images of the walk as well as some of the ways that some of the people expressed themselves.

Je suis Charlie Piedmont Park

“Je suis Charlie” walk takes off at Piedmont Park (Photos by Maria Saporta)

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie” walk through Piedmont Park

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

“Je suis Charlie”

"Je suis Charlie"

An overflowing “Je suis Charlie” crowd gathers in the auditorium of the Alliance Francaise and Goethe for a few comments of condolences and a minute of silence

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.