Concerned Citizens for Justice (CCJ) was originally founded in August of 1984 by Maxine Cousin, Annie Thomas, and Ms. Thomas’ two daughters, Lisa and Lydia. The organization was founded in the wake of the Wadie Suttles Case to address, publicize and protest against police brutality.
CCJ became known in the city, state and nation by organizing demonstrations and protests to end police brutality and was influential in creating the Ad Hoc Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality. This important coalition joined together likeminded southern organizations who were active in the struggle against the Ku Klux Klan and police violence within their communities. In 1987, this Coalition filed a class action lawsuit detailing federal voting rights violations in the city of Chattanooga. This lawsuit resulted in the election of a new nine-member Chattanooga City Council, adding four new Black elected officials to the city government, and the hiring of the first Black police chief in the city of Chattanooga.
In 2012, the tragic murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin sparked the flame for social justice in a new generation of young people in Chattanooga. Building on the legacy of CCJ, we have joined together in the struggle:
* for racial justice
* to end police brutality
* to educate ourselves and each other about social injustices in our city
* to create awareness and implement meaningful solutions
* to address gang violence in our city through the elimination of root causes of violence–not through the mass incarceration of our youth.
We have come together to build on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement Veterans of CCJ who came before us. Using their experience, counsel and participation, we will promote and create a city which prioritizes social justice for all people. Join us in making Chattanooga the best city it can be!