Mayor Reed,

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and religion for all Americans, regardless of belief, and you have publicly advocated for making Atlanta “a more welcoming city for all of her citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, and religious beliefs.” In light of this, your decision to terminate Atlanta's distinguished Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran — a public servant with more than three decades of experience who has served President Obama as U.S. Fire Administrator and was unanimously confirmed as Atlanta’s fire chief —constitutes the absolute height of hypocrisy. 

Chief Cochran, exercising his legally protected rights, expressed his religious convictions in his recent book. He even cleared its contents with your own Ethics Office Director. Despite this, you chose to fire him simply because you disagree with his religious beliefs. This action is not only un-American, it constitutes intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination.

We live in a rich, diverse society. A society with differing viewpoints and beliefs, a society of open discourse in which tolerance and inclusion makes it possible for us to disagree with respect. We also live in a society that values equality, including the notion that everyone has the right to publicly express deeply held beliefs without fear of persecution or reprisal. People of faith – who are a significant part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity – share the same fundamental rights as all other groups.

Chief Cochran and the citizens of Atlanta should all have the right to equal application of equal protections under the law. If one group is protected for its beliefs, all groups must be protected.

By signing this petition, I join my fellow citizens in a united call for tolerance, fairness, and equality for all.

I am asking you to: 

  1. Immediately reinstate Chief Cochran.
  2. Apologize for your unjust actions against Chief Cochran.  
  3. Ensure that no person of faith in Atlanta will be singled out by your administration simply due to the expression of their religious convictions.


As we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, a holiday honoring an Atlanta native who bravely stood for equality and civil rights, I call on you to respect and honor his legacy. As Dr. King famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

Who's signing

Matt Collett
Chad Wysocki
William Mason
Jeanine Johnson
Bob Cusick
Vandail Verner
Chris Morris
Kandy Hernandez
Fernando Ramos
Kara Wallis
Jeremy Cordova
Amy Gerald
Kim Haywood
GOAL: 10,000 signatures

Will you sign?

Showing 442 reactions

  • Andrea Acosta
  • Robert/Sherry Hedgecock
    Did that hinder his job duties?
  • Allen Falk
  • Sign our petition to have @KasimReed extend equal protection to ALL, even Christians! #ExtinguishIntolerance
  • Matt Collett
  • David Waggoner
    We have freedom of speech protected by our constitution. It is, or at least should be, a crime to take action against someone who expresses their religious beliefs in a book or any other form of expression.
  • Chad Wysocki
  • William Mason
  • Jeanine Johnson
  • Bob Cusick
  • Frank Marquez
    HYPOCROSY! The “tolerant” once again display least amount of tolerance.
  • Vandail Verner
  • Renzo Forti
  • Chris Morris
    Stop with the intolerance and practice what you preach, or is that not what you are actually trying to accomplish. Do you just want to silence Christian speech? I think we all know the answer to that!
  • Lisa Fields
  • Kandy Hernandez
  • Fernando Ramos
  • synthia speers
  • Douglas Donaldson
  • Sign our petition to have @KasimReed extend equal protection to ALL, even Christians! #ExtinguishIntolerance
  • Cindy Davis
    With all the danger our firefighters experience you would think they would want a man of faith over them. Especially a Fire Chief. Someone who makes sound judgements every day to make their city safe. Not only for the firefighters but also for the citizens of that community. This man deserves his job back with an apology. It it such a grave injustice to fire him. Shame on you Atlanta.
  • Robert Anthony
  • Kara Wallis
  • Jeremy Cordova
  • Joe Ware
  • Amy Gerald
    No person should ever be fired or discriminated against expressing their beliefs. This is going against his first amendment right for free speech. You say you are tolerant, but now a hypocrite for firing him for expressing beliefs that are different than yours. Reinstate the Chief immediately.
  • Robert Uzmack
    As a Christian I absolutely protest against anyone who discriminates against those who profess Christ in their lives.
  • Kim Haywood
  • Brenda Vaughan
  • Darlene Littleton