From 350.org: Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson

admin : August 21, 2014 3:07 pm : allposts, Featured News

Reposted from 350.org

By Deirdre Smith, 350.org Strategic Partnership Coordinator

It was not hard for me to make the connection between the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri, and the catalyst for my work to stop the climate crisis.

It’s all over the news: images of police in military gear pointing war zone weapons at unarmed black people with their hands in the air. These scenes made my heart race in an all-to-familiar way. I was devastated for Mike Brown, his family and the people of Ferguson. Almost immediately, I closed my eyes and remembered the same fear for my own family that pangs many times over a given year.

Scene from post Katrina New Orleans

Scene from post Katrina New Orleans

In the wake of the climate disaster that was Hurricane Katrina almost ten years ago, I saw the same images of police, pointing war-zone weapons at unarmed black people with their hands in the air. In the name of “restoring order,” my family and their community were demonized as “looters” and “dangerous.” When crisis hits, the underlying racism in our society comes to the surface in very clear ways. Climate change is bringing nothing if not clarity to the persistent and overlapping crises of our time.

Scene from Ferguson, MO

Scene from Ferguson, MO

I was outraged by Mike Brown’s murder, and at the same time wondered why people were so surprised; this is sadly a common experience of black life in America. In 2012, an unarmed black man was killed by authorities every 28 hours (when divided evenly across the year), and it has increased since then. I think about my brother, my nephew, and my brothers and sisters who will continue to have to fight for respect and empathy, and may lose their homes or even their lives at the hands of injustice.

Can y

Can you tell whether this is from New Orleans or Ferguson?

 

To me, the connection between militarized state violence, racism, and climate change was common-sense and intuitive.

Quickly understanding interdependence and connectedness here, and often elsewhere is, in part, the result of my experience of growing up black in America, and growing up in New Mexico, a place ravaged by climate impacts. New Mexico is, as Oscar Olivera noted, showing the early signs of what sparked theCochabamba Water Wars, yet another example of how oppression and extreme weather combine to “incite” militarized violence.

The problems of Cochabamba and Katrina are not just about the hurricane or the drought – it’s what happened after. It is the institutional neglect of vulnerable communities in crisis, the criminalization of our people met with state violence, the ongoing displacement of New Orleans’ black residents through the demolition of affordable housing for high-rise condos — that all adds up to corporations exploiting our tragedy using the tools of racism, division, and dehumanization. (Naomi Klein calls it the Shock Doctrine.) And it’s also about what happened before too: how black and brown communities have coal refineries, tar sands, and gas wells in their back yards to extract fossil fuels in the first place.

These divisions imposed on us prevent us from building the movement we need to create a new future for ourselves, a future where we have clean energy that doesn’t kill us, and creates jobs that provide dignity and a living. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, black and brown people were seen as “disposable,” and the powers-that-be sought to divide us by once again painting the victims and heroes as villains.

How would you be portayed if unarmed and killed by police?

How would you be portayed if unarmed and killed by police?

The hashtag #iftheygunnedmedown trended during the past week in reaction to the media’s portrayal of Mike Brown and countless other victims. Black folks asked: if I was killed by police, how would I be portrayed? It illustrated how a racist and victim-blaming cultural narrative is central to how the media responds to the victimization of a vulnerable community in crisis.

A discourse that dehumanizes and blames the victims makes black and brown communities even more vulnerable than they already are in the wake of climate disasters. If extreme weather is about droughts, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires, the way people get treated in the wake of disaster is about power.

Demonization and the illusion of the “other” allows mainstream US to feel unaffected and disconnected to the employment of unacceptable and institutionally supported militarized violence. If we hope to build anything together and employ our combined power we must deny that anyone is an “other” – denying this pervasive cultural norm isn’t easy but it’s a central challenge we face.

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CJA Statement on Call to Action Against Police Killings

admin : August 21, 2014 3:04 pm : allposts, Featured News

The Climate Justice Alliance expresses our deepest condolences to the family of Mike
Brown, and we express our solidarity with the community of Ferguson that is
organizing to assure that justice is realized.

One week after the murder of Mike Brown by a Ferguson police officer—people in St.
Louis gathered at the location where Mike Brown was shot in the Canfield Apartment
buildings. Groups on the ground in St. Louis called for nationwide solidarity
actions in support of Justice for Mike Brown and the end of police and extrajudicial
killings everywhere. This included family and friends of Ezell Ford in Los Angeles,
who was also shot and killed recently by LAPD officers as he lay defenseless on the
ground. The brutal murder caught on video of a homeless man, James Boyd, brought
international attention to the Albuquerque Police Department’s long history of
shooting and killing unarmed people.

More than one person per day is killed by local police officers in the U.S. And
according to data reported by local police agencies to the FBI, white police
officers on average kill two Black people per week. Black men make up more than 50%
of the youth under twenty years of age killed by police.

As frontline, environmental justice communities, many of these killings are taking
place in our neighborhoods. Decades of wars, fortifying the borders and the War on
Terror has led to a militarization of police forces across the country that are
increasingly heavily armed, unaccountable and deadly. This is manifested by police
brutality and murder, the growth of the prison industrial complex and persecution
and incarceration of migrant families. This is in direct contrast to our vision to
build local, living economies.

CJA is building a movement that affirms life and where everyone has a place in the
rebuilding and stewardship of our communities – not where people are killed,
warehoused or discarded. Part of our task is to develop a fair and just system of
justice, safety and accountability, and we stand in solidarity with the families and
organizations in our communities fighting for such a system.

The Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing, one of our guiding documents, calls
on all people to allow affected people to speak for themselves and to follow the
lead of those affected as we act in solidarity.

This was the call to action issued by local organizations last week: In the wake of
the murder of unarmed teen Mike Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, MO, many
people are seeking ways that they can help. We encourage everyone to take part in
the following actions, as well as helping to educate your community on systemic
violence upon communities of color.

If you are not in St. Louis, find an event near you or register one here.

Follow events/discussions on Facebook

You can also help by:

Contributing to the bail fund.

Contributing to the organizer fund.

Actions and protests continue to be organized, and we encourage CJA member
organizations, allies and friends to support this effort by organizing your own
activities about police violence in your community. You can register your event at
the above website.

In Solidarity,

Climate Justice Alliance Steering Committee

Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Black Mesa Water Coalition, Center for Earth,
Energy and Democracy, Communities for a Better Environment, East Michigan
Environmental Action Council, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous
Environmental Network, Institute for Policy Studies, Movement Generation Justice and
Ecology Project

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Building the Movement to Reclaim OUR POWER! From Richmond to New York

admin : August 18, 2014 11:39 am : allposts, Featured News

Report from the Our Power National Convening in Richmond, CA

On Aug 6-9, the Our Power Campaign National Convening brought together 450 frontline community members from across the country joining in Richmond, CA to “build the bigger we” for a just transition toward local, living economies.

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Ana Manuela de Jesus Chã, Landless Workers Movement (MST) speaks alongside CJA leaders on an opening plenary.

Co-hosted by the Richmond Environmental Justice Coalition (REJC) and the national Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), we’d like to give our thanks to the many dedicated community members who gave so many hours to the success of our convening.

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Photo credit: Shadia Fayne Wood

We kicked off the week with a public vigil commemorating the 2012 Chevron refinery explosion that sent 15,000 Contra Costa county residents to the hospital.

We spent three beautiful days together to educate, inspire and strategize with one another, including a powerful plenary on the history of the environmental justice movement, some of which we captured on film.

We ended three days later with a vibrant day of action and art on the Richmond Greenway.

Don’t miss the beautiful “storify, created by MG’s Ellen Choy, that tells the story of the Richmond convening using social media, photographs, videos, and press articles.

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Photo credit: Farhad Ebrahimi

On the Our Power Campaign website, you can see the press releaseopening day announcement, and a media advisory about the day of action.

We are also very fortunate that highly talented photographers contributed their time and energy to photo-documenting the convening and day of action.

 

Next up.. the People’s Climate March in New York City!

Take Direct Action for Climate Justice!

Join the Our Power Campaign in New York City for

The People’s Climate March
September 21
and
The People’s Climate Justice Summit
September 22 & 23 

On September 23rd, political and corporate leaders are meeting at the United Nations in New York City for the Climate Summit 2014. This summit represents yet another step towards the corporate takeover of the UN climate negotiations, and the privatization of land, water and air resources under the guise of a global climate compact. If they have their way, we will remain mired in the status quo of climate change, when what we need is a fundamental systems change.

The Our Power Campaign is mobilizing for the People’s Climate March to send a clear message to global leaders that It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm. The only solutions to the climate crisis are community led solutions.

The March will be on September 21st in New York City. Following the March, we will be hosting the People’s Climate Justice Summit concurrently with the UN Meeting, on September 22nd and 23rd.

Stay tuned for more information next week about how you can join the Our Power Campaign in New York. In the meantime, read our People’s Climate March Call to Action and begin making your plans for action in September–either in New York or in your own community.

We are asking you to help us spread the word by circulating the People’s Climate March Pledge, to your members and networks.

Check out our new creative resistance campaign to spread the message that It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm–consider creating a piece art that we can share as a poster or image to share via our social media sites.

Finally, in the coming months, be sure to keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook.

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MG’s Newest Video Satire: The Greenest Man In America

admin : June 24, 2014 10:38 am : allposts, Featured News

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJdx3Ppuib0

Going green is about more than buying all the gluten-free quinoa you can fit in your Prius. It’s about community organizing against corporate polluters and challenging environmental racism — and then enjoying your quinoa. That’s the message from MG’s newest  video satire, The Greenest Man In America.

Written by our own Josh Healey, the video features Healey alongside Richmond, CA environmental justice activist Lipo Chanthanasak. A refugee from Laos and long-time leader in the fight against Richmond’s destructive Chevron oil refinery, Lipo is unexpectedly named the “Greenest Man in America.” Playing off a certain popular commercial, the video invites viewers to question our concept of what — and who — makes for an environmental leader.

Movement Generation is excited for the video to amplify the Our Power Campaign, which is building a just transition from an extractive economy run by corporations to local, living economies that are healthy and thriving. This summer, Richmond will host the Our Power National Convening from August 6-9, coinciding with the second anniversary of the massive Chevron refinery fire.

To learn more about the Our Power National Convening, click here.

To learn more about APEN and Lipo’s work, click here.

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The Launch of the Race, Class, & Ecology Public Series:

admin : May 28, 2014 1:26 pm : allposts, Featured News

Working Our Way Out of the Crisis: Climate Justice & the Working Class

RC&E_LaborThurs, June 12
6-8pm
@ California Nurses Association
2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 

Co-sponsored by Jobs with Justice San Francisco

Race, Class, & Ecology is MG’s new series of free public events to amplify and advance the vibrant social movement leading the Just Transition away from profit and pollution and towards healthy, resilient, and life-affirming economies. From labor to land reclamation to black & brown liberation, the series will feature organizers, intellectuals, and ecologists who are building grassroots people power in the US.

MG will launch our Race, Class, & Ecology series with a conversation between workers, union organizers, and climate justice leaders on moving from “Jobs OR the environment” to “Jobs FOR the environment.”

Stay tuned for more details, including an announcement of our featured speakers!

Questions? Email brooke@movementgeneration.org

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