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FILM: Local Organizations Team up to Show "Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience"

East Michigan Environmental Action Council - Mon, 08/19/2030 - 8:02pm
What: Film screening of "Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience" with Question and Answer session to follow afterwards

When: September 6th, 2013

Time: 8PM

Where: Cass Corridor Commons
             4605 Cass Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201

East Michigan Environmental Action Council, 5E, Heru, and the American Indian Health and Family Services invite you to the film screening of, Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience, on September 6th, 2013. The showing will take place in the D. Blair Theater of The Cass Corridor Commons.

Focusing on the lives and experiences of the Native/Indigenous community in the Midwest, Our Fires Still Burn is a one hour documentary that works to dispel the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the United States. The narrative that Native and Indigenous peoples no longer exist in the US has been perpetrated in many forms since the beginning of colonization in the US, with perhaps the most famous example being the book (and movie), The Last of the Mohicans. The narrative usually argues something along the lines that because Native peoples are now dead (or are actively dying), we need non-Native peoples to "save and recover" (read; loot) Native artifacts (very often including actual bones of human beings). Another strand of the narrative argues that names like Washington Red Skins are actually compliments that honor long dead tribes rather than the offensive insults that Native/Indigenous peoples say they are.

Our Fires Still Burns argues that the narrative that Native/Indigenous peoples are dead is harmful in that it invisibilizes and makes unnecessary the voices of the very much alive Native/Indigenous community. But as Our Fire Still Burns shows, Native and Indigenous peoples continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society.

The film viewing of Our Fires Still Burn will appeal to native and non-Native alike, and will be followed by a question and answer session featuring many of the people appearing in the film, as well as film director Audrey Geyer.  Ms. Geyer is an independent video producer and director whose programs have been broadcasted locally and nationally on PBS. She is the founder and current executive director of Visions, an independent video production company local in Metro Detroit. Visions work focuses on creating documentaries that tell the stories of communities that are underrepresented in mainstream media.

As East Michigan Environmental Action Council co-director, Diana Copeland says, the most important thing to do right now in light of various attacks on marginalized communities in Detroit is to build community responses to those attacks, "Conversations that happen where we can begin to get to know each other are essential and will only make our communities stronger."
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

MEDIA ADVISORY: It Takes Roots Statement on the Protest Ban in Paris

It Takes Roots - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 1:29pm

November 23, 2015

No War, No Warming – Build an Economy for People and Planet

Despite the ban on Protest in Paris, we will be there to raise our voices against war, racism and pollution profiteering. We stand in solidarity with the countless victims of recent violence in Paris, Beirut, and Mali, as well as their families and loved ones.

The It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm delegation of over 100 frontline leaders from climate impacted communities across the US and Canada, including the Arctic, united under the slogan: No War, No Warming – Build an Economy for People and Planet. We stand against the criminalization of the defenders of Mother Earth and the illegitimate criminalization of protest, in particular during the COP21. Civil society, popular movements, indigenous movements and society in general have the right to raise their voices in dissent, especially when our futures are being negotiated. The voices of Indigenous peoples, youth, women and frontline communities need to provide guidance in these negotiations, now more than ever.

Climate justice seeks to address much more than greenhouse gas emissions, but the root systemic causes of climate change itself. Climate justice is about social and economic justice, and how democratic, peaceful and equitable solutions, not military violence, best serve the interests of humanity. The fossil fuel economy is a driver of this multi-faceted crises facing the world: causing resource wars; polluting our air, water and land; creating illness and death to people and of ecosystems; privatization of nature; economically exploiting Indigenous communities, communities of color and the working poor; forcing mass migrations; and, depriving millions of adequate food, access to water, housing, healthcare and healthy and safe employment.

As part of a global climate justice movement, we oppose the bombing of Syria. Over many decades we have witnessed that Western militarism has only increased the instability of the Middle East and other regions. This militarism abroad has also escalated the military complex at home in the United States, where communities resisting the industries causing climate change, have been heavily policed and targeted by police violence.

Our delegation is made up of grassroots leaders from Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian and working class white communities. We know first-hand the violence and repression of state racism that exploits tragic moments like this. We reject rising Islamophobia and racism across Europe and North America, as well as the scapegoating of migrants and refugees. The global community has a human rights responsibility to refugees fleeing violence and fleeing for their lives. The roots of the Syrian crisis are linked to climate change, and those seeking refuge because of drought, repeated bombing, and the lack of humanitarian support from world governments.

We are in solidarity with undocumented peoples, migrants and people of color facing repression, raids, and police brutality in France and Europe. We know that people of color face extreme violence within and because of colonial States. We support our comrades in this time as we know they face even more racism, attacks and nation-State violence. We call for continued support for these communities and their organizing efforts. Understanding that our struggles are inextricably linked through globalization, militarization, and neo-liberalism, stemming from a long history of colonialism.

Taking action on climate is a essential to global stability and peace. Peace also includes the need to have peace with Mother Earth. Our movements are aligned across issues of migration, climate, human rights and rights of Indigenous peoples, Earth jurisprudence, jobs and housing. We are calling on world leaders, and President Obama in particular, to move toward inclusion over exclusion, renewable clean energy over pollution profiteering, cutting emissions at source over carbon trading and offset regimes, and peace over militarism.

We are inspired by the tenacity and humanity of people around the world, and we will continue to mobilize for Paris and to use our love, creativity and solidarity to make our presence known and felt. The protection of Mother Earth, as we know her, and our collective survival is at stake.

Media Contacts: Jaron Browne 415-377-2822, jaron@ggjalliance.org
Dallas Goldtooth 708-515-6158, goldtoothdallas@gmail.com
Preeti Shekar 510-219-4193, preetishekar@gmail.com

Follow us at: ittakesroots.org
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, @ggjalliance
Indigenous Environmental Network, @ienearth
Climate Justice Alliance, @cjaOurPower

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Connecticut Unionists Visit Palestine To See Sources of Conflict, Build Solidarity

UE - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 4:37pm
20 November, 2015General Secretary Shaher Sa'ed of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions receives a copy of UE's convention resolution on Palestine and Israel from Carol Lambiaseby Carol Lambiase, retired UE International Representative

In September I was part of a delegation of Connecticut union leaders to Palestine, at the invitation of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU). Our group included State AFL-CIO President Emeritus John Olsen; State Building Trades President David Roche; Bill Shortell, political director for the International Association of Machinists Eastern States Conference; John Fussell, union attorney and former 1199 vice president; Steelworkers Union activist Anne Marie Miller; and others from the Tree of Life Educational Foundation.  

A highlight of the trip was our meeting with the top leaders of the PGFTU, where I was able to hand deliver the UE convention resolution, “Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine and Israel” to General Secretary Shaher Sa'ed.  We learned how Palestinian workers who have jobs in Israel have to spend three hours each way at the border crossings even though they have work permits.  The passage is surrounded by barbed wire and cages and can include x-raying and disrobing.  They work in Israel where the only jobs for which they are hired are the lowest paid, dirtiest and riskiest. There is no "equal pay for equal work."

We traveled through the West Bank and saw the Israeli settlements, all of which are in violation of the international law. The Geneva Conventions prohibit a country that is militarily occupying foreign territory to settle its own population there, but that’s exactly what Israel has been doing since 1967, and there are now 600,000 Israeli settlers, with settlements growing larger all the time. We saw the "bypass" roads that are new and modern, but which Palestinians are forbidden to use – they are only for the use of Israel citizens.  We saw Israeli military checkpoints, some at permanent locations, and some randomly stopping cars. 

We were given a tour by a former Israeli soldier who is a member of Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli ex-soldiers who speak out against the unjust government policies they were ordered to carry out. He told us about his orders to maintain the conflict by searching homes at 2:00 a.m., interrogating residents not suspected of any wrongdoing, and "keeping the roads sterile".  He was told by his superiors, "We want Palestinians to feel that they are being chased."  We saw the water tanks on the tops of many Palestinian houses. The reason they are there is Israel controls the water supply, and much of the time people have running water only for a few hours once every two weeks, so when they can get water they store it for the times when its shut off. For Israeli settlers, the water runs all the time. 

We also visited the State of Israel itself, where we met with Aida Touma-Sliman, a member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) and learned of the systemic discrimination against Palestinians who live in Israel and are citizens, both Muslims and Christians.  Although Arabs make up 20 percent of the Israeli population, funding for the education of each Arab child is one-third of what is spent on a Jewish student. Israel is cutting the funding for Christian schools.  A few Arab villages that Israel destroyed managed to relocate, but are under threat of destruction again. 

We were reminded of the former apartheid regime in South Africa, and we were reminded of the time when European colonizers came to North America and drove out the native peoples and took over their land.  When I asked a PGFTU leader what it would be helpful for us to do when we returned to the U.S., he said, "Just tell the truth about what you saw." 

The rest of the world has made many efforts to pass resolutions at the UN which address the Israeli military occupation and illegal settlements, but each time the U.S. vetoes them.  On this trip, we heard and saw the other side of the story that is never reported in the mainstream U.S. media.  I recommend that anyone who wants to understand the truth about Palestine contact the Tree of Life Educational Foundation and sign up for a tour.


Categories: Grassroots Newswire

First Ever Indigenous Women’s Treaty Signed of “North and South”

It Takes Roots - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 3:01pm

September 27, 2015 (New York City, NY) Today marked a historic milestone in the movement for environmental justice and indigenous rights. Indigenous women leaders of the North and South Americas signed a first ever treaty agreement declaring solidarity in the movement to protect Mother Earth from extractive industries.

Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca) and Pennie Opal Plan (Idle No More Bay Area), who serve as representatives on the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Delegation for the COP 21 United Nations Summit in Paris, met with Kichwa leaders, Patricia Gualinga and President of the Association of Sapara Women, Gloria Ushigua, who serve as representatives of the Amazon Watch Delegation.

Statement from Casey Camp-Horinek, of the Ponca Nation regarding the Indigenous Women of the North and South – Defend Mother Earth Treaty Compact 2015:

“We acknowledge this moment on Mother Earth for the 4th Red Moon of this year is eclipsing and offering us this chance to renew and defend the rights of Mother Earth as Indigenous Women. We gathered on this sacred day in ceremony to honor the ancestors who brought us to this point where we could stand strong in unified love of our Mother the Earth, our Father the Sky and the undying duty to protect the air, water, earth and all of our relatives for the future generations. We give thanks for the guidance and the support that made this day the sacred day that it has become at this historic Treaty between the Indigenous Women of the North and South. We invite and implore the prayers and the spreading of the word to rise up and join this movement that has begun in the times before us and moves into this wave of awareness across the face of our Mother.”

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IVAW Statement on Recent Attacks in Lebanon, Afghanistan, France, Iraq, & Nigeria

It Takes Roots - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 1:40pm

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the victims and families who have suffered from the acts of brutality committed in Beirut, Paris, Baghdad, Zabul and now multiple cities in Nigeria over the last number of days.

We condemn these terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Afghanistan, France, Iraq and Nigeria. We mourn with the victims and send our deepest condolences to their families. No one’s life should end in this way; no family should suffer the anguish and loss that these people are suffering.

For these attacks to stop, we must address their root causes and take responsibility for U.S. participation in the destabilization of countries that span the Middle East, North and Western Africa, and South and Central Asia. The deliberate destabilization of once functional states in the region, and the current bombardment of Yemen by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, has created the perfect environment for groups like ISIS and Boko Haram to grow and thrive. We must see the rise of terrorism and the attacks in Paris for what they are, blowback for western intervention in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe.

We, as current and former military members, understand that who the U.S. military kills is never certain and differentiating combatants from civilians is not a priority. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed and thousands of others are being stalked and killed by drones in at least seven countries, creating an environment filled with constant terror. Russia joining the bombardment of Syria and Iraq, the recent announcement of more troops to be deployed around the globe, and the extension of troop withdrawal in Afghanistan will only exacerbate an increasingly volatile situation until the “all out war” that France’s President Hollande called for is upon us. The end result of all of this can only be destruction, terror and lost lives, not only from predominately Muslim countries, but everywhere terror and war will inevitably reach.

We know from experience that declaring war on terrorism is a futile gesture that engages the world in a downward spiral of destruction. A full land war in Syria plays into the goals of terrorist groups and will undoubtedly destroy more innocent lives. Meanwhile, western countries will be no safer than before, in fact, increased blowback resulting from these actions will remain an ever present threat for years to come. An escalation of warfare will also violate civil liberties by establishing a securitization regime in France as an extension of the already existing “security measures” in the U.S., England and elsewhere

We call on the US and its NATO allies to:

  1. Exercise restraint and exhaust all avenues of diplomacy;
  2. Take full responsibility and hold themselves accountable for the illegality of the Iraq war and the continuance of the Afghanistan war, their colonial exploits, and their extra military actions which gave rise to the instability of various regions as we see today;
  3. De-escalate from the perpetual violence, and reduce militarization both at home and abroad; and
  4. Accept responsibility for the resettlement of all refugees, who are victimized by the so-called “War on Terror,” and resist scapegoating those with the least power in this tragic string of events.

Repeating the disastrous choices made by our nation after September 11th will result in nothing short of squandering the future of millions. This cycle of violence and exploitation has to end now.

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VWC statement from Syrian refugee solidarity press conference

VWC - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 12:27pm

On Thursday evening, VWC member Meg Cline read the following statement at a press conference in Burlington expressing solidarity with Syrian refugees. Meg is a parent organizing to reinstate staff and services at the VNA Family Room in the Old North End (Click here for more info). Other members of the Vermont Workers' Center are rallying on Friday and Saturday at the Vermont statehouse (at 11:30am) to oppose xenophobic anti-refugee demonstrations and to uphold the human rights of all migrants and refugees.

Thursday's statement reads:

We’re all here to express our deeply felt solidarity with refugees and migrants from Syria and the Middle East, who are fleeing unimaginable hardships and violence and looking for safety for their families. And it’s not just folks from Syria who are looking for a safe place to raise their families and live lives with dignity. We need to open our arms and do what we can do to ensure the rights of New Americans and migrant workers here in Vermont, and lead the way for the rest of the country.

Many of us who were born here are also struggling to get by. Regardless of race or ethnicity, thousands of folks in Vermont are struggling with rent, healthcare and student debt, car loans, and low-wage jobs without respect. And the few programs we rely on, like Reach Up or the VNA Family Room, are being cut by decision-makers who are often insulated from the impacts of their decisions. With all of the talk about inequality, we know that the money’s there → it’s just that wealthy folks aren’t paying their fair share towards public services and well-paying jobs.

People from Syria are fleeing violence -- and we’re right to welcome them to our community. But we need to ask ourselves what type of community are we welcoming them into? Many folks in our communities are struggling to make ends meet, or don’t feel welcome here in the first place. Let’s change that.

In the Old North End, that’s exactly what we’re doing. In the face of budget cuts and layoffs, parents and staff from the VNA family room, many of whom are refugees themselves, are organizing to protect and expand the Family Room’s programs that are so critical for children and families in our community. The Family Room has been a key place in Burlington where mothers, fathers, and kids can come together and build bridges across race, class, and ethnicity, and where people who have come through the refugee resettlement program can get connected with key resources. In addition to welcoming refugees from Syria, we need to be holding decision-makers accountable to protecting and expanding programs like the Family Room, not cutting them at a time when they’re needed most.

With all of the conflicts going on, we know this isn’t going to be the last time that we’re called upon to welcome refugees with open arms. It’s in these moments that we set the tone for the future. Will we build walls and retreat from one another? Or will we all pitch in together, and build lifeboats to get us through the tough times? I’m happy to be out here today with all of you, building that culture of solidarity.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Democracy Now: Climate Activists Vow to Continue with Protests Ahead of Paris Talks

It Takes Roots - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 7:02pm

In the wake of the Paris attacks, climate activists and the French government are at odds over plans for a massive protest march on Nov. 29 ahead of the U.N. climate talks. French authorities are threatening to curtail public demonstrations and marches, but climate activists insist the right to protest and freedom of speech must be upheld even during a state of emergency. We speak to Alix Mazounie, the international policies coordinator at Climate Action Network France.

Read the full transcript on Democracy Now »



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It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm: The Road to Paris and Beyond

It Takes Roots - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 6:57pm

As the effects of climate change continue to hit peak levels of catastrophe, global leaders have been promising a new climate agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP). From failing to sign the Kyoto Accord (1992), to undermining efforts for binding agreements at COP15 in Copenhagen (2009), the US has been playing a contradictory dual role of both moving forward a minimal level of climate action while assuring that the interests of transnational corporate polluters are protected. The insufficient pledges made by the US in Copenhagen in 2009, in addition to the pushing of false solutions such as carbon market, carbon trading and offset mechanisms, set a precedent that continues today. In December 2014, weeks before the COP20 convened in Lima, Peru the US and China announced a bilateral agreement that provides a weak foundation for a new UN climate agreement and sets the stage for a non-transparent and non-enforceable plan for cutting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The China-US deal dashed whatever small hopes existed that the COP20 would deliver an outcome to slow the mounting crisis.

This year, the COP21 will take place in Paris, France from November 30-December 11, 2015.We are skeptical that a new agreement reached in Paris will be bold enough, enforceable, and at the scale and pace needed to avert global catastrophe. President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) has been touted as a blueprint for honoring national commitments that may emerge in a Paris agreement. Yet the CPP has no clear commitment to emissions reduction, it allows too much flexibility for how states will implement the plan, and it requires no commitment to environmental justice principles or policies.

In order to achieve the policy shifts we need for the long-term, even the best inside strategies will not be strong enough if we are not organizing powerful, grassroots pressure on the outside as well. There is a promising, growing unity of social movements at the global scale led by the people most impacted by climate change, who are pressuring governments for more meaningful action, often while implementing their own real solutions on the ground and planning for how vulnerable communities can best survive severe impacts of climate change.

Copenhagen also sparked social movements, Indigenous Peoples’ movements and many Global South governments to declare “No deal is better than a catastrophic deal” and “We Need Systems Change, not Climate Change.” Leaders from frontline communities in the US who went to Copenhagen in 2009 on a delegation with organizations like Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), Movement Generation and Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) came home determined to build a stronger global social movement around climate change. They went on to form the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) and in 2013 launched the Our Power Campaign: Communities United for a Just Transition. IEN, GGJ and CJA have been leading the participation of frontline communities in the climate movement within the US as well as internationally. Grassroots International (GRI) has been partnering with and accompanying social movements taking leadership for climate justice in the Global South, particularly movements of small-scale farmers (such as La Vía Campesina), Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendent communities.

During the lead up to the People’s Climate March in September 2014, which mobilized an estimated 400,000 people in the largest climate march in history, GGJ, IEN, and other members of CJA were instrumental in ensuring that Indigenous and frontline communities led the march and commanded the world’s attention as the forefront voices of the climate justice movement. The planning for the People’s Climate March also forged new relationships between the grassroots organizing sector and more mainstream climate organizations, laying the groundwork for ongoing relationships and a broader united movement for climate justice. GGJ and GRI worked together closely to ensure meaningful participation of international social movements in both the march and the Peoples’ Climate Justice Summit, which was an important space for US-based and international climate justice movements to share analysis and strategies with one another.

It will be critical in 2015 to build up the momentum and escalate actions so that by the time we get to Paris, there is consistent pressure from a worldwide movement calling for serious action by governments, rejection of carbon market mechanisms such as REDD+ and other carbon offsets and radical emission cuts. But the battle will not end in Paris, and movements are already making long-term plans to keep up the momentum and share strategies through North-North, North-South, and South-South exchanges, national and international joint strategy sessions and collective action in the streets of Paris.

Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) is providing leadership nationally and internationally by convening and aligning many key networks and coalitions in the global climate justice movement. Through years of increasingly close collaboration, these emerging networks and coalitions have been deepening the engagement of civil society actors around the world who are not represented in the UNFCCC process, and developing shared analysis and strategy. GGJ has been a key player in a movement of grassroots leaders around the globe that are uniting to strategize effective solutions to the climate crisis, and to develop plans for action post-Paris. People around the world feel a real urgency to develop systemic alternatives, and are at a point where they will not accept decisions by world leaders that fail to kick-start an immediate transition to get us out of this global crisis.

Some of these key formations include:

The Climate Space, which began as a venue at the World Social Forum 2013 in Tunisia to discuss the causes of and alternatives to climate change, has now developed into an ongoing global people’s climate process through a network of 30 international organizations like ATTAC France, ETC Group, Focus on the Global South, Global Forest Coalition, Grassroots Global Justice, Indigenous Environmental Network, La Vía Campesina, Polaris Institute, World March of Women, and others.

The Coalition Climat 21 (CC21), which was convened by French civil society associations, networks and social movements to support diverse, inclusive and collective work toward COP21 in Paris. CC21 is comprised of over 100 organizations in France with European and international participation.

The Mobilization Support Team of the People’s Climate Movement which consists of 350.org, ALIGN, Avaaz, Blue-Green Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance, GGJ, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, Oil Change International, SEIU local 32BJ, Sierra Club, and Uprose.

Organizational Background

Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) is an alliance of 58 US-based grassroots organizing (GRO) groups organizing to build an agenda for power for low-income people and communities of color. We weave and bridge together US-based GRO groups and global social movements working for climate justice, an end to war, and a Just Transition to a new economy that is better for people and the planet. GGJ was founded in 2005 as an alliance of organizations, with clear criteria that prioritize a diverse membership across race, gender, citizenship, class and sexuality, and comprised of people from frontline communities. GGJ was co-founder and co-anchor of Climate Justice Alliance, and now serves as co-chair. GGJ is also building the first-ever US chapter of the World March of Women, a global feminist movement.

Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) is a collaborative of 40 community organizations on the frontlines of the climate crisis, movement networks and support organizations. In 2013, CJA launched the Our Power Campaign (OPC): Communities United for a Just Transition, a national effort uniting communities fighting fossil fuels and other polluting industries around a common vision and strategy – to transition the economy in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the source, restore equity, and put decision-making in the hands of communities.

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) was formed in 1990 by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals primarily in North America to address environmental and economic justice. IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both Native/Indigenous communities and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities. IEN is on the coordinating committee of GGJ and the steering committee of CJA, and was a founding member of both alliances. IEN has been participating in the UN climate negotiations and mobilizing Indigenous communities, North and in the global South since 1998.

Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. Since 1963, IPS works with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power, and is on the steering committee of CJA.

Grassroots International (GRI), founded in 1983, works in partnership with social movements around the globe to create a just and sustainable world by advancing the human rights to land, water, and food through global grantmaking, building solidarity across organizations and movements, and advocacy in the US. GRI is a member organization of both GGJ and CJA.

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Jackson Free Press: From Jackson to Paris to Fight Climate Change

It Takes Roots - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 6:53pm

Published by Jackson Free Press  |  By Scott Prather  |  Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Six members of Cooperation Jackson, along with several children, a translator and someone to help with child care are headed to Paris, France, to lend their voices and efforts to the global fight against climate change at the United Nation’s annual climate conference, referred to as COP21, beginning Nov. 30.

The local contingent will join a larger delegation of nearly 100 people from the United States and Canada organized by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, or GGJ.

“The goal is half protest and half affirmation,” said Kali Akuno, a longtime social-justice advocate and co-founder of Cooperation Jackson who worked in the mayoral administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba. 
 The political leaders and corporations involved in the official discussions about climate change are “playing games with the planet and with our lives,” Akuno added.

GGJ is helping pay for four members of the Jackson delegation to make the trip. The group works to connect working-class and oppressed communities from North America with social movements in the southern hemisphere.

Cooperation Jackson is also part of the Climate Justice Alliance’s “Our Power Campaign,” a parallel effort to end global warming while specifically supporting, connecting and learning from those communities of poor and working people who have directly suffered the effects of climate change.

The protest is important, Akuno said, because at this point the government and industry officials meeting at COP21 “control some of the key levers and institutions which can either save us or drive us further off the cliff.” So, he said, Cooperation Jackson is “joining with other communities of struggle throughout the world to send a clear message that this is not sufficient, that they have to do better, and we’re demanding that they do better.”

Exploring Alternatives at COP21

This year’s event comes just weeks after Obama’s rejection of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would have funneled one of the world’s largest crude oil reserves from the Alberta Tar Sands to the Gulf of Mexico.

The COP21 website emphasizes that world leaders will, for the first time in more than 20 years of UN climate negotiations, set a “legally binding and universal agreement” that aims to indefinitely keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. But the Cooperation Jackson delegation will be in Paris as part of a parallel gathering of communities from across the globe converging to challenge the official standards that are set to emerge from COP21.

Sacajawea Hall, of Cooperation Jackson, said that it’s critical for communities of protest to send a message and hold leaders accountable, but also to connect with communities across the globe who are already practicing alternatives to the current oil-and-profit based economy that scientists say is threatening the planet.

“So much of it for me is gathering with other communities who are actively asking, ‘What do we want for ourselves and our world?’ and not just “What do we not want from our governments?,'” Hall said.

Both Hall and Akuno stress the need for the delegation to learn from the successes and failures of alternative-energy-based movements at COP21, and to bring those lessons home. Hall finds inspiration for her work in “the stories of what people, and women in particular, have been able to do with even less resources than we have here” in Jackson and in the United States as a whole.

First, Be the Change

Citing Mahatma Gandhi’s maxim that we must first try to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” Aina Gonzalez, another Jackson delegate, said this trip is a chance for Cooperation Jackson to “network, show our presence, make friends and build allies.”

Locally, Gonzalez is helping to launch Nubia’s Place Cafe and Catering, a food-service cooperative that will run out of the Lumumba Center for Economic Democracy, the group’s base of operations at 939 West Capitol St. in Jackson.

The cafe is an example of the integrated, sustainable economic alternatives Cooperation Jackson says it wants to model for the city and state. An urban farming cooperative will source the cafe and catering businesses, whose workers will have a share in ownership and management and receive what organizers call a fair, livable wage.

In turn, the business of sustainably producing and serving food will present the need and opportunity for sustainable waste management, recycling and composting practices. 
 The goal of making Jackson “the most sustainable city in the south” comes out of the “Jackson Rising” statement that former Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s administration released in 2014. Akuno credits Lumumba’s administration with laying out the broad vision Jackson needs to incentivize local policies and business practices that are both just and ecologically sustainable.

The work of Cooperation Jackson hones in on one aspect of that broad social vision—the development of worker-owned cooperatives and alternative economic practices. In part due to Mississippi’s long history of rural and industrial worker organizations, Akuno says that “the conditions of Jackson are challenging but also ripe for cooperatives as a means of to getting to a solidarity economy.” Moving toward an economy that puts people’s needs over profit would, he believes, best serve the people who live and work in Jackson.

It Takes An ‘Eco-Village’

The ambitious goal of a zero-waste-and-emissions Jackson by 2025 is just one part of “The Jackson Just Transition Plan,” a climate-justice vision Cooperation Jackson released this week as part of the international “Our Power Campaign.”

The plan lays out a “Sustainable Communities Initiative” that has two primary components. The first is an “Eco-Village” in west Jackson, which will build on emerging cooperatives to develop the infrastructure for west Jackson residents to sustainably live and work in their communities. This part of the plan is predicated upon the creation of a Community Land Trust, controlled by residents, and a network of interconnected cooperatives that will provide affordable housing and jobs that respect workers’ rights.
 The plan also contains a “policy reform” agenda that aims to help city government realize the Lumumba administration’s vision of making Jackson the most sustainable city in the south.

The strategy articulates “zero waste” and “zero emissions” programs and outlines policies designed to mitigate ecological destruction while incentivizing just and sustainable business practices.

For example, it calls on city government to invest in localized food production and citywide recycling and composting programs, while transitioning to a city fleet and public-transportation system run entirely on renewables.

While “The Jackson Just Transition Plan” would require buy-in from city leaders to achieve policy reform, the plan grounds those policy goals in a political vision that looks to connect the dots between the environmental, economic and racial crises that have long plagued the south.

It is that political vision, as well as the nuts and bolts of what does and doesn’t work for communities engaged in similar struggles throughout the world, that the Jackson delegation says it hopes to discover, share, and refine in Paris.

“It’s important for the global community to come together to show that we already have the resources and power to create sustainable and just communities,” said Cooperation Jackson member Brandon King, a 31-year-old Virginia native with a background in activism and the arts who now lives in Jackson.

See Cooperation Jackson’s website at cooperationjackson.org. Email ideas to business reporting fellow Scott Prather at scott@jacksonfreepress.com.

The post Jackson Free Press: From Jackson to Paris to Fight Climate Change appeared first on It Takes Roots.

The Guardian: COP21 climate marches in Paris not authorised following attacks

It Takes Roots - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 6:46pm
French government says demonstrations in closed spaces can go ahead but not those in public places

Published by The Guardian  |  By Ben Quinn

Major marches which had been planned to coincide with the COP21 international climate talks in Paris will not be authorised for security reasons, the French government has said.

Environmental activists – who had expected attract hundreds of thousands people on 29 November and 12 December – said that they accepted Wednesday’s decision with regret, but were now considering “new and imaginative” ways of making their voices heard.

Following the recent terror attacks in Paris, French authorities said a statement that all demonstrations organised in closed spaces or in places where security can easily be ensured could go ahead.

“However, in order to avoid additional risks, the government has decided not to authorise climate marches planned in public places in Paris and other French cities,” it said.

Environmental activists had hoped the marches would attract large numbers to put pressure on governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions. A range of groups have been involved in planning actions during the summit and the position of every one of them was not immediately clear on Wednesday.

Some of those involved say though that more than 2,000 protests in around 150 countries during the talks have taken on a greater significance. They include the campaign group Avaaz, which released a promotional video for the marches it is involved in organising around the world.

Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz, said: “The police have just informed us that the tragic attacks in Paris have made the march there impossible.

“Now it’s even more important for people everywhere to march on the weekend of 29 November on behalf of those who can’t, and show that we are more determined than ever to meet the challenges facing humanity with hope, not fear.”

Jean-François Juilliard, Greenpeace France executive director, said that it was a source of huge regret that the French authorities said that they cannot guarantee safety the safety of marchers but the decision must be respected.

He added: “Huge numbers were expected in Paris, but those people will not be silenced. We will find new, imaginative ways to ensure our voices are heard in the UN conference centre and beyond.

“In hundreds of towns and cities across the world people will still march for the climate, for Paris and for our shared humanity. We stand for a vision of human cooperation that the murderers sought to extinguish. They will not succeed.”

Talks between the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, and campaigners over the fate of a huge march before the forthcoming Paris climate summit ended without agreement earlier this week.

Fabius expressed fears on Tuesday about the risk of another terror attack and of the sort of crowd panic seen in Paris’s Place de République on 15 November, when hundreds of people fled a solidarity vigil after firecrackers were let off.

As well as the marches, other protest actions which had been planned include a “people’s summit”, a “climate action zone” involving schools and community groups and a day of civil disobedience at the summit’s end.

Coalition Climat 21, an alliance of civil society groups that had been centrally involved in the Paris protests, had pledged earlier this week to try to continue with public demonstrations within the city in close consultation with the police.

It said in a statement on Wednesday that it would try to find an “alternative form of citizen mobilisation” to demonstrate that COP21 would not just be left to the negotiators.

The organisation said that the climate summit, which was due to be held on 5 and 6 December in the eastern suburb of Montreuil and another event from 7 to 11 December in the centre of Paris should be maintained.

The post The Guardian: COP21 climate marches in Paris not authorised following attacks appeared first on It Takes Roots.

What Did Nike Just Do?

USAS - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 5:57pm

Today, students at over 30 colleges and Universities across the country are demanding their school take action against Nike. The global apparel giant announced to Universities that it is no longer allowing any of its factories to be monitored by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). Not only is this a blatant violation of our college and University codes of conduct, but this will have a devastating impact on garment workers across the globe who rely on the ability to communicate with the WRC when their basic rights are violated in the workplace.

What is Nike trying to hide in their factories? Add your name to demand Nike “Just Do the Right Thing” for their workers around the world.

If the WRC is refused access and the ability to inspect Nike’s supplier factories, we will have no way of knowing whether our schools’ college-logoed apparel is being made under sweatshop conditions. Nike is notorious for its labor violations, and therefore can’t be trusted to voluntarily monitor its own factories with any credibility. And more than that, workers need the ability to speak up when they are paid poverty wages, face violent union retaliation, or are refused safe factory conditions.

Nike just launched the biggest attack on its workers in 20 years. Sign the petition now to demand Nike maintain transparency about its working conditions.

We can’t allow Nike to turn back the clock on factory transparency and independent monitoring. We’ve held Nike accountable before and we’ll do it again. The choice is up to Nike now: either let the WRC in, or be forced off our campuses.
Nike, just do the right thing.


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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Apply to Our Asian Youth in Action Internship!

CAAAV - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 5:34pm

Asian Youth in Action (AYA) is a 7-month internship program running from February 2016 to August 2016 for youth ages 14-20. This is an opportunity for Asian young people who speak Bangla, Korean, Mandarin, and/or Cantonese to serve low-income Asian immigrant communities. Interns will gain hands-on experience through:

– Developing relationships and working with the Chinatown Tenants Union or the NYCHA Organizing Project for 10 hours each month.

– Monthly leadership skills trainings and social issue workshops. Including public speaking, racial justice, feminism, housing rights, multilingual interpretation, and more.

– Monthly team-building workshops to establish friendships and events with other youth and immigrants from across the City.

#MicUpAgainstPoliceBrutality Open Mic to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Yong Xin Huang’s death by NYPD and #BlackLivesMatter

Through this internship, AYA aims to bring together a group of vibrant, compassionate Asian youth, who will gain valuable professional development, experience, and personal growth through our organization.

In addition, upon completion of the program, interns will receive a transportation stipend, community service hours (if applicable), and letters of recommendation upon request.


Download our application or apply online!

*Application deadline: January 4th, 2016

*We are seeking applicants with basic Bangla, Korean, Mandarin, and/or Cantonese skills because interns will work with tenants with limited English proficiency!

– Contact our Program Coordinator Carol Lin at aya@caaav.org for more information

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

UE Reaches Tentative National Agreement with Renzenberger

UE - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 5:12pm
19 November, 2015UE Renzenberger national bargaining committeeChicago

The UE Renzenberger National Bargaining Committee has reached a tentative agreement with Renzenberger Inc. for the first Renzenberger national contract. The agreement would cover all 1,200 UE members who work for Renzenberger in six states. Renzenberger workers are van drivers who transport railroad workers to their work sites.

The union bargaining committee of elected rank-and-file representatives is recommending approval of the new contract, and the union is making arrangements now for ratification meetings and voting by the membership across the country. We will post details of the agreement soon, after the UE members in Renzenberger have had an opportunity to review it.  

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

It Takes Roots

It Takes Roots - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 5:43pm

The post It Takes Roots appeared first on It Takes Roots.

People’s Climate March

It Takes Roots - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 7:32pm

The post People’s Climate March appeared first on It Takes Roots.

Ahead of Paris, Grassroots Activists Demand Real Change: “President Obama: Listen To The People, Not Polluters!”

It Takes Roots - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 7:22pm

Contact: Preeti Shekar at 510-219-4193, preetishekar@gmail.com
Release Date: Friday, November 13, 2015

Ahead of Paris, Grassroots Activists Demand Real Change:
“President Obama: Listen To The People, Not Polluters!”

The Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) is excited to announce a delegation of 100 leaders and organizers from US and Canadian grassroots and indigenous communities headed to the upcoming UNCOP21 in Paris later this month. The delegation, titled It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm joins together three powerful alliances of grassroots activists and frontline communities’ leaders: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and the Climate Justice Alliance.

As the effects of climate change continue to hit peak levels of catastrophe, global leaders have been promising a new climate agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP). This year, the COP21 will take place in Paris, France, from November 30-December 11, 2015. Thousands of climate justice movements from around the world will converge on the streets of Paris to demand global action to stop the fossil fuel industry’s continued burning of the planet. The It Takes Roots delegation represents cutting edge leadership of communities who have alternative sustainable solutions to the current failed fossil fuel economies that are destroying the planet.

“Everything we are seeing shows that the negotiating text on table right now for the COP21 falls far short of the action needed to avoid global catastrophe. Our communities are already being hit the hardest — from droughts on one coast to floods on the other. The time has come for the US to break with the fossil fuel industry and refuse to accept false solutions and market strategies,” noted Cindy Wiesner, national coordinator of GGJ.

More About the It Takes Roots Delegation

It Takes Roots is a broad, powerful delegation including indigenous communities in North America and Canada, and a wide array of regional grassroots groups tackling environmental and health impacts of fracking, extraction, oil refineries and other hallmarks of a toxic fossil fuel dependant economy.

The delegates and the groups they represent are intergenerational, comprising a mix of youth organizers and veteran community leaders, who hail from working class African American, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and rural white communities, as this cross-section shows:

Frontline communities mobilizing to Paris comes on the heels of the historic victory last week when President Obama cancelled the Keystone Pipeline project, in direct response to the enormous activism and leadership of several groups that are a part of the It Takes Roots delegation.

“Years of organizing and mounting pressure led by Indigenous communities from North America led to the rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Now frontline Indigenous communities are heading to Paris prepared to use our bodies to draw a red line of resistance to stop extractive industries and fight for a just transition into renewable energies. The question remains — Will President Obama listen to the polluters or to the people?” asks Kandi Mossett, a climate campaign organizer with the IEN.

“From Hurricane Katrina to Superstorm Sandy, recurrent extreme climate change disasters hit our communities first and worst. These storms are the legacy of decision makers lacking the courage to make bold decisions. The time to act is now. We need to stop fossil fuel dependency and look to alternative, sustainable solutions as the only way forward. The KXL pipeline cancellation was a good start, but only the beginning,” notes Elizabeth Yeampierre, a frontline community organizer with Uprose, a New York-based community organization.

In addition to participating in various civil society formations at COP21, the It Takes Roots delegation will be organizing creative and peaceful actions on the streets of Paris, participating in rallies, solidarity marches, leading workshops, and making local and global connections with frontline communities resisting climate change. With art and music, colorful banners and people chanting slogans, the It Takes Roots delegation will be a forceful voice of dissent, calling out on the deep hypocrisies of state leaders, between their rhetoric and actions, and presenting the real, alternative solutions.

Bios of Quoted Delegates:

Cindy Wiesner is the National Coordinator of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) and Co-Chair of the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), and has been active in the grassroots social justice movement, working on the intersections of labor organizing, environmental justice, ending gender-based violence, queer organizing, and migrant rights for over 20 years.

Kandi Mossett is a leading voice in the Indigenous environmental movement in North America. In her most current role as Native Energy and Climate Campaign Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and through speaking at UN forums, and by testifying in front of the US Congress, she has played a crucial role in making visible nationally and internationally, the devastating impacts of climate change on Indigenous communities and tribal lands.

Elizabeth Yeampierre is the Executive Director of Uprose, Brooklyn, New York’s oldest Latino community organization. Her organizing prioritizes just transitions, sustainable development, environmental justice, and building community-led climate adaptation and resiliency. A dynamic public speaker, she has presented at the first White House forum on Environmental Justice, and more recently, spoke at the open climate rally for Pope Francis.

Contact: Preeti Shekar, GGJ Media Strategist at 510-219-4193 or preetishekar@gmail.com for more information, to interview delegates, for quotes for articles/profiles, to discuss pitches, and other media inquiries.

The post Ahead of Paris, Grassroots Activists Demand Real Change: “President Obama: Listen To The People, Not Polluters!” appeared first on It Takes Roots.

Action Alert: Sign Petition to Pres. Obama: The Border Patrol Killed my Husband

NNIRR - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 5:31pm
Story Type:  Blog Story Publisher:  Southern Border Communities Coalition

By now you are all aware that the Department of Justice issued an announcement on Friday that they will not be pressing charges on the federal agents who brutally beat and murdered Anastasio Hernandez Rojas in 2010, despite video evidence and eyewitness testimony.  This is unacceptable.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Petition to Pres. Obama: The Border Patrol Killed my Husband

NNIRR - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 5:24pm

By now you are all aware that the Department of Justice issued an announcement on Friday that they will not be pressing charges on the federal agents who brutally beat and murdered Anastasio Hernandez Rojas in 2010, despite video evidence and eyewitness testimony.  This is unacceptable.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Opinion: Sorry Trump, "Operation Wetback" Was a National Disgrace

NNIRR - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 5:07pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  RAUL A. REYES Story Publisher:  NBC News

During Tuesday night's debate, when asked the feasibility of his idea to institute mass deportations of the undocumented, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was ready with an answer.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Solidarity Statement with #ConcernedStudent1950

USAS - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 3:35pm

Written by University of Mississippi USAS Local 121

Local 121 successfully pressured their university to remove the Confederate Flag from campus in October.

We, Students Against Social Injustice (SASI), USAS Local 121 at the University of Mississippi, stand in full and unequivocal solidarity with Concerned Student 1950 and all members of the University of Missouri community advocating for equity and inclusion. We applaud the University of Missouri community for its recent victory following the resignations of President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Wolfe’s refusal to recognize the experiences of the marginalized student body and respond effectively exhibited both his lack of empathy and his inability to lead the University of Missouri in the right direction. Our positive thoughts, energies, and prayers are with Black members of the Mizzou community as they continue to combat overt intolerance and challenge implicit racist and exclusionary administrative policies.

Though we celebrate this victory, we recognize the work that lies ahead. Mandatory racial awareness and inclusion curriculum must be implemented, the percentage of Black faculty and staff must be raised from its current percentage to 10%, and the budget must be reconsidered to fund resources and personnel for social justice centers. Students on college and university campuses around the United States grapple with the debilitating legacies of racial oppression and white supremacy everyday. Present day contexts, shaped by these legacies impede students’ ability to navigate campus without fear of discrimination, violence, or exclusion. Institutions of higher learning are spaces for the edification and improvement of students, and their leaders must understand that without dialogue and critical education racism and intolerance will continue.

The activism of students at the University of Missouri is only the latest event in a growing movement. Students will no longer idly stand by and allow leaders of our institutions to ignore and dismiss the cries of the marginalized. For example, students of American University demanded accountability from their leaders and helped pass a bill mandating cultural and sensitivity training for all student government office holders. The students of the University of Mississippi pressured student leaders and administrators to address exclusionary symbols, which led to the removal of the Mississippi state flag. The words inclusion and diversity can no longer be used as progress placeholders to pacify students into silence and submission. The leaders, administrators, faculty, and staff of colleges and universities must be held accountable for institutionalizing a safe, challenging academic space that acknowledges, honors, and embraces its students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds.

SASI is honored to stand in solidarity with Concerned Student 1950 until all demands are met fully by administration. We draw power from the words of Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” We will win.

Solidarity forever,
Students Against Social Injustice, United Students Against Sweatshops Local 121

Categories: Grassroots Newswire