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Peoples Climate March Will ‘Literally’ Surround the White House

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:20pm
https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2017/04/18/peoples-climate-march-will-literally-surround-white-house?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

For Immediate Release Tuesday, April 18, 2017 – 3:15pm Contact:

Harrison.beck@peoplesclimate.org

People’s Climate Movement

Mass Mobilization to Show Broad Resistance to Trump Agenda on April 29th

WASHINGTON – The Peoples Climate March announced it will ‘literally’ surround the White House as part of its mass mobilization in Washington, DC on Saturday, April 29th.

Tens of thousands are expected to converge on Washington, DC from virtually every state in the country. In addition, more than 290 sister marches are planned across the country and around the world.

“At 2 PM on April 29th, tens of thousands of people will encircle the White House in Washington D.C. to directly confront Donald Trump and challenge those who are pursuing a right-wing agenda that destroys our environment while favoring corporations and the 1 percent over workers and communities,” said Paul Getsos, National Coordinator for the Peoples Climate Movement. “This administration continues waging attacks on immigrants, Muslims, people of color and LGBTQIA people everyday. This moment will be the highlight of a day that will begin with a march leading from the Capital to Washington Monument.”

The Peoples Climate March will near begin the Capitol, travel up Pennsylvania Avenue, and then surround the entire White House Grounds from 15th Street in the East to 17th Street in the West, and Pennsylvania Avenue in the North to Constitution Avenue in the South. The march will close with a post march rally, concert and gathering at the Washington Monument.

“After 100 days of this administration, it’s our time to show our resilience, to show that we’re still here, that we’re only getting stronger, that we’re multiplying and that we’re never giving up on justice, or on the people,” said Angela Adrar, executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance.  “The Peoples Climate March is about building and deepening connections and linking the intersectionality we need in this moment. On April 30th, our movement will be stronger and more prepared to rise than on April 29th but we will need everyone to rise together.”

“Around this country, working people understand that we don’t have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment; we can and must have both,” said Kim Glas, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Together we can tackle climate change in a way that will ensure all Americans have the opportunity to prosper and live in neighborhoods where they can breathe their air and drink their water. We will build a clean economy that leaves no one behind.”

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The Peoples Climate Movement is a groundbreaking coalition of indigenous, youth, Latino, environmental, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based and immigrant groups and labor unions demanding an economy and a government that works for working people and the planet.

The post Peoples Climate March Will ‘Literally’ Surround the White House appeared first on It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance.

It Takes Roots is continuing to #GrowTheResistance

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:47am

Today, we are launching our 10k by May Day Fundraising Campaign: #GiveToGrow!

As you know, we are working with our It Takes Roots partners and The Majority to take Trans-Local action on May Day. May Day emerged out of the fight for an 8-hour day in 1886 in Chicago, where striking workers clashed with police, resulting in several deaths and four of the protesters were later hanged. In the context of a new President using grandiose promises of job creation to mask the fundamentally anti-worker and pro-corporation nature of his policies, it is as important as ever that we put forth a true vision of economic and worker justice for all people and a Just Transition on this day.

This administration is intent on destroying our bodies, our homes, our communities and Planet Earth. Will you join us to stop them, and help build the world we want to live in? From the People’s Climate March to May Day and beyond.

Give to grow the resistance and help us raise 10k by May Day!

Donate here to get us started!

Our beautiful It Takes Roots to Grow The Resistance T-shirts are on sale here for one week only. Sale proceeds go to cultivating our power, because we give to grow. Click here to purchase by Tuesday April 18.

 

Want to be an even dreamier supporter? Contact Egina at (eginaggj@gmail.com) to create your own fundraising page, or to pledge a matching gift for our campaign.

 

Beyond the Moment

BTM is gaining energy across the country. Check out the exciting recent coverage of BTM and The Majority. Huffington Post  Alternet Mic.com

 

Tonight at 9PM EST / 6PM PST join the first weekly Beyond The Moment May Day Planning call to share action plans, learn about actions being planned across the country and join this critical cross-sector mobilization to fight for our people and the planet.

And if your organization is planning a May Day Action tell us about it here!

You must register to participate in these planning calls at: bit.ly/btmccall

 

People’s Climate Movement

Check out this video that highlights It Takes Roots members as the March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice approaches!

Do you or your organization want to attend the March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice or have a sister march in your community?

Connect with Senowa Mize-Fox (smizefox@gmail.com) to get started.

 

SAVE THE DATE – FRIDAY APRIL 28 at 2pm

JOIN THE IT TAKES ROOTS RED LINE ACTION in DC

WEAR RED

 

Join us April 28th in Washington DC as we unite as Mother Earth’s RED LINE to take direct action against the corporations and politicians driving the extractive economy.

The day before the People’s Climate Mobilization (link), on April 29th, we’ll form a red line to defend our planet, protect our people & communities.  The Red Line is a line that cannot be crossed. We draw a red line through the militarization of the federal budget, and the rising wars at home and abroad, and the “dig, burn, dump” economy. We hold a red line to defend our environment, our homes, our families and our future generations. We will work to build a just transition towards “local, living economies” where communities and workers are in charge.  We demand an investment in communities and sustainability, and a divestment from militarism and extraction. t

Will you hold Mother Earth’s Red Line with Indigenous, Black, Brown and Frontline communities on April 28th?

Contact Jaron (jaron@ggjalliance.org) to get involved! Or sign up on our facebook event page (link), more details to come.

SAVE-THE-DATE

Why?

We are building a just transition in our communities, moving away from capitalism and exploitation of our bodies and the earth and towards sustainable and healthy solutions. We are taking action to stop pollution and poverty at the source, confronting multinational corporations that profit from and create the current climate crisis.

Where?

In the streets of Washington DC. Details to come.

When?

On April 28th, the day before the March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice, at 2PM

How?

We will be forming Mother Earth’s Red Line. We will need YOU to be there to defend, resist, and protect. Wear red.

Donate to It Takes Roots: http://bit.ly/ITR-donate?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

The post It Takes Roots is continuing to #GrowTheResistance appeared first on It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance.

Here’s how environmental justice leaders are pushing forward in the Trump era

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:31am

Clockwise, from top left: Angela Adrar, Charles Ellison, Cecilia Martinez, Denise Abdul-Rahman, Elizabeth Yeampierre. image via Grist.com

https://medium.com/@UrbanResilience/heres-how-environmental-justice-leaders-are-pushing-forward-in-the-trump-era-dd5e133aa592?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

A round-table of environmental justice advocates share their thoughts on the climate challenges (and opportunities) in the time of Trump.

By Laurie Mazur

These are challenging times for environmental justice — at least at the federal level. Earlier this month, Mustafa Ali, who led environmental justice work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, resigned rather than preside over the dismantling of his program.

To understand the prospects for environmental justice work in Trump’s America, we gathered (by phone) an impressive cadre of leaders from across the country:

Charles Ellison, contributing politics editor for TheRoot.com and founding principal of B|E Strategy, moderated the conversation.

Q. Ellison: In the Trump era, the prospects for progress on environmental justice at the federal level seem rather grim. But even in this political landscape, there’s discussion about building alternative systems. What are those exactly?

A. Martinez: When the political system does not provide for the common good, those that deal with the consequences have to be creative, innovative, and action-oriented. And we do see that. All kinds of communities are coming together to try and figure out how to build systems that are both environmentally sustainable and equitable. Cities are leaders in developing plans on climate action and adaptation, irrespective of what federal legislation or international agreements are in place. That kind of action is feeding into a locally based national and international movement. The challenge continues, though, to move states and cities to incorporate justice into their institutional work.

Abdul-Rahman: Communities on the front lines can lead the way. We’ve formed a group called Women’s Voices Unheard [in Indianapolis], and we’re asking the women about their concerns and issues. We give them the tools and the knowledge they need to speak for themselves.

We look at the contrasts between communities. Who gets to have an aesthetically pleasing environment? Which community gets the natural gas plant that emits methane, or the coal-fired power plant? Who gets to decide about issues affecting the community? Then we look at another vision of how we can control our own destiny by honing in on solar and wind, and how our communities can benefit by getting the training and the jobs. We present another vision of the future, where we as human beings and as communities can change our own destiny. We can utilize our power and speak truth to power.

Adrar: With the issues we’re facing in frontline communities, we can go issue by issue, rule by rule — or we can look at the underlying root causes. We see the enclosure of wealth and power; Trump’s cabinet is one of the wealthiest in modern history. That creates an opening for greater extraction of fossil fuels and more human rights violations in our communities. So as our Native friends [who’ve been] marching in D.C. are saying, we have to end this colonial mindset.

Yeampierre: We need to build an economy that is not extractive, but regenerative. In our industrial waterfront community [in Brooklyn], we’ve been working with industries to operate in a way that’s cleaner, retrofitting to reduce emissions. Our vision is to use the industrial waterfront as a place that creates good jobs in green industries — like building offshore wind turbines or community-owned solar. We see this as a solution that could prevent people from getting displaced, while addressing climate change and environmental justice.

Q. Ellison: Displacement is a big problem: As people are pushed out of gentrifying cities, we are seeing the rise of poverty in suburban areas and surrounding exurbs. How do you discuss and address that?

A. Martinez: I think it points to the deep structural issue that Angela talked about. There was a racial and class dimension to suburbanization in the first place. Suburbanization could not have happened without federal policy constructing a highway system that destroyed many communities of color. The reason many of our communities of color are in the state that they are in is because of federal policy and housing policy that promoted segregation, and redlining that extracted capital from certain communities to the benefit of others. So it was not an equal process.

We’ve been able to institute some policies and laws that hopefully prevent the most egregious of those abuses, but the reality is that the dynamic still continues. So now white middle-class people are leaving the suburbs, which leaves these areas open to people of color and low-income communities. The amenities move with the capital and with the middle class, and the low-income communities that are left behind suffer.

Q. Ellison: Those low-income communities of color are going through some real struggles and disruptions on the economic front. So there’s got to be a tug-of-war between the need for jobs and economic growth in those communities and protecting the environment and the climate. How do you strike that balance?

A. Yeampierre: It doesn’t have to be one or the other. The clean energy jobs we are promoting in the industrial waterfront pay $60,000 a year, and come with benefits. That would make it possible to retain the community, to keep people from being displaced. But the New York City Economic Development Corporation is going with conventional development models that would basically turn our community into a workforce for the privileged in their own communities. There is an opportunity to do it differently — to address climate change and create jobs.

I completely agree with what Cecilia is saying. In our community, we’ve had to bear all the environmental burdens. But the moment we start fighting for the amenities, all of the sudden we can’t afford to live here anymore. Even our successes have displaced us. So our park, our greenway, the fact that we stopped a power plant from being sited in the neighborhood — all of our victories are being used by developers to displace us.

Martinez: The reality — at least in the communities I work with — is that people are very aware of environmental issues and that it isn’t a tradeoff between economic development and environmental sustainability precisely because of the public health impact. So in our communities — whether they’re Latino, African-American, or Native — there isn’t the kind of disconnect that is popularly assumed between environmental sustainability and economic development. The question is, how do we bring those two together with the appropriate investment and in a way that is equitable and provides the kind of benefits these communities have been lacking in the past?

Adrar: I really appreciate that because, based on the intersectional work we’ve been doing since the administration came into power, it’s clear that groups are mobilizing around environmental issues in a way that makes sense to them, using a different narrative than what we’ve been used to hearing in the media around carbon emissions.

We understand that climate change is a catastrophe: It’s going to lead to flooding, droughts, and it’s going to shift migration around the country and around the world. But groups are looking at how to create solutions for that. We are talking about a “just transition” away from the extractive economy and creating tools for reinvestment in communities. We want to create safeguards and make sure that public investment goes into these communities in ways that lead to community control of energy and resources. I just got off a Movement for Black Lives conversation yesterday and they’re talking about divestment and reinvestment. Indigenous groups have moved incredible amounts of money from the fossil fuel industry.

Q. Ellison: Does the new political and social environment change how you think and strategize?

A. Abdul-Rahman: Indiana is now a hyper-conservative state, and we are continuously battling a lot of bad policy. So we find ourselves battling redistricting deals and anti-Ban the Box laws and laws against obstruction of traffic to prevent folks from being able to protest. For us it just means we need to organize more intensely and intentionally. For example, our communities — when they’re inundated with pollution — need to advocate for community benefits agreements, so they can benefit from the jobs and the movement of making their communities cleaner and better.

Q. Ellison: The innovation sector is so focused right now on creating technologies of convenience and efficiency. The word disruption is used quite a bit. What sort of pressure could we put on the innovation sector, on Silicon Valley, to develop technologies that help heal the planet?

A. Yeampierre: I think that these innovators should have people representing frontline communities at the table before they even shape these technologies. There is technology called carbon capture and sequestrationthat we oppose because it keeps us dependent on coal and other fossil fuels. So although it may be innovative, it is still not environmentally just.

So these folks could start by having a conversation with communities, saying, “What do you need, and how can we use our skills, our resources, our power, and our access to technology to address community needs?” Instead, what they do — because they’re competitive and top-down and their behavior mirrors the problem that got us here in the first place — they create technology that we then have to stop, to react to, to respond to.

Adrar: At COP22 at Marrakesh [the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference], when [then-Secretary of State] John Kerry said that the private sector was going to be the savior of the climate, we knew there was going to be favoritism toward techno-fixes and market-based solutions. I don’t want our energy sector to make the same mistakes that the industrial agriculture sector made. We’re overproducing food, but there are still hungry people on the planet, and we’ve overlooked ancestral wisdom and knowledge from native peoples, peasants, and people who’ve lived on the land.

Martinez: We have to keep in mind that technology is not neutral. Technology embodies certain social and political principles, for better or worse. Our energy system is a major contributor to climate change, and we have not integrated its social cost, its environmental cost in the market of technology development. We have an obese energy system, which is geared toward producing an abundant supply of energy year after year, into the next century. But what is the role of our community in managing, operating, and making decisions about that energy system? We need to ask: Energy for what? And energy for whom? And how do we incorporate those costs? That’s inherently what energy democracy is all about.

Q. Ellison: What are you working on right now?

A. Adrar: What aren’t we working on? A lot of our groups are working on rapid response, collaborating to be more responsive to direct threats to communities — on issues like immigration, police abuses and the defense of black lives, and the indigenous struggle. The Climate Justice Alliance just put forth a new strategy plan that has an ambitious goal of developing 50 Just Transition campaignsaround the country, which means we’ll be working with communities to understand the framework, share tools, and develop collective strategies.

Yeampierre: We’ve got three community-owned solar initiatives, and we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what governance and financial engineering look like for a utility that would be owned by low-income people. And, in partnership with the Climate Justice Alliance, we are organizing the largest gathering of young people of color on climate change in the country, scheduled for Aug. 3 this year at Union Theological Seminary.

Abdul-Rahman: Our main mission is to work on energy-efficiency policy and climate resistance and moving more renewable, clean energy. In East Chicago, where drinking water is contaminated by lead, we are delivering water and filters and helping the people lift up their narrative. We recently filed a petition with some other groups to rebuild East Chicago’s water infrastructure, which is connected to making the community resistant to climate change and creating a new vision. In lieu of being gentrified, could we build affordable housing there? Could this affordable housing have solar on it? And who gets to build that? We want to help move that community forward toward a just transition.

Martinez: We are continuing to do research on how you develop climate-resilience indicators from the perspective of communities, particularly communities of color and low-income communities. I think everybody on this call is also working on a very important national initiative called Building Equity and Alignment for Impact, which is about shifting philanthropic and other resources to grassroots community organizations and environmental justice groups that have not been funded at the level of larger mainstream environmental work. And, given that the federal state of the art right now is problematic for moving environmental justice issues, we continue to look for other policy levers at the state and local level.

Laurie Mazur is editor of the Island Press Urban Resilience Project, which is supported by The Kresge Foundation and The JPB Foundation.

This article was originally published March 30, 2017 in Grist.

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It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance: National Alliances Unite Hundreds of Grassroots Organizations Leading with Alternative Vision

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 9:47pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONTACT:

Beth Patel, ITRpressinquiries@gmail.com, 916-806-4004

 

Date: March 27th, 2017

 

UNITED STATESIt Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance joins together four powerful alliances of grassroots activists and frontline communities’ leaders: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Climate Justice Alliance, the Right to the City Alliance, and the Indigenous Environmental Network. Working alongside Center for Story-based Strategy and The Ruckus Society, It Takes Roots will collaborate closely with Movement for Black Lives, People’s Climate Movement and Design Action Collective utilizing opportunities for convergence to build power at the local, state, tribal and regional levels. The It Takes Roots collaboration between grassroots social movements began during the organizing for the People’s Climate March in 2014, and continued through international climate justice mobilizations to Paris COP21 and Morocco COP22, as well as a “People’s Caravan” during the 2016 elections from the Republican National Convention to the Democratic National Convention.

 

Collectively representing over 150 grassroots membership organizations in 30 states nationwide and in Canada, It Takes Roots is a broad call to action to resist policies that attack LGBTQ, immigrant, and Muslim communities, labor, people of color and women and build long-term power across social movements to build a society that supports the dignity of all. The grassroots organizations represented are intergenerational, comprising a mix of youth organizers and veteran community leaders, who hail from Indigenous, African American, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and rural white communities.

 

Upcoming work will include participation in the People’s Climate March, and nationwide mobilizations on May 1st. Additionally, It Takes Roots will form “Resistance Hubs” to bring together hundreds in small towns and large cities across the United States to provide direct action trainings, visioning, rapid response strategies, and more.

 

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Social Justice Groups Unite Against Trump’s Deadly, Bloated War Budget

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 2:18pm

Photo Credit: oneinchpunch / Shutterstock.com

 

http://www.alternet.org/world/social-justice-groups-unite-against-trumps-deadly-bloated-war-budget?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Coalition ties military spending to crises of climate change, poverty and violence.

By Sarah Lazare / AlterNet April 4, 2017

Fifty years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. denounced the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism, a coalition of racial, social, economic and gender justice groups is condemning Donald Trump’s proposal to dramatically increase funding for the greatest purveyor of violence in the world: the U.S. military.

“We and the movements we are part of face multiple crises,” reads a joint statement signed by Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, and representatives of a broad swath of social movements, including Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, U.S. Labor Against the War and CodePink.

The statement takes aim at Donald Trump’s proposed $54 billion increase to the U.S war budget, proclaiming, “Military and climate wars are destroying lives and environments, threatening the planet and creating enormous flows of desperate refugees. Violent racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia and other hatreds are rising, encouraged by the most powerful voices in Washington DC.”

According to an announcement emailed to AlterNet by organizers, the statement of principle is part of a “broad-based #No$54BillionforWar Campaign, which includes city-based resolutions against increased military spending.”

Phyllis Bennis, senior fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies, told AlterNet, “Fifty years ago, Dr. King taught us about the evil triplets of racism, poverty and militarism. He said that ‘a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.’”

“I think that the lesson from his ‘Beyond Vietnam’ speech is precisely his recognition of the necessity of building the links, understanding you cannot separate racism from war, poverty from racism or war from poverty,” Bennis continued.

Inspired by Dr. King, the initiative is in good company. A new coalition called the Majority is also launching a campaign from April 4 to May Day to build a “multi-racial, cross-movement fight for justice, freedom and the right to live fully, with dignity and respect. The 50-organization-strong initiative includes the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Mijente, Fight for $15, Indigenous Environmental Network and many more organizations. The effort draws from broad legacies of the Black Freedom movement in the United States.

The campaigns come amid a groundswell of protests, from massive demonstrations and direct actions to strikes and popular assemblies.

In its statement, the coalition notes, “Washington’s militarized foreign policy comes home as domestic law enforcement agencies acquire military equipment and training from the Pentagon and from military allies abroad. Impoverished communities of color see and face the power of this equipment regularly, in the on-going domestic wars on drugs and immigrants. This military-grade equipment is distributed and used by many of the same private companies that profit from mass incarceration and mass deportation.”

“Our environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent,” the statement continues. “We need to transform our economy, our politics, our policies and our priorities to reflect that reality. That means reversing the flow of our tax dollars, away from war and militarism, and towards funding human and environmental needs, and demanding support for that reversal from all our political leaders at the local, state and national levels.”

Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.

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More Than 50 Organizations Unite To Launch Nationwide Social Change Campaign

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 2:10pm

Charlotte Observer via Getty Images

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/more-than-50-organizations-unite-to-launch-nationwide-social-change-campaign_us_58e3d002e4b0d0b7e1653798?&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

“People who believe in freedom, justice and the humanity of all people are the majority, and we’ve had enough.”

By Lily Workneh

More than 50 social justice organizations have united to form a new coalition to combat injustice and fight for equality on behalf of all marginalized groups.

The newly-formed group called “The Majority” includes organizations like the Black Lives Matter network, NAACP, Fight for $15, Indigenous Environmental Network, Black Youth Project, Dream Defenders, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement and more. Together, they plan to unite activists across all fields to rally around shared values and intersecting struggles.

As part of their first full-fledged effort, The Majority launched Beyond The Moment on Tuesday, an effort that aims to educate people across the country about important political issues and engage them in various organized efforts to speak out against issues that could harm marginalized communities most. The campaign, which kicks off on April 4, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, and ends on May 1, the national day of action, includes a series of events, protests, rallies and teach-ins designed to attract people of all backgrounds and ethnicities to stand up against both local and national issues.

Some of the events occurring in different cities throughout the month include the Resist. Reimagine. Rebuild. Citywide Teach-in in Chicago, IL, the #NoCopsInSchool rally in Madison, WI and the Still Fighting for the Dream event in Detroit, MI.

BTM Beyond The Moment is listing information about all of its actions on its website.

“In the context of Trump’s presidency, it is imperative that we put forth a true, collective vision of economic justice and worker justice, for all people,” The Majority said in a statement sent to The Huffington Post.

The Majority was largely put together by The Movement for Black Lives, which is a network that includes several organizations focused on a “hopeful and inclusive vision of Black joy, safety and prosperity,” according to the coalition’s website. 

“In this moment, Black and Brown people, immigrant communities, the economically unstable, women, children, the disabled, the LGBTQ community, those working to protect our right to work and those fighting for our right to clean air and water, are all facing attacks because a minority whose values are rooted in white supremacy, division and hatred have taken power,” a statement on the website reads.

“Although in power, hate is not the majority,” it notes. “People who believe in freedom, justice and the humanity of all people are the majority, and we’ve had enough.”

For more information on Beyond The Moment, check out www.beyondthemoment.org?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss or use the hashtag #beyondthemoment.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misreported the name of the Beyond The Moment campaign.

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Diverse Protest Groups Unite As ‘The Majority,’ Aiming for Large-Scale Demonstrations on May 1st

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 2:07pm

Photo Credit: Movement For Black Lives

http://www.alternet.org/activism/diverse-protest-groups-unite-majority-aiming-large-scale-demonstrations-may-1st?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

A new coalition emerges.

By Sarah Lazare/Alternet | April 1, 2017

On April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “Beyond Vietnam” speech in which he denounced the scourges of “poverty, racism, and militarism.” Exactly one year later, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, while organizing alongside black sanitation workers and preparing to launch the Poor People’s Campaign.

Now, 50 years after Dr. King’s historic address, a new coalition called “The Majority” is emerging to tackle the triple evils identified by Dr. King and build a “multi-racial, cross-movement fight for justice, freedom and the right to live fully, with dignity and respect,” according to a statement emailed to AlterNet. This 50-organization-strong initiative includes the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Mijente, Fight for $15, Indigenous Environmental Network and many more organizations.

“The goal of the coalition is to create space where we can come out of our silos as people who do social and racial justice work,” said Chelsea Fuller, an organizer with the Movement for Black Lives and a member of The Majority, in an interview with AlterNet. “We want to come together to say that racism, anti-blackness, capitalism and militarism affect all of our communities. They are central to the issues that we are all fighting.”

Marisa Franco, director of Mijente, emphasized in a press statement, “The shared attacks our communities are facing mean that we have a shared fate and shared work to do together. We cannot defend ourselves if we do it alone, and we cannot build sanctuary for some of us without it being something that protects all of us.”

The initiative comes amid uprisings and protest. Trump’s inauguration was greeted with massive demonstrations and direct actions in Washington, D.C., and across the country, and then millions around the world took to the streets as part of the Women’s March. Since then, protesters have flooded airports, staged strikes and coordinated actions across the country, organized popular assemblies and mobilized to defend their neighbors.

Those organizing with The Majority coalition seek to unite front-lines movements and rally behind a vision rooted in historical perspective.

Organizers say they draw inspiration from King’s 1967 speech, but ultimately credit the broader social movement that he was part of. “While we use the date of Dr. King’s historic speech and tragic assassination as a beginning point for our 2017 mobilization, we reject any analysis that would suggest that Dr. King was singularly responsible for the movement,” said the Majority. “That’s why on April 4th, we will also teach and learn about grassroots organizers who were the backbone of the Black Freedom Movement, and other social justice movements in the U.S. and globally.”

The Majority’s new initiative, “Beyond the Moment: Uniting Movements from April 4th to May Day,” is book-ended by another historical marker: International Workers’ Day.

“May 1st or May Day (International Worker’s Day) emerged out of the fight for an eight-hour workday in 1886 in Chicago. On this day, striking workers clashed with police, resulting in several deaths—four of the protesters were later hanged,” writes The Majority. “In the context of a new president using grandiose promises of job creation to mask the fundamentally anti-worker and pro-corporation nature of his policies, it is imperative that we put forth a true, collective vision of economic justice and worker justice, for all people.”

“Between April 4 and May Day, there will be a combination of mass political education and direct actions that will take place across the country,” said Fuller. “Right now, folks are still planning their actions, teach-ins, seminars, protests and mass marches. The organizations taking part have membership and reach to groups all over the country.”

Meanwhile, momentum for a massive May Day strike appears to be growing. Earlier this month, a network of more than 300,000 farmworkers, servers, cooks and food-manufacturers, including a large local chain of the Service Employees International Union, announced that they will join the walkout “to stop the relentless attacks of the Trump administration and its allies in corporate America.” Immigrant justice organizations, including Movimiento Cosecha, or Harvest Movement, have spent months organizing across the country for Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes (A Day Without Immigrants) to win the “permanent protection, dignity, and respect of immigrants.”

“The time has never been more urgent for grassroots communities to fight for our lives and liberation together in a multi-racial and intergenerational movement,” said Cindy Wiesner of It Takes Roots, one of the many organization members of The Majority.

“We’re joining together with the Movement for Black Lives because our two movements have a common bond in fighting the racism that keeps down people of color everywhere,” said Latierika Blair, 23, a worker at McDonald’s in Memphis, earning $7.35 an hour. “McDonald’s conspires with police to try to silence us when we speak out for higher pay. Corporations and politicians act to keep workers and black people from getting ahead in America. We should be investing in our people and communities. That’s why we have to protest, and that’s why we will keep speaking out together until we win.”

Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.

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Meet the New Social Change Coalition: ‘The Majority’

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 2:00pm

Black Lives Matter activists march in St. Paul, Minnesota on October 4, 2015. (AP Photo / Craig Lassig)

https://www.thenation.com/article/black-lives-matter-just-launched-a-major-campaign-for-the-age-of-trump/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

A new coalition is challenging Trump’s agenda with a radical vision of their own.

By Collier Meyerson

elcome to The Majority, a new coalition encompassing more than 50 organizations and groups, including the Black Lives Matter Global Network. On Thursday, The Majority announced its first national campaign: Beyond the Moment. From April 4 to International Workers’ Day on May 1, participating organizations will hold a series of actions across the country aimed at raising awareness around issues including white supremacy, economic justice, reproductive justice, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, and attacks on Muslim communities. The focus, under the new administration, is to bring together activists, organizers, and groups with different missions—from the Fight for $15 to indigenous land rights.

Beyond the Moment is the first major national campaign launched by the newly formed Majority, but it’s not exactly the first time we’ve heard from them. Many of the participating organizations come out of the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), another BLM organizing coalition that released an official platform last August with a list of 40 policy recommendations and demands focusing on a wide range of issues including demilitarization of police forces, decriminalization of drugs, and expanding unionization in industries that are largely nonunion, like on-demand economy jobs like Uber or Lyft. The platform was received as the first centrally planned document to emerge from BLM, a movement that had been criticized for being diffuse, and for failing to articulate policy goals. But that was before Donald Trump was elected, when many assumed the political future of the United States would be quite different.

This new organizing body, which involves many of the same players as in past iterations of BLM, comes three months into Donald Trump’s presidency. Organizers, however, are careful to point out that while the fight looks different under a Trump administration, the tenets of the movement, laid out back in August, remain the same. “These actions that we’re taking from April 4 to May 1 are a resistance against Trump and his administration, but it’s also part of a long-term strategy to build a world where people can live in dignity and where we can situate people at the margins to have power,” Patrisse Cullors, one of the three founders of BLM, told me over the phone.

BLM is often understood as a series of protests in response to the indiscriminate killings of black Americans by law enforcement, but the first day of action planned by the Majority, on April 4, will include protests in two dozen cities centered on the fight for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, an issue that disproportionately impacts people of color. It’s proof that BLM is working to become a broader movement.

“One place where you’ll see depth in the conversation is around protecting our communities,” Cullors told me. “That means from ICE raids, and from further criminalization and violence.” Cullors said that this new iteration of the movement is not just about “campaigns and strategic plans” but a broad-based movement that coalesces around the idea of sanctuary for all.

Marisa Franco, director of Mijente, a Latinx rights organization, is one of the organizers of Beyond the Moment, and echoes Cullors’s point about the need to embrace inclusivity. “We can’t say, ‘hey don’t let ICE on your campus’ and not call out over-policing of people of color on college campuses. We can’t celebrate local police who might consider not working with ICE but who over-police and won’t make those same proclamations for other communities of color,” Franco said.

The planned actions, between April 4 and May 1, may mark a shift into national action for the movement, but Cullors reminds me that BLM is a movement that is rooted in local communities. Every community faces different challenges, Cullors explained to me, and emphasized the importance of organizers to continue to do work to secure “protection” for individual communities after May Day.

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Protest groups to unite as “The Majority” for massive actions across the country on May 1

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 1:34pm

Source: AP

https://mic.com/articles/171880/protest-groups-to-unite-as-the-majority-for-massive-actions-across-the-country-on-may-1#.0jzxwlPxQ?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Published March 23, 2017 by

Activist groups are uniting as a broader coalition they’ve dubbed “The Majority,” an idea inspired by the Movement for Black Lives — a collective of organizations in the Black Lives Matter movement — organizers first shared with Mic on Thursday.

More than 50 partners representing black, Latino, the indigenous, LGBTQ, refugees, immigrants, laborers and the poor will collaborate from April 4 through May 1, International Worker’s Day, when they’ll launch massive protests across the country.

The action will “go beyond moments of outrage, beyond narrow concepts of sanctuary, and beyond barriers between communities that have much at stake and so much in common,” The Majority states on its BeyondtheMoment.org website, which officially launches Thursday.

A screenshot of The Majority’s website, set to officially launch March 27 Source: Mic/BeyondTheMoment.org

“We will strike, rally and resist,” the coalition, which includes the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change and Mijente, among others, wrote on its website.

Leading up to Donald Trump‘s inauguration, many U.S. activist groups worked in silos on strategies to resist the conservative political agenda that they agree is an existential threat to women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and the environment. Trump’s first 100 days in office had been chocked full of executive orders, budgets and legislative proposals that go directly against what these activists have long been fighting for.

“Even though the election results showed one thing, the reality is that the majority of us are under attack and this is a moment for us to step into something together,” Navina Khanna, director of the Health, Environment, Agriculture, and Labor Food Alliance in Oakland, California, said in a phone interview. HEAL is a part of The Majority. “This is about really learning to see our issues as one, and our struggles as one.”

A Black Lives Matter supporter demonstrate outside of Trump Tower in New York City.Source: Dominick Reuter/Getty Images

The “Beyond the Moment” initiative kicks off April 4 with “serious political education with our bases,” according to the website. In the weeks leading up to the mass mobilizations on May 1, they will hold public teach-ins and workshops nationwide. The desired outcome is a “broad intersectional, cross-sectoral” and influential unity on the left, activists said.

The idea for Beyond the Moment was derived from the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, in which he spoke out against racism, materialism and militarism — all broader and more-inclusive themes than his earlier anti-Jim Crow campaigns. The coalition said it chose April 4 as the kickoff for political education because that is date that King delivered the speech in 1967 and the date on which he was assassinated a year later.

Although anti-Trumpism has been a unifying cause — protests in major U.S. cities have occurred almost weekly around the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban, Standing Rock policies and transgender rights rollback — The Majority said it wants supporters to think beyond this president.

“In the context of a new president using grandiose promises of job creation to mask the fundamentally anti-worker and pro-corporation nature of his policies, it is as important as ever that we put forth a true vision of economic justice, and worker justice, for all people,” the coalition website states.

March 27, 2017, 3:52 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated to reflect that the launch of the website, BeyondTheMoment.org, has been pushed back to Thursday.

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VOICES FROM THE #INAUGURATE THE RESISTANCE MASS PROTEST AT TRUMP’S INAUGURATION

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 1:26pm

http://onthegroundshow.org/2017/01/on-the-ground-show-for-january-27-2017-voices-from-the-inaugurate-the-resistance-mass-protest-at-trumps-inauguration-gerald-horne-on-trumps-first-week-in-office-including-threats-to-voti/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

UNHEARD VOICES FROM THE ONLY PERMITTED PROTEST AT THE INAUGURATION OF DONALD TRUMP. WE HEAR FROM AMONG THE MORE THAN 10,000 ACTIVISTS, ARTISTS, SCHOLARS, RELATIVES OF THOSE SLAIN BY THE POLICE WHO GATHERED. WE COVER OUR HEADLINES A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY TODAY AS A DISCUSSION WITH THE AUTHOR AND ACTIVIST PROFESSOR GERALD HORNE WHO IS A FREQUENT CONTRIBUTOR TO THIS SHOW AND ACROSS THE PACIFICA NETWORK. HEADLINES ON TRUMP’S FIRST WEEK IN OFFICE.

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Three Quarters of a Million People Showed Up For Women’s March in Los Angeles

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 1:23pm

Rising Up With Sonali

01.23.17 – 8:00AM

https://kpfa.org/episode/rising-up-with-sonali-january-23-2017/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

On today’s show we’ll bring you a special report from the streets of Los Angeles, one of hundreds of cities where mobilizations against Trump’s agenda took place. And, we’ll hear from Angela Adrar, Executive Director of the Our Power Campaign and Climate Justice Alliance. She was one of thousands of people on the streets of Washington DC on inauguration day. She’ll tell us how women of color are on the front lines of the resistance to Trump. Finally, Sarah Van Gelder of Yes! Magazine will join us to discuss her very relevant book, The Revolution Where You Live – it’s a survey of the powerful grassroots organizing that is already happening on a local level around the US, critical for surviving the next 4 years.

Hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar.

The post Three Quarters of a Million People Showed Up For Women’s March in Los Angeles appeared first on It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance.

People of color are bracing for climate injustice under Trump

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 1:20pm
‘Our communities are in harm’s way of unmitigated climate disruption.’ Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/19/trump-administration-climate-change-people-of-color-injustice?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Elizabeth C Yeampierre

When things are bad for everyone, they are particularly bad for people of color. The Trump administration is about to legitimize injustice in all of our communities. People of color have endured the extraction of our land and labor – and its legacy – since the creation of these United States. Now, we are bracing ourselves for worse things to come.

The environmental and climate justice movement has had substantial successes on both the local and national fronts. We have cleaned up brownfields, stopped the siting of power plants, facilitated community-based planning for climate adaption and resilience, all while developing a framework known as Just Transitions, which rejects the “dig, burn, dump” economy and wants to push it away from an extractive economy to a regenerative one.

Always frontline-led and solutions–oriented, we have been working diligently to operationalize this transition through such initiatives as community-owned solar, offshore wind and local cooperatives that model another way to live without a carbon footprint. Energized by the momentum created by the People’s Climate March and the breadth of knowledge shared by the Climate Justice Alliance’s Our Power Campaign, the last few years have been all about the possibilities.

And then Trump was elected.

The solutions to unresolved environmental justice crises in low-income communities of color that the environmental and climate justice movement and allies have been diligently working to resolve now suddenly appear unattainable.

In the fight for climate justice, indigenous people set the path – and lead the way Julian Brave NoiseCat Read more

Over a year ago, Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan. While it is vanished from the daily news cycle, very little has changed for the residents of Flint, Michigan. The capital to replace the water service lines has not been secured, and they are still relying on bottled water indefinitely. What is the future of this community under the Trump administration?

The federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice had a modest success in the area of environmental health. However, there was at least a commitment built into the institutions to addressing the needs of communities disparately impacted by environmental burdens.

This commitment provided our communities federal resources to educate and remediate problems locally. Those federal resources will no longer exist. And foundation dollars will start being offered to large organizations to address the needs of the frontline, displacing the local leadership of the grassroots.

The Gulf South is experiencing 1,000-year storms on a regular basis. South Florida experiences floods from sea level rise absent any storm activity. And in Brooklyn, New York, despite Superstorm Sandy, municipal leadership is so beholden to real estate interests that they disregard opportunities to operationalize Just Transitions that will address the region’s climate needs.

This market-driven real estate perspective, now extending from City Hall to the Oval Office, puts our communities in harm’s way of unmitigated climate disruption.

At the center of all this is Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter, symbols and anchors of intersectionality and community power. Environmental and climate justice have always operated at that intersection of racial, social, gender and economic justice.

Our communities across the nation have struggled but survived with administrations that moved slowly. We have never faced an administration that on all underlying tenets of climate justice – including the very existence of climate change – is at best indifferent and at worst actively antagonistic.

The appointments of climate denier Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, fossil fuel-backed Ryan Zinke as head of Department of Interior, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, neo-Confederate Jeff Sessions as attorney general and fast food executive Andrew Puzder as secretary of labor all constitute direct attacks on these tenets and communities of color.

As we face a full-scale assault on our very existence, we are planning, organizing, building, educating and resisting with an understanding of what this means for our communities.

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Protesters take to DC streets to slam Trump’s agenda

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 1:17pm

It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance protesters were out in force on Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C. Friday morning. (TMN Intern)

http://www.talkmedianews.com/featured/2017/01/20/protesters-take-to-dc-streets-to-slam-trumps-agenda/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

By TMN Interns

Published

January 20, 2017

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Women of Color March on Washington

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 1:15pm

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=18189&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Amid controversy and concerns about inclusivity, marchers of color call for continued resistance to all forms of oppression CROWDS: (cheering) … We will not support a Trump Supreme Court…DHARNA NOOR: The Women’s March on Washington is being called one of the largest demonstrations in U.S. history. The Real News is here to catch up with some demonstrators about the issues that they think will face women, and specifically women of color, with the coming Trump administration.Hundreds of thousands of people took to the street in opposition to President Donald Trump’s policy proposals and rhetoric. A crowd so massive, that organizers decided to call off the planned march to the White House. Marchers expressed a number of concerns about what Trump’s administration will mean for women in the U.S.WOMAN: If 50% of Congress could, like, have children, or were women, then we wouldn’t be arguing about half of the stuff we are, especially reproductive rights.WOMAN: Equal pay, affordable healthcare, women’s rights.WOMAN: Well, I’m worried about healthcare and reproductive rights, of course, and abortion access.WOMAN: Black people won’t have rights, women won’t have rights, he’s taking away healthcare from children. This is outrageous.CROWD: (indistinct chanting)DHARNA NOOR: Many were also disturbed by Trump’s attitude towards communities of color.WOMAN: He wants to deport all the immigrant, undocumented people.WOMAN: If Trump thinks he runs this town, … will shut it down…DHARNA NOOR: So, lead organizers of color from across the nation came to D.C. to ensure that their voices were heard. Melissa Miles, an organizer with the Ironbound Community Corporation, in Newark, New Jersey, said Trump doesn’t represent the interests of her city.MELISSA MILES: So, how can you have a cabinet full of millionaires, except for at the expense and on the backs of others? So, women, children, immigrants, poor people –- we are on the front lines, and we have been, in this country, all along.DHARNA NOOR: Some were concerned about the role of women of color in the demonstration. Initially, almost all of its main organizers were white. The march was originally called the Million Women March, a name borrowed from the massive 1997 demonstration, organized by and for black women. Ashley and Colby, two D.C. residents grappled with these controversies when deciding whether or not to attend.ASHLEY: We went back and forth about it, because we had some conflicted feelings about how this march started. The lack of inclusivity, the lack of intersectionality, and so we were a little bit… We went to dinner last night and talked about it and we were, like, eh… But we woke up this morning and we felt inspired. We felt like, you know, we can talk about it and blog about it, and write on the Internet about it all day, but it matters when you come out and show up and speak up, and so that’s why we’re here.COLBY: I think there’s support in numbers, there’s strength in numbers. You need black women as part of any revolution, so we’re here, and we’re here to be part of that. There aren’t a ton of us, but we’re happy to be out here with everyone.DHARNA NOOR: Ashley says though at times it’s difficult, having conversations that address these issues is critical in building successful women’s movements.ASHLEY: I think that a lot of women –- white women –- get very defensive about it, and don’t really know how to respond, because they feel like they’ve put so much into it, and how dare anybody, you know, we’re all women, we should come together. We’re sisters, how dare you try to undermine what we’re doing? And it’s not… that’s not what I’m trying to do at all. I’m not trying to undermine it at all. I’m just trying to make it better for next time.DHARNA NOOR: Miles and others expressed the need for resistance beyond the Women’s March, resistance that fights for all women and all people of marginalized communities.MELISSA MILES: We’re here to march. You know, that is largely made up of white women, you know, probably mainstream, which is wonderful. I’m glad Trump pissed them off. But, you know, when black and brown communities come under attack, when immigrant communities come under attack, when Muslims come under attack, I hope they’ll come out in the same force.————————-END

 

 

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After a Weekend of Protests – Now What, California?

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 12:13pm

Oakland, Calif., was the site of one of the state’s almost 50 “sister marches” to the Women’s March on Washington on Sat., Jan. 21. (Oakland Women’s March)

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2017-01-23/energy-policy/after-a-weekend-of-protests-now-what-california/a56061-1?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

January 23, 2017

BERKELEY, Calif. — In California alone, there were nearly 50 “sister marches” in tandem with Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington in the nation’s capital.

Rallies included smaller hamlets – like Santa Maria, Santa Paula and Oxnard, up north – as well as marches in the major metropolitan areas. And many Californians went to the march in Washington, D.C. Ahmina Maxey was among them. She said that for her, it was about advocating for clean energy.

Maxey is based in Berkeley and is the U.S. and Canada regional coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives – so cleaner air is her priority.

“I have asthma, a lot of my family and friends have asthma,” Maxey said. “We are impacted by these poor decisions that our elected officials and their appointees make.”

The latest poll from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and Bill Lane Center for the American West, said that 55 percent of Californians would like to see tax reform from the Trump administration, but almost as many – 48 percent – think repealing the Affordable Care Act is a bad idea.

The Women’s Marches cast a wide net in terms of social justice causes, with participants citing concerns about workers’ rights and reproductive rights, religious freedoms and environmental protections. To keep the momentum, Maxey said the focus now is on providing positive alternatives.

“Not only are we against these things, but we also are really for solutions that we can demonstrate, and that we stand united in,” she said.

Speakers at many of the events urged people to channel their energy and frustration into working to improve their own communities, including running for office.

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Environmental Justice Groups Show How to Organize in the Age of Trump

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 12:09pm

Source: Pixabay

https://nexusmedianews.com/environmental-justice-groups-show-how-to-organize-in-the-age-of-trump-715ec510b636?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

“This is going to bring out the best in us.”

By Jeremy Deaton

For most of 2016, Democrats expected to cruise to an easy electoral victory, claiming the White House — and possibly the Senate — as Republicans flailed on the coattails of Donald Trump. But history took another course. Democrats’ loss in November brought a seismic shift to Washington and highlighted weaknesses in the liberal political structure.

In a recent post for Vox, Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol writes that “liberal groups are fundraising to defend dozens of separate causes or constituencies, playing into conservative plans to fragment their opponents. Conservatives realize that liberalism too often devolves into a weakly coordinated set of interests and causes.”

Skocpol decried a focus on Washington and called for a unified movement committed to grassroots organizing at the state and local level: pressuring elected officials, writing to newspapers, speaking to church groups and talking with friends and neighbors.

But some organizations are already using this approach, and their work could prove instructive to the larger progressive movement.

Intersectionality’s moment

Take environmental justice organizations, local green groups that fight for clean air, safe water and a vibrant economy.

Environmental justice groups operate at the intersection of progressive issues, where liberal constituencies find common cause. Organizers don’t talk about the environment or climate as discrete issues. Rather, they link climate to jobs, health and social justice. They advocate for a just economy, where everyone has the right to be safe and healthy, and everyone has the chance to get ahead. And they work at the grassroots level.

Intersectionality has marked grassroots movements for decades. Cesar Chavez fought for higher wages — and against toxic pesticides on California farms. The United Church of Christ advocated for economic justice — and against a toxic waste landfill in North Carolina. A young Barack Obama worked to bring a jobs center in a depressed community — and to remove asbestos from public housing in Chicago. Today, environmental justice groups are fighting to limit pollution, to build more wind and solar energy — and to create good-paying jobs in their communities.

This could be intersectionality’s moment. The Women’s March on Washington in January was nominally about women — but environmentalists, feminists and social justice warriors marched in lockstep down Constitution Avenue, united by a shared set of values.

Source: UPROSE

Economic justice as a unifier

Progressives, broadly speaking, want to narrow the income gap and build ladders to the middle class. A focus on economic justice can unite progressive groups that have historically found themselves at odds, like environmental organizations and labor unions.

“What role do workers play? What role do community members play in trying to develop an economy that addresses the root causes — not just the symptoms — of economic and environmental inequality,” said Angela Adrar, executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance, a coalition of community environmental groups.

“The economy is a really strong unifier — not only the economy we are trying to move away from, but the one we are trying to build together,” Adrar said.

Critics like to skewer environmentalists for prioritizing conservation over more salient issues, like job growth. More and more, big green groups are talking about economic opportunity, but for environmental justice groups, jobs were always part of the equation.

Elizabeth Yeampierre. Source: UPROSE

“Our communities have to work somewhere. It’s not just enough to have trees and open space,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, head of UPROSE, a Brooklyn-based environmental justice group. “Our communities have to earn a living.”

Yeampierre said that Trump’s allegiance to oil and gas suggests a dated idea of economic development. To beat climate change, she explained, the U.S. will need to invest heavily in wind and solar, a transition that will create middle-class jobs in manufacturing, construction and installation — the kinds of jobs once abundant in U.S. cities.

“We’re talking about an economy that is not extractive, but regenerative — an economy where we have to build for climate adaptation and resilience. If we start building carbon-neutral, that’s new material. Those are blue-collar jobs. That’s infrastructure. That’s wind and solar,” Yeampierre said. “Those are jobs that not only stimulate the local economies where they’re located. Those are also jobs that address the future needs of communities that are going to be mostly impacted by climate change.”

The Women’s March on Washington. Source: Voice of America

Starting at the bottom

In recent years, progressives have focused their time and energy on national politics while left-leaning politicians lost seats in statehouses and city councils around the country. Now, Republicans enjoy historic levels of power, and liberals are looking to regain influence at the local level, largely as a matter of necessity.

“I think it’s time to really focus on organizing locally,” said Luis Garden Acosta, head of El Puente, a community development group based in Brooklyn. “We’ve got to burrow down and organize a strong constituency in this country around climate change policy, and the way to do that is to deal with the issues of the environment at [the local level].”

This is where environmental justice groups are most effective, mobilizing community members around locally relevant issues. They work on environmental challenges at the level where they can be seen and felt, tackling toxic pollution from busy highways and gas-fired power plants that causes heart disease and childhood asthma.

Community members gather at the UPROSE office. Source: UPROSE

Yeampierre explained that progressive donors like to fund larger groups, but she argued that “per dollar, grassroots organizations are always much more effective.” Her group, UPROSE, successfully foughtthe construction of a new gas-fired power plant and secured EPA funds to clean up pollution in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Now, it’s advocating for clean, offshore wind power through public education and local advocacy.

Yeampierre and other environmental organizers said that that big marches and noisy demonstrations are great ways to mobilize people every now and then, but it’s critical to keep community members consistently engaged.

“It’s really important to show up for protests and sit-ins, but we can’t forget about all the work that needs to be done after these are over,” said Brooke Havlik, spokesperson for WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a Harlem-based environmental justice group. “We are really focusing on getting our members to turn out to town halls and political forums.”

Havlik said that organizers need to educate people on the ways that pollution threatens vulnerable groups, like children and the elderly. Organizers need to earn the attention of area news outlets, and they need to urge concerned citizens to speak with their elected officials.

By mobilizing community members around local issues, organizers can build power and gain influence. Eventually, they can work to change federal policy. It was only after years of working at the local level that environmental justice advocates were able to push the EPA to make environmental justice part of its core mission.

“We should continue to shine a spotlight on national policy makers, but we should not depend on that,” said Garden Acosta. “Anything that’s happened in this country in terms of real change has come from the grassroots, and that’s what we have to focus on.”

Leading the resistance

Organizers worry how their communities will fare in the Trump era. Working-class Americans, particularly people of color, are the most likely to breathe polluted air and drink contaminated water, and they are the most vulnerable in the face of a severe storms like Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy. Environmental threats exacerbate inequality, whether in rural Appalachia or the Bronx.

In the face of Trump’s bloated promises to revive coal jobs and his attacks on women and people of color, environmental justice groups plan to lead the resistance to policies that favor the wealthy and disregard the environment.

“We started mobilizing the moment he was elected,” Yeampierre said. “We amped up our mobilizing and our organizing, our base-building and our community education.”

Trump is overwhelmingly appointing wealthy, white men, many of whom are climate change deniers. His cabinet is the richest in history and the first in nearly three decades not to include a Latino. Trump wants to roll back Obama-era environmental protections and slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. And his picks to lead the Justice Department and the EPA are distinct threats to environmental justice.

Source: WE ACT

But, if anything, Trump has catalyzed the movement.

“We’ve been through periods in this country when progressive actions weren’t supported by policy and policymakers, and yet we made great gains,” said Garden Acosta. Adrar echoed his sentiment.

“We’ve never seen a need for civic engagement more than we see it now, and there’s no excuse for anybody not to be engaging with their neighbors, engaging with their community in a way that creates change,” said Adrar. “We have to grow a serious movement from the grassroots in the U.S. that we’ve never seen before.”

Faced with the fight of their lives, organizers feel energized and empowered, ready to take on a hostile administration one battle at a time.

“This is going to bring out the best in us,” said Yeampierre. “This is going to make it possible for us to work more strategically. It’s going to help us build our base. It’s going to help us build a groundswell of climate consciousness. This can either make us or break us, so we are all going to have to be our best selves.”

“You have a government that you could have never imagined,” she said, “but we have to work for a future that we all imagine.”

Jeremy Deaton writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture. You can follow him at @deaton_jeremy

 

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‘We Have to Stand Up for Ourselves’: Women’s March Mobilizes Latinas

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 11:46am

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/we-have-stand-ourselves-women-s-march-mobilizes-latinas-n709861?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Latinas participated in massive marches across the country Saturday to usher in a new fight for civil and gender rights, environmental protections, access to reproductive health services and immigrant rights. The diversity of these women marching demonstrated that these issues cross personal boundaries and physical borders.

Women’s marches and rallies were held in cities all over the United States – as well as around the world – and the crowds far surpassed the numbers that were expected. Over half a million people attended the largest march, in Washington D.C., originally the crowd was expected to be about 200,000.

Actress and activist America Ferrera kicked off the rally in the nation’s capital. “It’s been a heartwrenching time to be a woman and an activist in this country,” said Ferrera. “The platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday,” she said. “But the president is not America, his cabinet is not America, Congress is not America – we are America!”

A view of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Lyanne Alfaro

Latinas across the country who organized and went to the marches and events told NBC Latino why they rallied.

“It’s important through this march that we understand the role women have played throughout history: To be part of this march, is to carry on their legacy; Berta Cáceres, the indigenous woman who fought for water and was murdered. All of our moms, grandmothers and sisters,” said Angela Adrar, 41, the executive director of Climate Justice Alliance in Washington D.C.

“This march is a visual representation of our power,” said Adrar, who is Colombian American. She crossed the border with her mother at the age of five.

Jasmine Flanagan, 23, is at #womensmarch from California bc she wants kids she works with to know they have a voice pic.twitter.com/9sSxoooQaZ

— Lyanne Alfaro (@LyanneAlfaro) January 21, 2017

Latinas participated in massive marches across the country Saturday to usher in a new fight for civil and gender rights, environmental protections, access to reproductive health services and immigrant rights. The diversity of these women marching demonstrated that these issues cross personal boundaries and physical borders.

Play America Ferrera Kicks Off Women’s March: ‘The President is Not America’ 1:52

Women’s marches and rallies were held in cities all over the United States – as well as around the world – and the crowds far surpassed the numbers that were expected. Over half a million people attended the largest march, in Washington D.C., originally the crowd was expected to be about 200,000.

Actress and activist America Ferrera kicked off the rally in the nation’s capital. “It’s been a heartwrenching time to be a woman and an activist in this country,” said Ferrera. “The platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday,” she said. “But the president is not America, his cabinet is not America, Congress is not America – we are America!”

A view of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Lyanne Alfaro

Latinas across the country who organized and went to the marches and events told NBC Latino why they rallied.

“It’s important through this march that we understand the role women have played throughout history: To be part of this march, is to carry on their legacy; Berta Cáceres, the indigenous woman who fought for water and was murdered. All of our moms, grandmothers and sisters,” said Angela Adrar, 41, the executive director of Climate Justice Alliance in Washington D.C.

“This march is a visual representation of our power,” said Adrar, who is Colombian American. She crossed the border with her mother at the age of five.

Lyanne Alfaro

@LyanneAlfaro

Jasmine Flanagan, 23, is at from California bc she wants kids she works with to know they have a voice

7:18 AM – 21 Jan 2017 · Washington, DC

Melissa Montero Padilla, 35, of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian descent, traveled from Queens, New York to attend the D.C. march. “I’m marching for my niece, our families, all of the single mothers, immigrant women and our elders; I march because our lives depend on it.”

Cindy Wiesner, 45, came from Miami to Washington, D.C. to participate in the march.

Lots of security but marchers thanking the soldiers on duty and taking selfies with Humvee. pic.twitter.com/thobOvtI59

— Suzanne Gamboa (@SuzGamboa) January 21, 2017

“As a daughter of a domestic worker, as a lesbian and as a feminist, I think that this march is really important, because the Trump and Pence administration, in a lot of ways, is going to target me, my community and the people that I love – who are very similar to me,” said Wiesner, who is the executive director of Grassroot Global Justice Alliance.

“I think it is important to try and come out with thousands of other people – people who are coming out from all over the world,” she said.

Have you heard that @AmericaFerrera is set to chair an Artists’ Committee for the upcoming @womensmarch?!! #WMW https://t.co/NVxpOpFmo3?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

— Women's March on WA (@WomensMarchonWA) January 7, 2017

Latinas participated in massive marches across the country Saturday to usher in a new fight for civil and gender rights, environmental protections, access to reproductive health services and immigrant rights. The diversity of these women marching demonstrated that these issues cross personal boundaries and physical borders.

Play America Ferrera Kicks Off Women’s March: ‘The President is Not America’ 1:52

Women’s marches and rallies were held in cities all over the United States – as well as around the world – and the crowds far surpassed the numbers that were expected. Over half a million people attended the largest march, in Washington D.C., originally the crowd was expected to be about 200,000.

Actress and activist America Ferrera kicked off the rally in the nation’s capital. “It’s been a heartwrenching time to be a woman and an activist in this country,” said Ferrera. “The platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday,” she said. “But the president is not America, his cabinet is not America, Congress is not America – we are America!”

A view of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Lyanne Alfaro

Latinas across the country who organized and went to the marches and events told NBC Latino why they rallied.

“It’s important through this march that we understand the role women have played throughout history: To be part of this march, is to carry on their legacy; Berta Cáceres, the indigenous woman who fought for water and was murdered. All of our moms, grandmothers and sisters,” said Angela Adrar, 41, the executive director of Climate Justice Alliance in Washington D.C.

“This march is a visual representation of our power,” said Adrar, who is Colombian American. She crossed the border with her mother at the age of five.

Lyanne Alfaro

@LyanneAlfaro

Jasmine Flanagan, 23, is at from California bc she wants kids she works with to know they have a voice

7:18 AM – 21 Jan 2017 · Washington, DC

Melissa Montero Padilla, 35, of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian descent, traveled from Queens, New York to attend the D.C. march. “I’m marching for my niece, our families, all of the single mothers, immigrant women and our elders; I march because our lives depend on it.”

Cindy Wiesner, 45, came from Miami to Washington, D.C. to participate in the march.

Suzanne Gamboa

@SuzGamboa

Lots of security but marchers thanking the soldiers on duty and taking selfies with Humvee.

8:21 AM – 21 Jan 2017 · Washington, DC

“As a daughter of a domestic worker, as a lesbian and as a feminist, I think that this march is really important, because the Trump and Pence administration, in a lot of ways, is going to target me, my community and the people that I love – who are very similar to me,” said Wiesner, who is the executive director of Grassroot Global Justice Alliance.

“I think it is important to try and come out with thousands of other people – people who are coming out from all over the world,” she said.

Women’s March on WA @WomensMarchonWA

Have you heard that @AmericaFerrera is set to chair an Artists’ Committee for the upcoming @womensmarch?!! http://www.?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rsshuffingtonpost.com/entry/america-ferrera-to-chair-committee-for-womens-march-on-washington_us_586fb4dae4b099cdb0fcbe81 …

7:23 PM – 6 Jan 2017 America Ferrera To Chair Committee For Women’s March On Washington

She’ll help Gloria Steinem, among others, organize the march.

huffingtonpost.com

Apart from América Ferrera, other big celebrities, such as Madonna, Alicia Keys, Amy Schumer, Scarlett Johansson, and Zendaya, were among the high-profile participants in the D.C. march.

Sonia Manzano, known to millions for her groundbreaking and decades-long role of “Maria” in “Sesame Street,” traveled from NYC to D.C. to participate in Saturday’s demonstration with a group of schoolgirls from New York City public schools.

“Hopefully they get involved and pay attention, and realize that they have a huge impact. If you don’t participate, you matter even less,” said Manzano. She told NBC Latino she hopes her participation will be example of the need to get involved.

MT: Rina Gandhi, immig atty: calls from fearful immigs. spiked on Inauguration Day. W/ sister Mona and husband Juan Moreno @ Women's March pic.twitter.com/yivfGo00UN

— Suzanne Gamboa (@SuzGamboa) January 21, 2017

Latinas participated in massive marches across the country Saturday to usher in a new fight for civil and gender rights, environmental protections, access to reproductive health services and immigrant rights. The diversity of these women marching demonstrated that these issues cross personal boundaries and physical borders.

Play America Ferrera Kicks Off Women’s March: ‘The President is Not America’ 1:52

Women’s marches and rallies were held in cities all over the United States – as well as around the world – and the crowds far surpassed the numbers that were expected. Over half a million people attended the largest march, in Washington D.C., originally the crowd was expected to be about 200,000.

Actress and activist America Ferrera kicked off the rally in the nation’s capital. “It’s been a heartwrenching time to be a woman and an activist in this country,” said Ferrera. “The platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday,” she said. “But the president is not America, his cabinet is not America, Congress is not America – we are America!”

A view of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Lyanne Alfaro

Latinas across the country who organized and went to the marches and events told NBC Latino why they rallied.

“It’s important through this march that we understand the role women have played throughout history: To be part of this march, is to carry on their legacy; Berta Cáceres, the indigenous woman who fought for water and was murdered. All of our moms, grandmothers and sisters,” said Angela Adrar, 41, the executive director of Climate Justice Alliance in Washington D.C.

“This march is a visual representation of our power,” said Adrar, who is Colombian American. She crossed the border with her mother at the age of five.

Lyanne Alfaro

@LyanneAlfaro

Jasmine Flanagan, 23, is at from California bc she wants kids she works with to know they have a voice

7:18 AM – 21 Jan 2017 · Washington, DC

Melissa Montero Padilla, 35, of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian descent, traveled from Queens, New York to attend the D.C. march. “I’m marching for my niece, our families, all of the single mothers, immigrant women and our elders; I march because our lives depend on it.”

Cindy Wiesner, 45, came from Miami to Washington, D.C. to participate in the march.

Suzanne Gamboa

@SuzGamboa

Lots of security but marchers thanking the soldiers on duty and taking selfies with Humvee.

8:21 AM – 21 Jan 2017 · Washington, DC

“As a daughter of a domestic worker, as a lesbian and as a feminist, I think that this march is really important, because the Trump and Pence administration, in a lot of ways, is going to target me, my community and the people that I love – who are very similar to me,” said Wiesner, who is the executive director of Grassroot Global Justice Alliance.

“I think it is important to try and come out with thousands of other people – people who are coming out from all over the world,” she said.

Women’s March on WA @WomensMarchonWA

Have you heard that @AmericaFerrera is set to chair an Artists’ Committee for the upcoming @womensmarch?!! http://www.?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rsshuffingtonpost.com/entry/america-ferrera-to-chair-committee-for-womens-march-on-washington_us_586fb4dae4b099cdb0fcbe81 …

7:23 PM – 6 Jan 2017 America Ferrera To Chair Committee For Women’s March On Washington

She’ll help Gloria Steinem, among others, organize the march.

huffingtonpost.com

Apart from América Ferrera, other big celebrities, such as Madonna, Alicia Keys, Amy Schumer, Scarlett Johansson, and Zendaya, were among the high-profile participants in the D.C. march.

Sonia Manzano, known to millions for her groundbreaking and decades-long role of “Maria” in “Sesame Street,” traveled from NYC to D.C. to participate in Saturday’s demonstration with a group of schoolgirls from New York City public schools.

“Hopefully they get involved and pay attention, and realize that they have a huge impact. If you don’t participate, you matter even less,” said Manzano. She told NBC Latino she hopes her participation will be example of the need to get involved.

View image on Twitter

Suzanne Gamboa

@SuzGamboa

MT: Rina Gandhi, immig atty: calls from fearful immigs. spiked on Inauguration Day. W/ sister Mona and husband Juan Moreno @ Women’s March

9:02 AM – 21 Jan 2017 · Washington, DC

There was a reason this march resonated with so many, but especially women all over the country, says gender politics professor Celeste Montoya.

“Many people were disappointed and angry after the election,” Montoya said. “Issues of gender were front and center with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate and with Trump’s polarizing sexual assault and discrimination; it caused people to mobilize.”

Montoya believes we are in a social movement era and said she wasn’t shocked to see how quickly the women’s marches gained traction.

“This is what happens in democracy when people are left out, and I expect to see more,” said Montoya, who teaches at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “This is just the beginning.”

In New York City, singer and songwriter Cecilia Villar El Juri said that she got involved because she wanted to make sure that Latinos and immigrants were represented. “The march is meant to promote civil rights for everyone. I felt like I really aligned with that. This is open to everybody – but driven by women,” Villar El Juri said.

Organizers and volunteers for the New York City Women’s March vary in age, are multi-generational, and are made up of women from varied careers, explained Villar El Juri. She and other organizers had spent a lot of time preparing for the march, including in-person and online meetings and dry runs of the event. Organizers of the march also met with the the New York Police Department for permits and to make sure it was a peaceful effort.

Ruby Gonzalez Hernandez, 18, says she has everything to lose. She was born in the US but her family is undocumented #WomensMarch pic.twitter.com/sMJXhmubaO

— Lyanne Alfaro (@LyanneAlfaro) January 21, 2017

In San Francisco, Leila Salazar-Lopez was marching for many reasons, one of those being environmental issues. Salazar-Lopez is the executive director of Amazon Watch, and says that she and her colleagues have worked hard to protect the rain forest for over 20 years, but fears that the incoming administration might disregard that.

“We have an administration that denies climate change,” Salazar Lopez says. “It’s one of the biggest threats our society has ever faced. It’s our job, not only to amplify the voices, but to also promote the protection of mother earth in a positive way.”

Salazar-Lopez says that indigenous communities, black and brown, are the communities most affected by environmental issues. She says there’s no way to have climate justice, unless companies and corporations stop extracting fossil fuels from the ground.

The march was the beginning of something that Salazar-Lopez said she believes needs to keep moving forward.

“If there’s ever a moment for us to do something, it’s now,” said Salazar-Lopez. “We have to stand up for ourselves. Not just to protest, but to put out our visions of what we want in the world.”

Follow NBC News Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The post ‘We Have to Stand Up for Ourselves’: Women’s March Mobilizes Latinas appeared first on It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance.

Washington streets reveal US political divisions on inauguration day

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 11:39am

Trump supporter poses for selfie with cutout board of new president (Ali Harb/ MEE)

Some Americans reject Trump and question his legitimacy, others view him as man to make America great again

Ali Harb Friday 20 January 2017 23:50 UTC Last update: Saturday 21 January 2017 11:18 UTC

WASHINGTON, DC – Three llamas roaming the streets of Washington DC; a preacher yelling anti-Muslim and homophobic slogans; women chanting “pu**y grabs back”; folks exchanging insults; burning trash cans in the middle of the road – inauguration day 2017 has not been ordinary.

Since George Washington handed the White House keys to John Adams in 1797, America has prided itself on the peaceful transfer of power. But when Donald Trump was sworn in as president on Friday to replace Barack Obama, the nation seemed unsettled.

Some Americans reject the new president and question his legitimacy, while others view him as an embodiment of his campaign slogan – the man to make America great again.

https://www.facebook.com/MiddleEastEye/videos/1253163621415690/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

This political and ideological schism was obvious on the streets of the US capital as supporters sang praises of Trump and protesters screamed “Not my president”.

The demonstrators view Trump as more than a president with opposing political views. They see him as an Islamophobic white nationalist who is also a sexual predator and unfit to serve.

But the president’s backers say others’ perception of him is a product of a hostile media. They say he is a successful businessman who puts America first, someone who can translate his personal achievements into prosperity for all Americans. They point to his outsider status to argue that he is not a corrupt politician.

“He is the first president of the US who has neither been in the military or the government beforehand and that gives me confidence he is a true outsider,” Tim Mouring, a student and Trump supporter, told Middle East Eye. “He is not part of any big system, he is truly independent and he wants us all to be independent.”

In November 2015, Trump suggested to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the US, shortly after militants conducted an attack in Paris. The proposal caused an uproar among civil rights organisations and earned rebuke even from Trump’s fellow Republicans.

Islamophobia

Asked about the ban, Mouring said the president is not anti-Muslim, but is simply trying to protect Americans, including US Muslims, from radical militants.

In his inaugural speech, Trump vowed to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism” from the face of the earth.

Ramah Kudaimi, an outreach coordinator for the nonprofit Washington Peace Center, thought Trump’s speech was overtly Islamophobic.

“Muslims are demonised to the point of being seen as nothing but terrorists,” she told MEE. “The Muslims that are ‘accidentaly’ killed in this war against terrorists are just collateral damage and we shouldn’t be concerned with them.”

She added that former presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush had bombed Muslim majority nations but pretended they were not at war with Islam. She thinks that Trump’s intentions are different from the start.

“Muslims are demonised to the point of being seen as nothing but terrorists” – Ramah Kudaimi

“It’s a very scary thought,” Kudaimi said.

Most Trump supporters dismissed accusations of Islamophobia, but a few openly shouted bigoted slogans towards Muslims.

Early in the morning as people were lining up to get to the National Mall to witness the inauguration, a preacher with a handful of followers stood between two queues hurling slurs against Muslims, gays and women on a megaphone.

“We support our president when he says deport those Muslims,” said the preacher, who leads a group called Bible Believers.

The Bible Believers were only booed by the pro-Trump crowd when they said a woman cannot serve as president.

Caroline Spitsel, 19, said the silence among Trump supporters towards anti-Muslim demonstrators means they are complicit in condoning his bigotry.

Asked about Trump’s problematic policy proposals, including the Muslim ban and mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, Spitsel told MEE: “I think he will have a hard time doing it, but it’s definitely a real threat.”

‘It doesn’t look like them’

“The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans,” Trump said as he officially became president.

But not all Americans were convinced.

While Trump was delivering his inaugural speech, protesters gathered near the Lincoln Memorial, chanting, “Pu**y grabs back”, in reference to leaked Trump video where he brags about being able to grab women’s genitals because he is a celebrity.

Protesters also repeated slogans in support of Muslims, African Americans and LGBT individuals. They hugged one another in a show of unity and solidarity.

“White silence is violence,” the demonstrators also chanted – a reference to Trump supporters who may not be bigoted themselves but are willing to overlook his supposed racism for other policies.

Protesters set up a blockage by placing and lighting trashcans on fire (MEE/Ali Harb)

A speaker at the gathering said the protesters “already won” by standing together against the new president from day one.

“If America is going to continue to be what America is, it looks just like this,” he said, in reference to the diverse protesters.

“It doesn’t look like them over there,” he continued, pointing at the inauguration attendees. “We all have something to learn from each other, and if we can’t understand that, then we’re not American anymore.”

As Trump supporters began leaving the National Mall area, some confronted protesters. Insults and name-calling were exchanged between supporters and demonstrators.

“Losers,” one man leaving the national mall told protesters. “You Lost. Go home.”

A Trump supporter called the demonstrators undemocratic. He told MEE that he had disagreed with Obama’s policies but he never protested his two inaugurations out of respect for the election results.

After the inauguration, Trump supporters praised his seemingly reconciliatory approach.

One protester called Trump a “horrible, misogynistic, racist” president. She said he cannot be a president for all Americans because of his previous positions, including mocking a disabled New York Times reporter.

He is “accepting all kinds of support from and for Israel’s right-wing government,” the protester told MEE. “We can bring light to equality and social justice. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter, the people of money have the power. The rest of us are the 99 percent. We don’t matter unless we band together.”

The demonstrator, a Jewish American, said Jews have a moral obligation to speak out against Trump.

“Putting Muslims in a registry – that sounds too familiar. And it’s not OK,” she said, making reference to Nazi Germany.

The carnival

Washington looked like a massive political carnival. From non-ideological vendors selling pins and T-shirts to groups with fringe views to funny signs mocking Trump.

One man walked around with three llamas to make a pro-agriculture statement against corporate control.

One man walked around with three llamas to make a pro-agriculture statement (MEE)

Some Trump supporters were dressed in suits depicting the American flag.

Christian activists stood with big signs proclaiming apolitical religious messages.

Pro-cannabis activists passed thousands of marijuana joints and smoked them publicly.

Protesters held humorous signs poking fun at the new president’s alleged ties to Russia, comb-over hairdo and supposedly small hands.

Some clashes were reported between Trump supporters and protesters. More than 90 people were arrested for disorderly conduct. As the night darkened, fears of demonstrations transitioning into riots were heightened.

However, in spite of the chaos, some protesters saw hope.

Bayan Jaber, a Palestinian-American activist with Southwest Org Project, said Trump and his cabinet are a threat to Americans’ civil liberties, especially for women of colour.

However, she added: “We should stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, protect our land, protect our water, protect our lives. One positive thing that might come out of Trump’s presidency is that we will be seeing more solidarity around struggles across the nation.”

The post Washington streets reveal US political divisions on inauguration day appeared first on It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance.

Black activists rally for domestic workers, immigrants — just outside the Women’s March

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 11:33am

Source: Mic

https://mic.com/articles/166255/black-activists-rally-for-domestic-workers-immigrants-just-outside-the-women-s-march#.ieZEmfWsO?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Published Jan. 21, 2017

by

WASHINGTON — If there was one major concern of some black activists regarding Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, it was that the voices of the most marginalized women of color didn’t have prominent billing.

That’s why a group of women and men representing domestic workers, undocumented immigrants and the working poor met less than a mile from the march’s rallying point to elevate their voices. They supported the march, but wanted to affirm their cause, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, who they see as a direct threat.

“This is a march that should highlight our voices, the grassroots,” Melissa Miles, an organizer of the social justice agency Ironbound Community Corporation in Newark, New Jersey, said at a rally in Garfield Park. “That’s why we’re over here.”

In an interview with Mic, Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and an organizer with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said it was important that activists not allow their voices to be drowned out in the sea of thousands gathered at the Women’s March.

https://www.facebook.com/TheMovementByMic/videos/372368213121598/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

“I know there’s been a lot of critique about this march, with folks saying, ‘Oh, it’s a white women’s march,” Garza said in the interview. “But look at all these beautiful people. We’re not here to prove our humanity. We’re here to lift ourselves up, to lift each other up and chart a new path towards the democracy we deserve.”

Lydia Scott, a 53-year-old babysitter and NDWA supporter from New York City, said many black immigrant women like her lack the provisions like time off and sick pay that many working women take for granted.

“Half the time, we don’t get the chance to express ourselves,” Scott, an immigrant from Grenada and mother of three adult children, said. “Financially, [domestic workers] can’t leave their jobs to be here. Their bosses wouldn’t tolerate this.”


Lydia Scott
Source: Aaron Morrison/Mic

“I’m here sacrificing so that my own children won’t feel ashamed,” Scott said. When she told her children why she was attending the march, they responded, “Right on mother!”

Well-known facts about the status of women in the U.S., such as the pay disparity compared to men, often don’t cover black female immigrant workers, Toni DaSilva, an NDWA supporter and immigrant from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said in a interview. “Not to have data on them is an atrocity,” she said. “Because you can’t plan for them, they become a phantom group. They go through all sorts of issues that maybe can’t be highlighted because of their status.”

The assembled women had a significant amount of support from men. Timothy Doe, an immigrant from Togo who works as a caregiver for the developmentally disabled, said his rights are inextricably linked to the status of women of color who do the majority of domestic work.

“Men have to be a bigger support for the women, because the woman is the power of our life,” Doe said. “They are our mom, our sisters, our daughters, our wife, our girlfriend. So, the men must stand up and support the women.”

The delegation in Garfield Park rallied for an hour and made a procession to the march, where speakers highlighted issues important to the women of color. Newly elected African-American U.S. Senator Kamala Harris fired up marchers with a speech about equality for women.

You want to talk about women’s issues? That’s fantastic. Let’s talk about health care, education, climate change, and more. #WomensMarch pic.twitter.com/PhNtH7qlNi

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 21, 2017

“If you want to talk about women’s issues, that’s fantastic, great!” she roared. “Let’s talk about health care. Let’s talk about education. Let’s talk about criminal justice reform. Let’s talk about climate change.”Black female celebrities also had top billing at the march. Singer Alicia Keys stopped the show with a stripped-down rendition of her hit, “Girl on Fire.”But anxious marchers, who had already been listening to speakers and performers for hours, seemed less receptive to singer and actress Janelle Monáe. She invited the Mothers of the Movement — women whose sons Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis and others died by vigilante and police violence — on stage to lead a “say his name” chant. As each mother took their turn shouting their son’s name, some marchers yelled “let us march,” instead.

“Show some respect,” Jibby Ani, a black Washington resident, recalled saying to people around her who were jeering. “I just felt a little marginalized, in that moment.”

Jan. 22, 2017, 7:49 a.m.: This story has been updated.

The post Black activists rally for domestic workers, immigrants — just outside the Women’s March appeared first on It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance.

Disruption Is Good—Starting with the Inauguration

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 11:27am

Progressive groups across the spectrum faced an influx of calls and interest almost immediately post-election, and—for many—this weekend’s protests will feed into longer-term organizing. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19830/disruption-is-goodstarting-with-the-inauguration?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

This weekend’s protests are just the beginning.

BY KATE ARONOFF,  In These Times

There’s another kind of inauguration happening in Washington D.C. today. There’s no ticket needed to get in or balls commemorating it. As Donald Trump gets sworn in as the United States’ 45th president, those opposed to his agenda—especially those most likely to come under attack—are kicking off his tenure with resistance.

Early this morning, at a series of checkpoints and intersections around the inauguration stage, groups representing everything from the movement for black lives to a feminist future and climate justice are attempting to block people from reaching the inauguration stage or—at the very least—show their distaste for what’s happening. On Saturday, the Women’s March will bring hundreds of thousands of people to the Capitol and thousands more out to satellite demonstrations around the city.

“If people don’t organize and mobilize together, they are vulnerable. And we’ll see the unravelling of what this country was built on: the notion that there are freedoms and liberties that people have risked their lives for to come to this country,” says Día Bùi, co-director of the Washington Peace Center and organizer of one of today’s actions. Leading up to Friday’s protests, she and others gathered for trainings and teach-ins at churches and community spaces around the city.

Bùi helped plan a blockade this morning of “communities under attack,” comprised largely of immigrants, Muslims and Jews. Disrupt J20 more generally, she tells In These Times, was initiated by longtime organizers in Washington, D.C., eager not to have the concerns of the people who live in the city—particularly low-income communities and communities of color—left out of the story told about who’s resisting Trump, especially in his own backyard.

About 140 people marched toward a checkpoint, shouting out chants like, “Say it loud, say it clear. Refugees are welcome here!” Members of Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) were tasked with interfacing with Trump supporters, though relatively few passed by.

Asked why she’s come to Washington, Melissa Miles, of Newark, New Jersey’s Ironbound Community Corporation, says, “To visibilize us. They want to bury, but we’re seeds. We’re going to sprout and grow. The shit they’re throwing at us is going to be the fertilizer.”

She’ll participate in the Women’s March as part of the It Takes Roots contingent, one of many heading to the march being headed up by grassroots organizers from African-American, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, indigenous and poor white communities around the country. “More than ever, this is a moment to come out of our comfort zone, leave our fears behind and really stand up,” Miles told In These Times.

It’s not just that people are resisting Trump, she says, but how. Progressive groups across the spectrum faced an influx of calls and interest almost immediately post-election, and—for many—this weekend’s protests will feed into longer-term organizing. Both Miles and Bùi hope to capitalize on the momentum generated by Trump’s election and see this weekend’s demonstrations as part of a much larger effort.

Because of the fusion of misogyny and racism that Trump’s Cabinet represents, Miles argues, taking leadership from the people and communities most likely to come under increased threat because of the Trump administration is a move that’s as strategic as it is solidaristic.

The narrative that protests are the domain of well-off, sign-sporting college students is a convenient one for Trump. But the history of protest in the United States—from the labor militancy of the 1930s to the civil rights movement to ACT UP—is one that’s been led most fiercely by the people bearing the brunt of regressive policies. Ignoring that risks muting the fact that there is real resistance to Trump, a president who didn’t win the majority of the popular vote and doesn’t have the majority of the country’s support.

Complimenting history’s big and successful demonstrations, too, has always been the less glamorous work of organizing that’s won major egalitarian and redistributive reforms. The same has been true of the right, which lifted its own traditions of organizing from the left. The “handbook” of the Tea Party, famously, was Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, inspired partially by communist organizers in the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

“The protest is a mechanism for us to bring people together,” Bùi says, “and send the message to an administration, which has already shown that it’s not interested in hearing directly from the people.”

Whether he wants to or not, Trump will hear from them today.

The post Disruption Is Good—Starting with the Inauguration appeared first on It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance.

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