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Indigenous Leader Kandi Mossett: “It’s Not OK for Our Women to Die Because We Want to Protect Water”

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 2:27pm

The People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., was led by people from front-line and indigenous communities, whose lives are most impacted by the extraction of fossil fuel and the effects of climate change. Among those who were at the march were Tom Goldtooth and Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

TRANSCRIPT This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

MARCHERS: Can’t drink oil! Keep it in the soil! Can’t drink oil! Keep it in the soil!

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman, joined right now by two indigenous leaders. We’re joined by Tom Goldtooth, who is one of the founders of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Kandi Mossett. Kandi Mossett is—well, the last time I saw her, we were on a sacred burial ground in North Dakota. The Dakota Access pipeline guards had been trying to excavate it, when hundreds of Native Americans came up on that property and demanded the bulldozers pull back.

Kandi, that was quite a scene, quite a horrific scene.


AMY GOODMAN: But, on that day, the Native Americans who were out there did stop the bulldozers from excavating.

KANDI MOSSETT: That’s right. And it was really women that broke down the fence, tore it down, went out there and jumped in front of the bulldozers, because we physically feel that pain when we see that machine digging. And they did destroy three sacred sites and some gravesites, but we stopped them from destroying more. And it’s important to note that there’s no oil flowing through that pipeline. They actually had damage occur when they dropped their own equipment into the trench and damaged 10 sections of the pipe, stuff that nobody is reporting on. After the camps were cleared, they damaged their own pipeline. So the spirits are still with us. I have a feeling they pushed the equipment into the pipe—into the trench. So…

AMY GOODMAN: So, there you were in North Dakota. Here you are in D.C. Why?

KANDI MOSSETT: I’m here because it’s important to do everything we can do. A march is one thing in the many tools in the toolbox. This is a really good way to come together and say we’re not alone in this movement for jobs, for climate justice. And so we need to do these things to show that, number 45, we don’t agree with your policies. We’re going to be in your face until you listen to the people, the people that want a different way, which is towards renewable energies, small-scale-distributed renewable energies, and to listen to the voice of the people.

AMY GOODMAN: Where are you from?

KANDI MOSSETT: I’m from North Dakota, right in the heart of the Bakken shale oil formation, where they’re fracking us literally to death, because our babies are sick, our grandmas are sick. We’re not going to take it anymore. So we’ve been here drawing that red line of resistance.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re a member of what tribe?

KANDI MOSSETT: Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nations.

AMY GOODMAN: I last saw you before Dakota in—well, actually, I saw you in Paris after North Dakota.

KANDI MOSSETT: And I told you about the abuses that have been occurring to our women. And it’s an inextricable link between the rape and the abuse of the Earth, that happens to the women, as well, when these extractive industries come into our communities. It’s very important that people know that. We don’t just speak for the north. We speak for our brothers and sisters to the south. Look at what happened to our sister, Berta. It’s important that we get the message out that it’s not OK for our women to die simply because we want to protect water. And we’re going to continue to stand up and hold our relatives in our hearts and our minds.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re holding up a sign for Berta Cáceres, the Honduran environmental leader, who knew she was on a death list but continued her work, until she was gunned down in her own home.

KANDI MOSSETT: That’s right. And if Berta can do these things and her spirit can live on, there’s no reason that we can’t continue to fight here in this colonized United States. We need to stand strong with our brothers and sisters.

AMY GOODMAN: Had you ever met Berta Cáceres?

KANDI MOSSETT: I never had the pleasure of meeting her in person. It was after that we went to Honduras and that we were able to see her family and friends and learn about her legacy. So, I cry tears that aren’t about sadness, but the joy that her spirit continues to live on and really created strength in a lot of us women.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re wearing a T-shirt that says “Defend the Sacred.”

KANDI MOSSETT: “Defend the Sacred,” because everything that we believe in, that we need as humanity, is sacred—the air, the water and the soil, with which we can’t live without. Common sense dictates: Defend the sacred.

AMY GOODMAN: Who will you be marching with today?

KANDI MOSSETT: I will be marching with my ancestors today and with my 3-year-old daughter Aiyana, who is here, not fully understanding what it’s all about, but it’s really all about her.

AMY GOODMAN: Tom Goldtooth, you’re standing beside Kandi right now. Talk about your activism that has led to this day, April 29th, that it looks like it promises to be one of the hottest April 29ths in Washington, D.C., history.

TOM GOLDTOOTH: I’ve been at the United Nations climate negotiations, and I’ve been at the World Social Forums, and I’ve been in our local communities, really building a movement of consciousness. And this is where it’s coming to, this moment where we’re breaking down those silos that basically capitalism, industrial mindset, has created a divide of people from Mother Earth. And so we have to break that and be able to talk to humanity, that we need to come back to understanding where we’re at right now.

And this president right now represents tyranny. This president represents a system that is old and has to change. And as indigenous peoples, you know, we’ve been talking about this moment. You know, maybe we, as original people of the United States, and our people in Canada, Alaska—maybe it’s time to really exercise our sovereignty and our self-determination, and serve papers on this president to deport him, to deport him from this country, because the laws that he’s representing are not the natural laws that we are taught as Native people, to have respect for the sacredness of water.

That’s why we are here. We are bringing front-line communities who are fighting to keep fossil fuels in the ground. That’s part of our campaign, but not just ours, as indigenous. It’s for all people to come to that consciousness that we have to change a system. We have to move to a new reality. And that reality is part of Mother Earth.

AMY GOODMAN: Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, just as the People’s Climate March was about to begin.

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Watch the Indigenous Water Ceremony That Opened the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C.

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 2:17pm

TRANSCRIPT This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As President Trump marked his 100th day in office Saturday, up to 200,000 people took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to take part in the People’s Climate March. Sister marches were also held across the country. The Washington march took place in sweltering heat, as temperatures rose into the 90s. The protesters decried President Trump’s steps to roll back environmental regulations, appoint climate change deniers as the heads of government agencies, and defund and erase climate change programs and research, including the EPA’s move Friday to scrub its climate science pages from the EPA’s website.

The People’s Climate March began at dawn on Saturday with a water ceremony led by indigenous peoples at the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

GABRIELLE TAYAC: My name is Gabrielle Tayac. I’m with the Piscataway Indian Nation. We’re the indigenous peoples of this area, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Here in this location, we’re actually right in the—right in front of the U.S. Capitol. And the U.S. Capitol of Washington, D.C., sits on very ancient ancestral land, as well, that belonged to the Nacotchtank people, who are part of the Piscataway chiefdom. So it’s a reminder that all the things that you see here are actually part of thousands of years of continuous history and presence.

PAM TAU LEE: My name is Pam Tau Lee. I’m from San Francisco, and I’m with the Grassroots Global Justice. And our organization is the Chinese Progressive Association. Yes, we’re gathered here this morning for a water ceremony to bring together everybody’s brought water from their local area. And each of the water has memory from the local area. And we’re bringing that together. We’re going to have this ceremony. And my water, I have brought from Hetch Hetchy in San Francisco. That’s our water that we drink. And it is mixed with water from Standing Rock. The indigenous women are going to take that water to join with the local water here.

UNIDENTIFIED: If you have water that you brought from your community, she’s going to give instructions in a few minutes about how she wants you to bring it up. OK?

MICHELLE REED: My name is Michelle Reed, and I’m from Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, Reservation, but I actually brought water from upper Michigan, where I live. And I’m going to put it in with the rest of the water that’s blessed for the march today. And there’s a lot going on there with sulfide mining in upper Michigan. It’s an honor to be here and to be able to do this and bring this all the way from Michigan.

AKEESHEA DANIELS: My name is Akeeshea Daniels, and I’m here from East Chicago, Indiana. And it was significant for me to attend, because I brought water from Indiana, from East Chicago, and I thought that it would be a good ceremony to try and see if we can just combine our waters with the waters from all over the world to purify or pray for purity of the water in East Chicago, as well as all over the United States. We recently just found out in August; the mayor gave us a letter saying that we needed to relocate or find somewhere to move due to the high levels of lead. Inside of my own home was 32,000 with lead and 800 with arsenic, where I’ve been there for 13 years with me and three children. So we have so much going on that people don’t even know about. This has been going on for over 40 years. So, yes, I think we have a climate issue in East Chicago, Indiana.

MARK BOHNHORST: My name is Mark Bohnhorst. I’m with First Universalist Church and with Interfaith Power & Light and other organizations. Well, I’m going to put a little bit of it in there, and then I’m going to put the rest in the Reflecting Pool. Hopefully, it will reflect on our lawmakers. Maybe the spirit of the water will help reach their souls, reach their minds, and we’ll start, you know, doing what’s right by our planet.

CHERRI FOYTLIN: My name is Cherri Foytlin. I live in Rayne, Louisiana. Well, right now we’re in an epic struggle to stop the Bayou Bridge pipeline, which is the tail end of the Dakota Access pipeline, brought to us by Energy Transfer Partners, which is a horrible, horrible company. So this part would go from Nederland, Texas, to St. James, Louisiana, through 700 bodies of water, and it would destroy 600 acres of our precious wetlands that protect us from storms, protect us from flooding. Like last August, my house was flooded, partially due to climate change, partially due to the oil industry cutting canals. We lived through the BP oil disaster, and we know what that oil is going to do to our shores. You know, we have oil spills out there every single day, pretty much. And so, we have to live in fear of that. We have dolphins that are dying at increased rates, turtles that are dying in increased rates. And then a lot of our people are still sick from the BP oil spill and the chemicals that they sprayed out there.

My message is to President Trump, yeah. And I just want to say that you need—come down and sit with our families, who are suffering, from our refinery communities, our environmental justice communities and the people who are dealing still with the BP oil spill. And if you can look in their eyes and see the pain that they’re still dealing with and still continue this road where you put money and the profit of these corporations over our people, then we’ll really know what kind of man you are. And until then, we’re going to continue to fight, and we’re going to continue to resist you, because you’re on a destructive path that puts my house and my family directly in line of destruction. And I just can’t—I can’t allow it.

AMY GOODMAN: The water ceremony on Saturday, led by indigenous peoples at the Capitol Reflecting Pool, that began the epic People’s Climate March. Special thanks to Democracy Now!‘s Andre Lewis and Renée Feltz. When we come back, we’ll air highlights from our 5-hour special broadcast, which we did live throughout the march, which you can see in its entirety at Stay with us.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.


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Climate March Draws Thousands of Protesters Alarmed by Trump’s Environmental Agenda

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 2:44pm

WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of demonstrators, alarmed at what they see as a dangerous assault on the environment by the Trump administration, poured into the streets here on Saturday to sound warnings both planetary and political about the Earth’s warming climate.

Starting at the foot of the Capitol, the protesters marched to the White House, surrounding the mansion while President Trump was inside on his 100th day in office. Once there, the demonstrators let out a collective roar, meant to symbolically drown out the voices of the administration’s climate change deniers.

The protesters, who had gathered for the latest in what has become near-weekly demonstrations of varying stripes against the president, then offered a chant: “Resistance is here to stay, welcome to your 100th day.”

In front of the WH, a different 100 day message for Pres. Trump: "Resistance is here to stay, welcome to your 100th day" protesters chant

— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) April 29, 2017

Billed as the Peoples Climate March, the demonstration here in Washington, and hundreds of smaller events like it across the country, had long been planned to mark the 100th day of the new president’s term. What organizers did not know, at least initially, was that that president would be Mr. Trump.

His administration has gone on to begin rolling back his predecessor’s most ambitious environmental measures, renewing fears that government inaction will send the world headlong into an era of rising seas and violent weather.

“I want to make a statement. I’m showing my daughters we can believe in something and express what we believe in,” said Scott Trexler, who came with one of his daughters and a church group from Rocky Ridge, Md., to march for the first time. He said his faith demanded it. “I believe the environment is important for my daughters and future generations,” he said.


Saturday’s march in Washington highlighted dire warnings about the planet, but there was also levity.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

The demonstration was also being used to gauge what Democrats hope is a blossoming opposition movement to Mr. Trump that they can parlay into lasting political power.

“There has been devastating news on climate coming out of the White House and Congress, and a lot of people are really angry,” said May Boeve, the executive director of, an environmental advocacy group that helped plan the march. “We can’t deny that is a big part of it. But we want to make a distinction between anger and resolve.”

The demonstration’s organizers made a point of casting a big net, seeking to make the case that climate change is interwoven with traditional social justice issues like racial, gender and economic inequality.

The marchers in Washington included Hollywood celebrities and stars of the political left like former Vice President Al Gore and the business magnate Richard Branson. The front of their ranks, though, was reserved for ordinary people: the immigrants, indigenous people, laborers, coastal dwellers and children, who organizers say are most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

Alphonse LeRoy, a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, said he had traveled to Washington with so-called water protectors like himself who had spent time protesting the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.

“I think first of the grass, plants, animals, eagles, birds, fish — without water, nothing will survive,” he said. “This isn’t just important for me; it’s important for everybody.”


Bill Snape wore a polar bear costume at the Washington march, as James Moore, 8, looked on.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

Thousands of the marchers arrived by car, train or bus. Bren Smith of New Haven came on a 24-foot oyster vessel. “We’re here because climate change is an economic issue now,” said Mr. Smith, a commercial fisherman. “This is not just about bees and bears anymore, it’s about jobs.”

At a rally in Chicago, Sue Meyers, a retired teacher from Frankfurt, Ill., said it was important to tell skeptics on climate change that “nowhere else in the world do people think like this.”

“The problems need to be addressed, and to deny there is a problem is even worse,” she added.

In Los Angeles, protesters gathered near the port, where the oil refiner Tesoro wants to expand its operation. “A lot more people are becoming engaged because they realize they have to,” said Kaya Foster, an environmental educator and activist from Santa Monica.

Around the country, the demonstrators’ list of grievances was long. Since taking office, Mr. Trump has appointed one of the chief antagonists of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, as its administrator and proposed slashing its budget by nearly a third, more than any other federal agency. He has signed several executive orders aimed at rolling back President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a set of regulations intended to close heavily polluting coal-fired power plants, and restrictions on vehicle emissions, among others.

This past week, Mr. Trump signed orders intended to initiate reviews aimed at opening certain protected lands and waters to drilling, mining and logging. His advisers were still debating whether the United States would remain in the landmark Paris climate accord. And on Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had taken down several agency web pages that contained climate data and other scientific information relating to climate change.

Sweltering temperatures that threatened to break a heat record in Washington on Saturday added a poetic flourish to the demonstrators’ argument.

Dire though the warnings were, the march was not without levity. One group wheeled a large “Trojan Oil Drum” that warned: “Climate Activists Inside.” White full-body polar bear suits dotted the crowd, their owners dripping in sweat underneath as they posed for seemingly endless photographs. Others hoisted miniature wind turbines, which twisted in the wind.

“We’re here, we’re hot, this planet’s all we got,” demonstrators chanted. As they passed the Trump International Hotel, the chant became “Shame, shame, shame.”

The #ClimateMarch in front of Trump's DC Hotel. "Shame, shame"

— Peter Gleick (@PeterGleick) April 29, 2017

For organizers, the demonstrations offered a chance to assess the progress and setbacks since the first People’s Climate March in New York City in 2014. That march, organized by many of the same groups to urge international leaders to take collective action, predated both the Paris accord and many of Mr. Obama’s most ambitious actions.

Two and a half years later, organizers said their movement had grown considerably more diverse. They said they were focused on building a political coalition capable of countering Mr. Trump and advancing liberal policies at all levels of government. A daylong training workshop for those contemplating running for office was planned for Sunday.

Saturday’s march came a week after thousands of scientists and their supporters gathered here to respond to what they called threats against their enterprise by the administration. Another march, for immigrant and worker rights, was scheduled for Monday.

Cindy Wiesner, the national coordinator for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, a coalition of liberal organizing groups, said leaders of the movement hoped to capture that energy.

“I think there’s a lot more clarity about the stakes for all of our communities,” she said.

Reporting was contributed by Emily Baumgaertner and Coral Davenport from Washington, Adeshina Emmanuel from Chicago, and Ciaran McEvoy from Los Angeles.


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Tune-In for VICE Impact’s Live Stream From the People’s Climate March on Washington

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 2:36pm
On Trump’s 100th day in office, people from around the world are gathered in D.C. for the largest climate mobilization in U.S. history. IMPACT STAFF Apr 29 2017, 10:31am

Climate change is a real and immediate threat, and VICE Impact is proud to support the People’s Climate Movement Today we’ve joined hundreds of thousands in the march for climate, jobs, and justice . We’ll be speaking live with activists, politicians and attendees about this important day of action.

You can visit our Facebook page to watch the live stream from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST on Facebook Live.

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Impacted Communities Draw ‘Red Line’ for Mother Earth Across US Capitol

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 2:33pm

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

‘We hold a red line to defend our environment, our homes, our families and our future generations’

Representing the communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, activists are forming a “red line” in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Friday, vowing to stand firm “against the corporations and politicians driving the extractive economy” and their increasing assaults on people and planet.

“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,” declares protest organizer It Takes Root in its call-to-action. “We hold a red line to defend our environment, our homes, our families and our future generations.”

WE Elevate Indigenous Voices Who Have the Solutions to our Climate Crisis! #ItTakesRoots #EarthsRedLine

— IndigenousEnviroNet (@IENearth) April 24, 2017

Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. government has overseen a massive rollback of environmental and public health regulations. Studies have not only shown that Trump’s environmental policies will contribute significantly more greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, but his cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will most disproportionately impact black and brown communities in a way that environmental advocates say is “just racist.”The demonstration, which began at 2pm EDT, is being shared with the hashtags #ItTakesRoots and #EarthsRedLine.

The direct action is a collaboration between Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), the Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and Right to the City Alliance (RTC), and is part of the week of resistance leading up to Saturday’s Peoples Climate March, which includes a massive mobilization in Washington, D.C. as well as sister marches in cities coast-to-coast.

The red line will be segmented into blocks representing different communities and interests impacted: Indigenous peoples, Appalachians, veterans, youth, food sovereignty, gender justice/LGBTQI, immigrants, and a section donning black to represent the “Black struggle,” specifically the “historic violence of redlining in Black communities.”

The powerful collaboration comes a day after Indigenous activists shut down traffic with a traditional round dance in the six-lane intersection outside of the Trump Hotel. On the walls of the Post Office Building, activists projected messages including “Resist Trump” and “Resist Pipelines.”

On Friday, Indigenous organizations held a press conference outside the White House outlining how the president is “failing Indigenous people,” and specifically decrying his recent effort to open native lands in Utah to fossil fuel development through an executive order signed earlier this week, as well as his backing of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

“Our land is on the line, our water is on the line, our families are on the line,” said Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it In The Ground campaigner at IEN. “Our Indigenous relatives in Alaska are already experiencing the worst effects of climate change. We are leading the Peoples Climate March to send a clear message to Trump that fossil fuels belong in the ground, and Indigenous people and our lands are not his sacrifice zone.”

Joye Braun, who was one of the early organizers against DAPL, said: “It doesn’t matter what Trump tries to do, we are going to overturn it. When I was in North Dakota protecting our water, the police had water cannons on us for 8 hours in 27 degree temperatures. With everything they’ve thrown at us, we are still standing and we won’t stop now.”

"We dance to celebrate our resistance" #OurExistanceIsOurResistance #IndigenousRising #DefendProtectResistRenew

— IndigenousEnviroNet (@IENearth) April 28, 2017

Right now in front of Trump Hotel — #IndigenousRising round dance taking over intersection. #DefendProtectResistRenew

— 350 dot org (@350) April 28, 2017

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Environmental Protest Forms a Red Line On the Capitol East Lawn

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 2:26pm

It Takes Roots Red Line Action Credit: InsideSources/Erin Mundahl

Posted to Energy April 28, 2017 by

On the cusp of his 100th day in office, the Trump administration was faced with another protest this week. On Friday afternoon, members of several Native American and environmentalist groups gathered on the Capitol lawn wearing red t-shirts to symbolize the red line that corporations and governments cannot cross if they are serious about stopping climate change. The event was organized by It Takes Roots, a collaboration between  Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Right to the City Alliance and was characterized as a non-violent direct action.

Organizers stressed that the event was strictly non-violent with a goal of demonstrating to lawmakers the importance of respecting minority rights and the environment.

Puja Dahal, one of two representatives from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, who came from California for the march, told InsideSources that she was concerned about Trump’s recent executive orders relaxing clean air regulations.

Dahal explained that she is from Richmond, California, near where a Chevron refinery exploded in 2012. She says that APEN is one of the groups representing “frontline communities” like hers, which were negatively affected by the fossil fuel industry.

“I am here to represent the stories of my community,” she told InsideSources. “After the explosion, Chevron provided scholarships for high school students in nearby towns. They are taking away our lives and trying to answer with money.”

Although they came from many different places, the protest members emphasized that they were all part of the same movement.

“We’re all here and we’re all fighting for our rights,” said Kandi Mossett, of the Indigenous Environmental Network. Mossett was one of the organizers of the event. “The red line shows how we are all connected. We are the red lines, and we will not take this abuse anymore.”

For the organizers of the event, the red line was both a set of standards that should not be crossed and a tie that binds the various groups together. Although the organizers represented a variety of causes, such as Black Lives Matter, The theme of inter-connectivity was reiterated by several of the speakers and also group members. For them, issues like pacifism, climate change, and minority rights were all part of the same larger struggle.

“The U.S. military is one of the biggest polluters in the world,” said Michael Marceau, vice president of Veterans for Peace. For Marceau and other members of his group, peace not only saves lives, it protects the environment.

“Non-violent direct action is getting much bigger,” said Mossett, who said that actions like Friday’s red line march “show the strength in our diversity.”

Mossett and other organizers say that their focus is not on changing minds on Capitol Hill, but rather showing people the harms of extraction and the dumping of wastes generated from mineral extraction. Although many people first heard of the climate justice movement after its involvement in the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, the organizers of Friday’s event emphasized that the movement began in the 1990s. Since then it has been working to protect minority communities and the environment, organizers say.

The group assembled on the House lawn for a brief rally involving speakers from LGBT, native rights, and other groups. Periodically, the group was led in chants of “black lives they matter here, say no to Trump and fear.”

Shortly after 3 pm, the group organized itself into ranks for the march to the White House. The protesters marked in blocks, each representing communities and interests impacted, including indigenous peoples, the Appalachians, veterans, youth, food sovereignty, gender justice/LGBTQI, and immigrants. The march was accompanied by the sounds of drums and periodic chanting in English, Spanish, and several native american languages.

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Eighty (80) National Environmental & Climate Justice Organizations Pledge to Defend Striking Workers on May Day

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 6:10pm

Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and dozens of others to support massive labor, immigrant rights demonstrations around the country on May 1st

April 26th 2017

Brooke Anderson, Climate Workers

On a press conference call this Friday, April 28th at 9am PST, directors of major national environmental and climate justice organizations from around the country will:

  • discuss their support for protests planned for International Workers Day (“May Day”) on May 1st, 2017
  • call on employers NOT to retaliate against workers who choose to go on strike
  • pledge to defend workers who face retaliation

They will be joined on the call by leaders and members of SEIU United Services Workers West, which represents 45,000 service workers throughout California, many of whom are participating in May Day by not working.

The letter – signed by 80+ environmental and climate justice organizations – reads, in part:

As environmental and climate justice organizations, we support workers who choose to walk off their jobs on May 1st because we know that the fight to protect land, water, air and soil is inseparable from the fight to protect the life and dignity of workers, migrants, and communities of color. To workers participating in protests on May 1st, we say: ‘Thank you. You deserve better. And we’ve got your back.’”

Read the full letter and see the list of signatories at

WHAT: Press conference call with environmental and climate justice leaders on May Day statement.

WHEN: Friday, April 28th, at 9am PST


  • Michael Brune, Sierra Club (Executive Director)
  • Annie Leonard, Greenpeace (Executive Director)
  • Angela Adrar, Climate Justice Alliance (Executive Director)
  • Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (Executive Director)
  • Denise Solis, SEIU United Service Workers West (Vice President)
  • Inmar Liborio, SEIU United Service Workers West (worker honoring May 1 general strike)
  • Brooke Anderson, Climate Workers

CALL: Register for the call at to receive the dial in information.

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Peoples Climate March Will ‘Literally’ Surround the White House

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:20pm

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

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.”


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 ( 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


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:


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 ( to get started.






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 ( to get involved! Or sign up on our facebook event page (link), more details to come.



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.


In the streets of Washington DC. Details to come.


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


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:

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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

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 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




Beth Patel,, 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 /

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

“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 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

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)

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.

The post Meet the New Social Change Coalition: ‘The Majority’ appeared first on It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance.

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

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

Source: AP

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 website, which officially launches Thursday.

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

“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,, has been pushed back to Thursday.

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



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

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

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)

By TMN Interns


January 20, 2017

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