December 15, 2007 2:46pm PST
Today was busy work inside our Flintholm House– a buzz of 20 organizers of color planning a hot event for this Thursday (look for it!). Phones ringing, 5 laptops editing a google doc, fast notes in red marker, communal cooking, mad texting. It was the opposite of light white snow flittering outside the window. Now that I have a moment to reflect, I recall being on 4 mics in the last 4 days.
#1 mic: Amplified the US grassroots & justice factor to funders, that our new engagement in these climate talks are critical for the movement that we need to grow beyond Copenhagen. (I was the 6th speaker of 7, right before the “Shock Doctrine” author Naomi Klein.)
#2 mic: At the “outside” KlimaForum, in front of a thousand international climate campaigners’ “People’s Assembly”, I opened saying I represented a US grassroots delegation of immigrants & communities of color, the “South within the North.” And closed by sharing our win over the Richmond Chevron oil refinery, getting them to chant, “dirty in, dirty out”. I shared the mic w/my companero, Jose Bravo from the Just Transition Alliance. He opened by invoking our shared family history as farmworkers, connecting eyes with our allies from the powerful Via Campesina.
#3 bullhorn: Probably the best action (of the many) I’ve attended so far, I brought a message of solidarity to our sisters & brothers from indigenous communities in occupied Canada, fighting Tar Sands mining. What do poor Asian communities have to do with this opposition campaign on tar sands? We see in the lifeline of fossil fuels, from mining to refining to emissions, that environmental racism hits poor communities of color at each of these points. Our struggles are connected. APEN & allies are doing our part to hold the line at the Chevron refinery who’s trying to retool their facility to process heavier crude & tar sands. So when we’re successful, we help their campaigns. And when they stop tar sands extraction, that prevents Chevron from refining it in Richmond. I gifted 5 APEN shirts to our native allies, wishing them good luck & the powerful dragon energy we hope help win their campaigns.
#4 sheer voice: Inside the highly-guarded UNFCCC Bella Center, we pulled in close a circle of 30+ US grassroots climate justice organizers of color to strategize on how we were going to pose an alternative American voice in these climate talks. Expressing frustration over how our US negotiators are misrepresenting our EJ+ realities, I facilitated the session where all around, we said we were so much more aligned w/the sentiments of African sisters & brothers, Pacific small island nations, Latin American vision, and indigenous struggles. The momentum generated from this discussion is now driving a unifying effort between us. Stay tuned…