US Affected People of Color Urge Obama to be Champion in Climate Negotiations

For immediate release: December 15, 2009

For more information, contact:
Diana Pei Wu – English, español, français, Mandarin Chinese, portugûes
+45 2832 8422

US Affected People of Color Urge Obama to be a Champion in Climate Negotiations
Affected Communities Deliver Letter to US Embassy Demanding Real Solutions to Climate Crisis

When: Thursday December 17, 2009, 12 noon, Copenhagen time
Where: American Embassy, Copenhagen, Dag Hammarskjolds Alle 24, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Who: North American indigenous Delegation, Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project, and the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, along with other grassroots groups from the United States will deliver a letter to President Barack Obama demanding that the United States take real, rights-based approaches to climate change and ecological debt.

WHY: Representatives of indigenous and low-income people of color environmental justice communities from Canada and the United States are in Copenhagen to represent the voices of our communities and the organizations who work to secure the rights and justice of low-income, indigenous, people of color and immigrants in the United States. Throughout our time in Copenhagen at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change we have heard the cries from our brothers and sisters from the Global South, and have shared our stories of struggle. Some of the countries that are most impacted including Kenya and Indonesia, are the homelands of Obama’s – and our – relatives. We ask that Obama shows respect to the peoples of Africa, indigenous groups and the Global South by publicly acknowledging their realities around mitigation and adaptation to climate change and discussing the real solutions the United States can and will offer to those most impacted by climate change in the South.

False solutions increase the pollution experienced in our communities and negatively affects the health and well-being of our people.

The negotiating position of the U.S. government in this process has been the single biggest barrier to progress both in the Conference of the Parties process and for real solutions at home. Between out-of-process side deals, weak targets, false solutions, lack of transparency and a failure to commit to a legally binding agreement the U.S. is gambling with the future of life on this planet. We come together to demand more fair and open treaty negotiations processes; rapid, deep reductions in emissions; payment of climate debt; a rights-based approach to international and domestic climate change policy and the inclusion of our communities in the processes.

Speakers may include:

1.     Diana Lopez- (Southwest Workers Union San Antonio, TX)
3.     Michele Roberts – (Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, LA/DC)
4.     Representatives  from indigenous communities from the United States and Canada
5.     Moderator: Kalila Barnett (Alternatives for Communities and Environment, Boston, MA)

** Other Resource people from many other organizations will also be present, including:
Gopal Dayaneni, Movement Generation; Alicia Garza, People Organized to Win Employment Rights (San Francisco, RTTC, GGJ); Mari Rose Taruc, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (MG Bay Area network, GGJ, Richmond); Marisa Franco, Right to the City Alliance (NY); Roxana Aguilar, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (RTTC, Los Angeles); Jill Johnston, Southwest Workers Union (GGJ); Diana Lopez, Southwest Workers Union (GGJ); José Bravo, Just Transition Alliance (GGJ, San Diego); Cecil Corbin-Mark, West Harlem Environmental Action (Environmental Justice Leadership Forum, New York); Jacqui Patterson, Women of Color United (GA); and Diana Pei Wu, Movement Strategy Center (CA).