Two years ago, we launched our solidarity fund. Through it, we aim to show solidarity with communities who are most impacted by environmental injustice and institutionalized oppression of all forms–and who are some of our most powerful allies. Some of our members come from such communities, and some of us have gotten to know folks from these places very well over the past several years. All of us have witnessed the depth of courage and determination of many of the frontline organizers we have had the privilege to know.
Being there on the ground with these communities, supporting their actions and events, has been a big part of our solidarity work as well. We strive to respond to calls for on-the-ground support from these communities through the presence of folks who will engage respectfully and bring useful skills. Our goal is to connect with a broad range of impacted communities around our region to build a network of resistance, mutual aid, and solidarity against environmental degradation and for social justice.
We’d like to share more details with you about our solidarity work and how the fund has been spent over the past year. We’re sharing these stories not to pat ourselves on the back. Institutionalized oppression gives some of the best fighters in the movement far less access to money than others, meaning it’s our duty to share what we have—and it’s crucial for the movement as a whole. Please show your solidarity with these incredible resisters by donating now, or by donating directly to the community you wish to support.
Moccasins on the Ground
Owe Aku (“Bring Back the Way”) is a Lakota group on Pine Ridge Reservation working to protect their land and water from the Keystone XL pipeline. They have held a series of fourteen Moccasins on the Ground direct action trainings over the past two years, and we have come as trainers and as supporters at their events when requested. We have also been part of the network of funding support for some of these trainings. In turn, Lakota warriors have attended our action camps to share their skills, connect with people from impacted communities around the region, and put their bodies on the line with us to stop tar sands devastation. The solidarity fund has supported us in attending their trainings and allowed us to lend financial support to their efforts.
We have a relationship of mutual aid and solidarity with many Diné land defenders as well. Some of them took part in our action camps against tar sands and put their bodies on the line with us to stop the destruction, while building relationships with people from other frontline communities in our region. A number of Diné movement artists performed at a concert we held on the Uintah and Ouray Ute Reservation to connect with community members about the impacts of tar sands mining. The solidarity fund helped to cover travel for these events and costs of the concert.
In November, some of us traveled to Black Mesa in response to a call for human rights observers to document the theft of Diné people’s sheep herds. The communities of Black Mesa and Big Mountain have been resisting forced relocation and environmental degradation for 40 years. Their land is under threat from coal mining and other extreme extraction, and the state is impounding their sheep to clear the way for more corporate profiteering, which threatens the Diné resisters’ very survival. The solidarity fund supported this trip and allowed us to make a donation to the communities’ fundraising efforts to get their sheep back.
In our own city, many undocumented people are under threat of deportation and detention. The solidarity fund has helped to support undocumented organizers who make vital contributions to our community through their migrant and climate justice work in defense of land and people.
In late 2014, we used solidarity funds to contribute to the Frontline Holiday fundraiser, which provides funds for gifts and holiday meals for families in frontline communities across the country.
We recently visited the Gulf Coast, where we witnessed an amazing resistance front mobilizing against severe environmental injustice. We just had the opportunity to lend financial support to the efforts of the Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition (MEJAC), a group of grassroots tar sands resisters in Alabama. We’ll be staying connected with them about ways we can support one another in the fight to stop tar sands from ever starting in the so-called U.S.
We’ll also be staying tuned for more opportunities to lend solidarity to the folks in our region who have given us so much support. Several of us just traveled to a Moccasins on the Ground training to share skills and support with Lakota resisters. We also took part in the recent Liberation Day events to mark the anniversary of the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee. We’re excited to contribute solidarity funds to a community garden project on Pine Ridge Reservation that’s working to build the community’s food sovereignty.
In early 2015, a member of our group participated in part of the 200-mile walk by Diné land defenders that traversed countless sites impacted or threatened by extreme extraction. Through the walk, they marked the 150-year anniversary of the Long Walk in which their ancestors were marched at gunpoint to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico. They also affirmed their connection with the land and the importance of a mutually sustaining relationship with it, and connected with people from numerous communities about these issues. The organizers plan to hold two other walks in 2015, covering over 1,000 miles in total.
Please donate now, in solidarity with some of the fiercest and most dedicated resisters on the continent. 2015 is shaping up to be an action-packed year in our region and across the continent, and your support will help make it a huge success for the whole movement.