Today's post is outsourced to Brendan Mock who writes regularly about environmental justice issues at Grist.
... social justice groups of many stripes converged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. That was the courageous campaign carried out by black and white youth to get African Americans registered to vote under hostile Jim Crow laws. There, during an assembly titled “Climate Change and Environmental Justice: How Did We Get Here?,” attendees got an earful from Turkey Creek historian and activist Derrick Evans. He is the lead character featured in the documentary “Come Hell or High Water,” the story of how Mississippi attempted to erase the historically black Turkey Creek community to build shopping centers.
Addressing the Assembly, Evans explained how preserving Turkey Creek meant more than just upholding the Civil Rights Act, or any one law. Instead, the community had to converge a variety of civil society’s custodians — Sierra Club activists, Audubon Society bird watchers, Nature Conservancy conservationists, state wildlife biologists, faith leaders of black and white churches, civil rights lawyers, historic preservation officers — to protect it from reckless developers. This is where environmentalists found that they had more in common with social justice advocates, and vice versa, than initially recognized.
This starts a little slowly, but he sure gets going:
"... We get ahead of the curve. ....We never deal with it ... that big energy and the rest of them, they own legislatures, they own television stations, they own agencies ... You can't compete with that. I wouldn't try. .. what do we have access to that they can't possibly use? ... It's like using a tennis racket against the Williams sisters! It ain't gonna work! ...The one thing we do have that they don't is real people, in real places, with real stories... that school children can connect to ..."
My musings on current events, current projects, current anxieties and current delights.
I started this under the Bush regime when any grain of sand thrown into the gears of the over-reaching imperial state seemed worthwhile.
I have worked to elect more and better Democrats -- and to hammer the shit out of them once we get them in office so they do the things their constituents want and need. It's a big job.
It's mighty uncomfortable, getting by in a declining empire where elites maintain their power by massaging our mean streaks and mobilizing our resentments. This country and this "civilization" may be on their way out, but there's nothing else to do except try to make them as humane as possible along the way. That and to celebrate the extraordinary love that sometimes accompanies our species' bumbling way.
And the end hasn't come til it comes, ever.
Visitors will find a lot of commentary on books I'm reading here. I am very intentionally reading more offline these days because when it feels hard to find direction, it's time to learn something new.
I'm a progressive political activist who runs trails and climbs mountains whenever any are available. I've had the privilege to work for justice in Central America (Nicaragua and El Salvador), in South Africa, in the fields of California with the United Farmworkers Union, and in the cities and schools of my own country. I'm a Christian of the Episcopalian flavor; we think and argue a lot. For work, I've done a bit of it all: run an old fashioned switch-board; remodeled buildings and poured concrete; edited and published periodicals, reports and books; and organized for electoral campaigns. I am currently an independent consultant to organizations seeking "help when you have to make a fight."