Shovia Muchirawehondo on the Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth is a holiday which celebrates 153 years of African American independence. Black Lives Matter Bellingham will put on the first ever Juneteenth celebration in Bellingham at Maritime Heritage Park on Saturday, June 16th from 4:00 - 8:00 pm. Read more about the Juneteenth celebration here. Below is an interview from Shovia Muchirawehondo, C2C's Legislative Liaison, on the connections between communities who struggle under an exploitative system.

 Shovia Muchirawehondo is Community to Community's Legislative Liason

Shovia Muchirawehondo is Community to Community's Legislative Liason

I am so excited about Juneteenth. It is the celebration of African American independence which legally began in 1865. From C2C’s perspective, we celebrate this independence and also recognize the connections between the struggles that communities of color are facing. Because we all impact each other: we all have a stake in food justice and labor issues. African Americans have a history of working the land for little or no pay, we came out of that, and now you have the immigrant population stepping into it. So we have a situation of history repeating itself. Land owners don’t want to pay fair wages to farm workers and immigrant workers. C2C supports farm workers in their efforts to grow good food that is free from pesticides, and also to earn a fair wage.  Corporate farms abuse their workers not just with low wages, but in all the ways that they treat their workers. You have mothers who are working the farms and being exposed to all kinds of pesticides, families not having the proper space to rest their heads for the next day. All of these things factor into African Americans’ past. 

So you can see how our society in general has not grown. We have not learned from our past mistakes. We’re still imposing the same abuses, it’s just onto another group of people. And we do still have African Americans participating in farming and receiving low wages and unfair treatment. So these issues are important for anybody who cares about the earth and where their food comes from.

In terms of labor, the government is eroding workers’ rights in a lot of ways. The H2A program is an example of how our government sees workers as a resource instead of as human beings. You can also see cheap labor getting extracted from those incarcerated in private prisons. The government uses African Americans and Latinos in our jail system as justifiable slavery. Prisoners are exposed to some of the worst working conditions for maybe a few dollars a day. And it’s all justified. We can’t see them, they can’t see that we’re there for them. So this is a system that our corporate farms create and support. This also squeezes out small farms who are trying to do the right thing and pay fair wages. So, it doesn’t do any of us good. It is eliminating our ability to sustain a healthy world. The exploitation of workers ends in death. That’s what we’re fighting against. 

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C2C stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We will be there on Saturday for the first ever Juneteenth celebration in Bellingham, to show support and to link together what our common fight is. Food justice is an issue that disproportionally affects communities of color. Mass produced GMO foods come into our neighborhoods and we don’t have the economic stability to fight back. Whereas in wealthy white neighborhoods, you can see that people are fighting against GMOs and pesticides where people can afford to stand up for themselves. We don’t have the economic stability to do that. That’s an issue that our black communities have in common with Latino and all low income communities. We are fighting against racism and poverty on all fronts, and you can especially see that when it comes to the food we put on our tables.

BLOCK THE EXPANSION OF H2A: SAY NO TO H2C!

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The Departments of Labor, Agriculture, State, and Homeland Security are coordinating a dangerous attack on immigrants and our food system under the guise of 'streamlining and improving' the H2A guestworker visa program — by expanding and rebranding it as the H2C guestworker visa program.

On October 25, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee passed Representative Goodlatte's "Agricultural Guestworker Act" (AGA), HR 4092. The AGA was then included in a broader anti-immigrant bill, introduced by Goodlatte in January 2018: the "Securing America's Future Act of 2018," HR 4760. This bill is one of possibly multiple immigration bills the House of Representatives is planning to vote on in June.

'Streamlining and improving' is a euphemism for deregulation. If passed, this proposed legislation would:

  • Extend the use of the exploitative guestworker program (which is currently limited to temporary and seasonal jobs) throughout our entire food system: from farms and ranches to packing houses and processing plants, and from seasonal crops to year-round dairy cows and poultry farms
  • Deprive local farmworkers of jobs by reducing employers' local recruitment obligations even further
  • Limit guestworkers' access to judicial and legal assistance, while minimizing government oversight of the guestworker program
  • Create new levels of discriminatory bureaucracy and dysfunction, such as withholding 10% of guestworkers' wages until they meet a complicated series of requirements, and eliminating the requirement that employers provide housing or travel-expense reimbursement

This bill does not provide a path to citizenship for the current experienced, undocumented farmworkers or their family members. Instead, it is an attack on family-based immigration, reducing immigrant workers in the food system to individual commodities to be imported and exported cheaply for the profit of agribusiness.

Corporations like California-based Sarbanand Farms, growing berries in Whatcom County, with the help of Dan Fazio and wafla, are leading this dangerous shift in Washington State. Fazio is the Executive Director of a farm labor contracting firm now modernized to also act as a WA-based corporate grower lobby association and rebranded as wafla. Wafla is actively campaigning to support the expansion of the guestworker program into H2C, lobbying for the removal of worker protections and providing further incentive to similar employer associations. Their membership is calling their elected officials in support of Goodlatte's legislation.

Wafla made $8,191,969 this last fiscal year, compared to $150,180 only three years ago. Wafla profits off of this modern-day slave trading program: their income rises as they contract more and more H2A guestworkers in Washington, California, and more recently Idaho. This market will only expand with the proposed legislation. Unsurprisingly, there is no language in the proposed bills that would regulate employer association organizations such as wafla.

THIS IS THE TIME TO TAKE ACTION! Help us right one of the great wrongs in our food production system. Stop the expansion of H2A in WA State.

ACTIONS

  • Call your Legislator in the House of Representatives and tell them to vote no on "Securing America's Future Act of 2018," HR 4760! To find your representative, visit: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

  • Call the Attorney General and demand they investigate wafla, the largest Farm Labor Contracting business in WA State: (360) 753-6200

Learn more about the Agricultural Guestworker Act

Sarbanand: A "Dirty Dozen" Corporation contesting being fined in District Court for working a farmworker to death in Whatcom County

By Edgar Franks

On Wednesday May 23rd at 9:00am Sarbanand Farms is scheduled to appear in the Whatcom County District Court to appeal a fine that was imposed on them by the WA State Dept of Labor and Industries after the death of a worker on August 6, 2017. This is happening in a courtroom that normally handles driving citations. This is the level of disrespect we are receiving for a farmworker’s death in Whatcom County. We believe the WA State Dept of Labor and Industries has given permission to agricultural corporations and the courts to normalize the deaths of farmworkers by exploitation.

This past February, Sarbanand was fined over $150,000 for not allowing workers to take their rest breaks and lunches. Then, because the managers at Sarbanand were so cooperative, they lowered the fine by 50%!  Despite this, the state did not see fit to punish the company for negligence when after 3 weeks with no rest breaks, they denied a farmworker medical care when he was feeling ill and then sadly passed away. A fine in a traffic citation court, cut in half — and now Sarbanand is arrogantly asking the court to lower the fine even more, or worse, they may choose to go through mitigation and negotiate to an even more minimal fine. This shows what agricultural corporations like Sarbanand think a farmworker’s life is worth. If corporations can quantify in dollars the life of a worker and use a simple court process then they can just put the risk of the expense into their budgets and more farmworkers will die.

On April 25th, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) granted the condemning recognition to Sarbanand as one of the “Dirty Dozen”, which is a public shaming “award” that is given to employers who expose workers and communities to unnecessary and preventable risk and have repeated citations by relevant state and federal authorities. It is a condemnation that Sarbanand has earned through their repeated actions to avoid accountability for their gross negligence, both environmental and regarding the farmworkers. To contrast this recognition for corporate criminals, Ramon Torres, President of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, was presented with the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his work defending and organizing farmworkers and challenging corporate abuse in agriculture.

With the amount of political power that the industry has and what we have seen happen in our local courts recently in regard to justice for people of color, it will be difficult to see a favorable ruling that will satisfy the farmworker community and those who want justice.

We at Community to Community will not rest until Sarbanand is held accountable for the death of Ernesto Silva Ibarra. In the meantime, what we see happening is that Sarbanand will continue to do business in Whatcom County as if nothing happened last August 2017.

It will be up to us a community to hold them accountable.

Farmworkers Teach the Nation's Top Chefs about Justice in the Food System

By Edgar Franks

 Ramon Torres (FUJ) and Edgar Franks (C2C)

Ramon Torres (FUJ) and Edgar Franks (C2C)

Earlier this month, it was my honor to accompany Ramon Torres to Chicago so that he could receive the prestigious James Beard Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation. These are my thoughts and perspective about the significance of this award:

When we think about the various sectors that exist within the food movement, it can be an overwhelming exercise. There are probably hundreds of moving parts that make up the food system: there are farmworkers, farmers, grocers, cooks, fast food workers, dairymen and women, urban gardeners, fisherfolk... For me personally, it wouldn't have occurred to me to think about the role chefs play in the food system and how much influence they have.

The James Beard Foundation is an organization that honors and celebrates chefs and others within the food chain for their contributions and work to make the food system sustainable for everyone. For the past 5 years, they have tried to expand their honors and recognitions beyond just chefs and restaurants, which make up only a part of the food industry. These leadership awards have begun to honor those who are doing significant work in different sectors relating to equity in the food system, such as policy-making, business, and, more recently, labor and social justice.

President of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, Ramon Torres, was one of the honorees for the 2018 James Beard Leadership Award due to his continuous efforts from the early stages in 2013 to the formal establishment of the first farmworker union in Washington State in over 30 years and the boycott of Driscolls, which led to the negotiation, in 2016, of one of the best contracts for farmworkers in the country.

Recognition by professional chefs of farmworker-led organizing is particularly significant considering the political climate farmworkers are living in at this time. Racist groups and racist policies make life difficult for farmworkers — this is compounded by the exploitative labor practices of the agricultural industry and the industry's false claims of a farmworker shortage to justify displacement of local farm workers as corporate growers opt for a neo-slave workforce under H2A contracts. In the summer of 2017, C2C and Familias Unidas faced down a corporate farm responsible for the death of one of 675 farmworkers brought in under the H2A program to work at Sarbanand Farms in Whatcom County.  

It was an interesting experience to see people's reactions at the awards ceremony as they heard a farmworker speak truth, whether about poverty, pesticides, or child labor. With this award, a space has opened for building an alliance that moves beyond cooking and eating at high-end restaurants, stocking food banks and more towards a solidarity framework. We hope there can be more collaboration between chefs and farmworkers in achieving justice for farmworkers and the many other exploited workers in the food chain.

In recognizing Ramon and the union, the award is also an achievement not only for the farmworker movement, but the labor movement. Some of the lowest paid work is in the food industry. It is also an industry where many immigrants work. Food worker organizing is fought at every corner and union-busting is rampant, but this recognition of Familias Unidas is an opportunity to begin a dialogue about bringing justice throughout the food chain, in which workers are seen as being as important as chefs and the people that consume their culinary creations. 

1631 Equitably Invests in Impacted Communities

C2C says YES! On I-1631! Our food system and farm workers are being impacted by climate change every day! The article by Jeff Johnson below originally appeared in the Stand.

By JEFF JOHNSON

(May 14, 2018) — We are facing an existential crisis.

We see it as sea levels rise, forcing people to flee their homes; we see it as ocean acidification, damaging shell fish and fishing habitat; we see it as glacial melt, causing flooding on the west side of our state; we see it as drought on the east side of the state; and we see it as more intense and dramatic forest fires — last summer a fire jumped 1 1/2 miles over the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington.

But climate disaster is not only and is not primarily an environmental issue. It is an economic issue that is increasingly causing job, income, and property loss. It is a social issue that is causing people to migrate out of unsafe areas and requiring more and more tax dollars from the local, state and regional levels to pay for mitigation efforts, taking desperately needed money away from health care, education, public safety needs. It is a public health issue as rates of lung disease accelerate, particularly in disproportionately impacted areas. And it is a racial issue as communities of color, who did little to cause climate change and greenhouse gas pollution, are the ones who are hardest hit by pollution and climate disaster.

Climate disaster impacts every aspect of our lives.

And if we didn’t believe our own eyes, science is telling us that we have less time than we thought to make the transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy. And with the current federal administration’s opposition to clean energy, actions at the state level are all the more important. Finally, the transition away from fossil fuels has begun. But labor and communities of color are not at the table, which means we are likely to be on the menu unless we do something about that.

Initiative 1631 gives both groups a strong voice at the table on what the transition should look like.

The Structures of I-1631

Initiative 1631 is about investing in our future. It is about investing in clean energy alternatives, clean water and air, and healthy forests. It is about equitably investing in those communities and those workers who have been disproportionately impacted by carbon pollution and climate disaster.

I-1631 will raise about $1.3 billion a year by charging a fee on carbon emissions — initially at $15 a metric ton and growing annually by $2/ton.

Seventy percent of this revenue will be invested in leveraging investments in the clean energy economy: solar and wind power, deep dive energy efficiency, building out the electric vehicle infrastructure, etc. as well as assistance to low income individuals and to dislocated workers and communities. Labor and business will co-chair the committee that oversees these investments.

Twenty percent of this revenue will be invested in clean water and healthy forests – this committee will be co-chaired by a tribal member and the environmental community.

The remainder of the funds will be invested in safe communities and administering the program.

A third committee, the Economic and Environmental Justice Panel, will be made up of seven members, five from organizations of color and tribes, and two from labor. The purpose of this committee is to ensure that the program is working and that the targeted investments, investment criteria and the “Just Transition” program are meeting the needs of disproportionately impacted communities and individuals.

Investing $1.3 billion a year is like having an additional capital budget every single year that creates tens of thousands of jobs annually.

The investments will be awarded on the basis of positive investment criteria. Preferred investments will be judged on whether they pay prevailing wages; use trained apprentices on the job; agree to community workforce agreements with local hire provisions; are women, minority or veteran owned businesses; buy clean materials (materials that have low carbon content); and whether there have been no violations of health and safety or employment standards.

Ten percent of the investments must directly and positively target disproportionately impacted communities and 25 percent of the investments must have at least an indirect and positive benefit to disproportionately impacted communities.

To prevent against leakage (companies exporting jobs and pollution out of state) companies that are energy-intensive and trade-exposed are exempt from the carbon fee. These companies account for only six percent of our state’s carbon emissions, but they represent a lot of family-wage jobs.

Finally, a “Just Transition” fund is set up, out of which dislocated fossil fuel workers are provided with wage replacement, health care and pension contributions, wage insurance, retraining opportunities, peer counseling, job search and relocation expenses. The goal is to ensure that workers and their communities are not left behind during the transition to a clean energy economy.

Initiative 1631 will dramatically reduce carbon emissions and pollution, invest in clean energy, air, water, and healthy forests, protect disproportionately impacted workers and communities, and give a voice in the transition to historically under-represented voices.

Jeff Johnson is President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the Evergreen State, representing the interests of more than 600 local unions and 450,000 rank-and-file union members.

The Dignity Vigils: 63 Weeks and Counting

Dignity Vigils began in February of 2017 in response to Bellingham City Council ignoring community members who asked for a real Sanctuary City ordinance to be passed. Instead, on February 13, 2017 Bellingham Council passed an ordinance that does nothing to protect affected communities. Every Monday, community members come together to stand in solidarity with undocumented and immigrant families and people. In addition, we come together to stand against law enforcement and federal immigration collaboration which leads to deportation. You can find more information on Keep Bellingham Families Working here. The following post was written by Dena Louise in response to the 63rd Dignity Vigil.

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and Bellingham City Council Member Dan Hammill was present for his 3rd out of those 63.

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and the Bellingham City Council has still not strengthened the ordinance that shoved aside the Keep Bellingham Families Working Ordinance that had been created to effectively protect our immigrant and undocumented community members from persecution. 

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and there is still no citizen oversight to help ensure that no collaboration between local law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) occurs that can result in the persecution of immigrants who are our community members and neighbors, persecution that can include repeated and ongoing: general harrassment, investigation, court dates, apprehension, separation from family members, indefinite incarceration, abuse within immigration prisons, and/or deportation. 

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and Google searches on ICE yield pages upon pages of fresh news everyday about ICE destroying lives of immigrants and their friends and families and community members all across the nation. 

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and Council Member Hammill wants to know what vigil attendees want, after all the comments and petitions and letters and face to face input that Council Members have received since November 2016 (that included many which directly addressed specific changes sought to the Council's ordinance that the Council voted to approve on February 13, 2017) and have continued to receive for the weeks and weeks and weeks after the Council voted to adopt their ordinance.

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and Council Member Hammill says he is attending both as a public citizen and as a City Council Member and wants to know what we want without offering any indication he is attending Dignity Vigils with the intent to take action upon his constituents' needs.

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and fresh in our memories is Council Member Murphy walking by vigil attendees two weeks earlier and angrily blowing off the offer to give her a flyer about issues effecting farm workers. 

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and fresh in our memories is Council Member Lilliquist walking by on the 62nd week of Dignity Vigils, passing by the assemblage of community members, passing by the altar to honor Cesar Chavez on the anniversary of his death, passing by with no words or actions of his own to show respect for this great defender of immigrants and farm workers. 

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and fresh in our memories is the absolute absence, week after week, of Whatcom County Council action to adopt an ordinance to protect members of their community who are immigrants and undocumented, a refusal to act which has been especially memorable after we community members approached them in the summer of 2017 asking them to propose an effectively protective ordinance.

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and, yes, still fresh in the memories of we community members who came to meet with City Council Members and present the Keep Bellingham Families Working Ordinance, is the work group meeting 61 weeks ago where our ordinance was shoved aside in favor of one proposed by the Council, the workgroup where assurances were made that a forwarded copy of the Council's draft ordinance would be sent for we community members to review before the Council presented their ordinance for a vote, that draft copy finally arriving at 3 p.m on the day that Council Members voted unanimously to approve the Council-created ordinance that shoved aside our ordinance. 

63 weeks of Dignity Vigils and fresh in our memories is the people's condemnation of Bellingham City Hall on the 53rd week of Dignity Vigils, the week of Dignity Vigils where we said:

"Community to Community Development and the Whatcom Civil Rights Project have been, for years, bringing complaints, bringing evidence, talking to the Whatcom County Sheriff and the City Council and other Council Members, telling them that there was continuous, ongoing racial profiling happening. And from this racial profiling, other exploitations grew. And it was ongoing, and it was institutionalized, and we were volunteering and offering our support to change this. 

"And it built up, and built up, until the moment when we had enough support to write and present an ordinance, a legal document that was the beginning of a possible dynamic change within this government to protect these communities in the right way, in the proper way, in the dignified way, as the way our country is supposed to function. These democratic systems are supposed to function to represent us! 

"The City Council and the County Council are not clubs. They're not social groups. They are not bureaucratic mechanisms to implement bureaucracy already written into city governance. They are not administrators. They are not like county clerks. They're not supposed to be a submissive agent of the Mayor or the County Executive or the County Prosecutor - handing them a document and they say, 'this document is written this way, implement it.' No! They are elected leaders from different districts, elected by voters to represent, to bring to the city government the issues that matter to their constituents, and even possible solutions to what is happening in the neighborhoods and in the different districts of the city."

And we said:
"Kelli Linville..., we talked to her and said that the Bellingham Police Department, that there are officers in the Bellingham Police Department that are racially profiling people, and she immediately jumped and said, 'No! There is no racial profiling in the Bellingham Police Department.' And we said we have people that have suffered that racial profiling based on color, especially brown people who are immediately identified as undocumented and ICE is called. She said, 'No, that does not happen in my Police Department.'"

And we said:
"We stand by our belief in our position because we see it happening, that this is a white supremacist government. We don't believe that every single person in this building, working in this building is a white supremacist or racist, but the leadership has developed an institutionalized, a culture that dehumanizes the most vulnerable in our community. At the core of everything is a dignity of every single person in this city and the respect that we demand when we bring our complaints, and the dignity within the solutions they give us, not the disdain that we have been shown."

Community Voz Radio: "No Way to Treat a Guest" series

Community Voz is C2C's ecofeminist radio show, coming to you from the Deep North in the Pacific Northwest, presenting the grassroots work that local people are doing across intersecting movements. Our radio shows are engaging conversations about issues and news you probably won't hear anywhere else, including white supremacy, racism, settler colonialism, and patriarchy. We believe in community radio and alternative media, which highlights the character, beauty, and courage of the voices of people on the ground that need to be shared with everybody. As the organizers and activists on our show come from impacted communities, you will hear multiple, varying voices each week. Community Voz is facilitated by Junga Subedar, co-founder of the Racial Justice Coalition (RJC) and is often joined by Rosalinda Guillen (Community to Community), Michelle Vendiola (Red Line Salish Sea, RJC), and Maru Mora Villalpando (Latino Advocacy, NorthWest Detention Center Resistance). Thank you for tuning in!

The April 4th Community Voz radio discussion, Part 3 of the "No Way to Treat a Guest" series, centered around a number of dates significant to the labor movement in our country, which include the birth and death of Cesar Chavez, along with the 50th anniversary - on the day of the broadcast - of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Guests discussed their reflections on the contributions of these men, the reasons they were under attack while they were alive, and where the labor movement is at today in terms of protections for immigrant workers.

The show was hosted by Junga Subedar; featured guests were Rosalinda Guillen, Executive Director of Community to Community Development, Michele Stelovich, President of the Northwest WA Central Labor Council, and David Bacon, a renowned photo journalist and immigrants-rights advocate. 

The seemingly impossible struggles of brown and black workers to obtain safer working conditions and reasonable pay prompted Chavez and King to be on the frontlines in their defense. King's support of striking black sanitation workers in Memphis, leading up to and including the day of his assassination, occurred during the same period that Cesar Chavez was immersed in organizing and empowering the strike by Filipino and Mexican farmworkers against grape growers in California.

Thanks to those like King and Chavez who put their lives on the line, and brave workers who stepped forward to join together for their rights, much was accomplished to protect workers' safety and rights. Today, most Mexican farmworkers in Washington state are completely unrepresented by any union or bargaining organization, which leaves their destiny almost exclusively controlled by whatever corporate farms they are employed by. In the last few years, under the H-2A visa program, the importing of workers from Mexico has increased dramatically. As these workers are so overwhelmingly isolated from the surrounding community on the sole farm they can work for while they are in this country, they are at much greater risk for abuse than other farmworkers.

Learn more by listening to the show here.

YES on I-1631: Protect Washington Act campaign launch tonight!

The YES on I-1631: Bellingham Launch is tonight, Thursday April 19, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at BUF!

For the last three years, C2C, as part of Front and Centered, alongside labor unions, business, and environment, health, and faith organizations, has been building the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy—the most diverse and inclusive coalition in Washington State working on climate justice legislation. The result of this collaboration is I-1631, the Protect Washington Act.

Rosalinda Guillen and Ander Russell, the Clean Water program manager for RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, recently co-authored an Op-Ed in Cascadia Weekly describing how local impacts of climate change are driving community support for this initiative. Read the full text below:

Support clean air, clean energy and healthier communities.

The work of protecting people and the planet is a roller coaster of wins and losses. Lately, we are playing a lot of defense against local, state and national groups seeking to undo decades of social and environmental progress. Washington voters will soon have an opportunity to stand up for the health of our communities, economy and climate. Will you join us in our endeavor to create a cleaner future for Washington, building healthier communities for everyone in our state?

Northwest Washington has seen the consequences of a changing climate: Last summer, wildfire smoke choked the region, while salmon died in shallowing rivers. Even so, our state’s legislature failed to pass meaningful climate legislation this year. As the federal government turns its back on the reality of climate change, the real-life consequences jeopardize the health of people and the economy.

That’s why the people of Washington are moving forward with Initiative 1631, the Protect Washington Act. This initiative will create living-wage jobs by investing in clean energy, healthy forests and clean water. With funds from a fee paid by the state’s largest polluters, we can increase the resiliency of our communities to the impacts of climate change.

For decades, corporate polluters have put profits over people while dirtying our land, air and water. Many of us already contribute to cleaning up and preventing pollution. I-1631 gives us the tools to do the job right, getting the largest polluters to fund investments in clean energy infrastructure like wind and solar, and creating lasting, well-paying, local jobs.

I-1631 is backed by diverse constituencies across the state representing working families, communities of color, environmental and clean energy advocates, health professionals, businesses, and faith organizations all committed to building our state’s economy, improving the health of our residents and leading the fight against climate change. We came together to find solutions that work for all of us—especially those from the most impacted communities, who have historically been excluded from decisions about the environment and economy, Farmworkers, labor organizers, environmental advocates, health professionals, and more came together around the same table to create a policy that reflects our shared values. Every single person wants a healthy environment and a vibrant economy that works for everyone.

Here in Whatcom County, local backers of this policy include Community to Community, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, the NW Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO), Riveters Collective, 350 Bellingham, Stand.earth, Safeguard the Southfork, Jobs with Justice, and Mt Baker Group Sierra Club.

Climate change is happening now. We can’t wait for action any longer. Yet we must ensure that solutions to climate change are fair and equitable. In crafting this initiative, our coalition put justice and equity at the forefront. That means listening to the voices of those who are impacted and ensuring indigenous rights and tribal sovereignty are respected and upheld, all while ensuring protections for workers in all industries—from refineries to farms.

What will I-1631 invest in? Expanding renewable power generation from wind and solar. Restoring and protecting water sources, estuaries, fisheries, and marine shorelines, reducing flood risk, improving infrastructure for treating stormwater, preparing for sea-level rise and addressing ocean acidification. We’ll improve forest health and enhance preparedness for wildfires. Dedicated funds will assist low-income residents to ensure affordable energy, and support workers that may be displaced by the transition from fossil fuels to energy independence. All this means thousands of family-wage jobs across our state. Our policy also ensures public oversight and accountability for making good investments.

Sovereign indigenous nations have also expressed meaningful support for this initiative. Funds will aid climate adaptation and clean energy for native communities, and tribal governments must be consulted on projects directly impacting their land and resources.

Washingtonians have never been afraid to lead or create something new. Through people’s ballot initiatives, Washington voters have forged the way for other states on numerous policies. Now, we’re setting the course for equitable climate policy in the United States. That’s why we need your help to qualify for the ballot and to win in November.

You can join our movement today! To learn more about our policy, the coalition, or to join our campaign, visit: yeson1631.org

Attend Bellingham’s campaign kickoff at 6:30pm April 19 at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (1207 Ellsworth St.) to get involved in signature gathering.

MLK Day 2018 Statement: Why Daily Commitment to Racial Justice Beats an Annual Show

Third Year in a Row Community Members Voice Concerns about City’s MLK Celebration

 Dear Bellingham Community Members:

We, Community to Community Development, Racial Justice Coalition, Latino Advocacy, Familias Unidas Por La Justicia, and the Red Line Salish Sea, wish to provide some perspective on our discontent with the Bellingham MLK event.

For the last two years, impacted people and grassroots groups held space for a counter event, protesting the city’s annual MLK celebration. The counter event was intended to expose the city’s misuse of Dr. King’s birthday and messaging for their own benefit. The counter event was intended to protest the city’s abuse of power in policy-making which has detrimentally impacted the poor and people of color. The city’s actions are antithetical to Dr. King’s values, and one wonders if their MLK Jr. event is even ethical.

Before and since the first day we stood outside city hall and everyday with everything that we do, we honor Dr. King’s legacy through the actions and work of grassroots movements. Dr. King fought for Black people, people of color and the poor. He fought against capitalism, U.S. militarism and racism. Dr. King did these things by taking to the streets and marching, using direct action and civil disobedience, implementing boycotts, and demanding accountability from unjust and racist institutions. He inconvenienced people when it was called for, and ultimately sacrificed himself for the movement. We continue his work and the work of so many other social justice warriors of our past. We stand on the shoulders of our social movement leaders, we honor their memory and we will not stand by when their efforts are co-opted by the systems of power they worked to dismantle.

This past year, people of color in Whatcom County have faced many corrupt policies and attacks from local government, elected state officials and law enforcement that seem to take their lead from the trump administration. For example, law enforcement officials have bullied social movement leaders, attempting to criminalize their work, and corrupt officials have trampled free speech, one of the highest constitutional rights of our democracy. There have been continued unchecked racial profiling by law enforcement, furthering the agenda on the war on immigrants and people of color  today. Additionally, the city voted to uphold racist landmarks and refused houseless people their basic human needs and shelter, just to name a few.

Despite all the attacks, we will continue fighting for liberation and we will persevere. Nonetheless, it takes everyone’s commitment to see the pressing issues, solutions and voices to be heard. We believe that no work can happen without impacted communities leading the work. Nothing about us without us.

Grassroots efforts are working to redefine power and decision-making. We are inviting the community to attend the People’s Movement Assembly (PMA) that exemplifies participatory democracy on Sunday, January 21st. We will collectively answer, what issues we face, what the solutions are, and what actions we are taking. The PMA will take place from 9 am-5 pm at the Bellingham High School. So join us and the movement for people.

The solutions and power are in the grassroots movements of today. We stand on the shoulders of Dr. King’s legacy on his commemorative 89th birthday. We feel his spirit and take guidance, even today, from him and many of our social justice leaders. Our historical mentors live in our spaces, vigils, demonstrations, boycotts, and actions. Our community will continue to fight for Indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, the poor, and the most marginalized in our community, as Dr. King and other leaders of the past have done for us.

In closing, we ask you to critically examine the current political environment and the city’s actions, and please consider not attending the city’s MLK event.

In Peace & Solidarity,

Community to Community

Familias Unidas por la Justicia

Latino Advocacy

Racial Justice Coalition

Red Line Salish Sea

 

 

Kali Akuno on the Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-determination Amid Rise in White Supremacy

C2C is working to become a self-governing solidarity economy center fostering political movements that define their own agenda towards the creation of a local solidarity economy.

This is a video of Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi. This is a great interview that explains Cooperation Jackson’s work and political positions. For C2C the most inspiring part is at the 23 minute mark, when he focuses the discussion on the solidarity economy and how they envision building it in Jackson. Cooperation Jackson is one of several sister organizations to C2C. We also envision a solidarity economy in the North West!

An Economy that Centers Mother Earth

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At C2C we propose that instead of replicating an economy that is built and centered around individualism and competition, we need an economy that centers Mother Earth, cooperation, and solidarity. An economy that is responsive, plural and sustainable for all. We call it the Solidarity Economy. The Solidarity Economy model works, it is real, we have seen it function for working people in Brazil. The Landless People's Movement in Brazil has shown us that it is possible for workers to control the resources and wealth their labor creates, protect Mother Earth and share with those in need. 

Capitalism continues to fail our communities. A recent article in The Guardian clearly depicts the reality of over 40 million people in the US and the untold masses from around the world that are struggling to live a dignified life under neoliberal capitalism. It is important to point out neoliberalism because it is the strain of the capitalist economy that now rules the majority of the world, where everything is a commodity. As Farm workers and eco-feminists we believe there are no disposable humans in our communities, we all are deserving of basic human dignity and Mother Earth needs our stewardship. Capitalism has defined who we are as a people by telling us who is worthy of a decent income, housing, food, wage, etc. This is just wrong!

Action Alert: De-escalate WA

C2C HAS ENDORSED I-940!

Initiative 940 is an initiative to the Legislature on law enforcement training and community safety.  Specifically, it - 

  • Requires training for violence de-escalation, mental health, and first aid.
  • Provides that police should render first aid at the scene.
  • Applies a good faith standard for use of deadly force and removes the de facto immunity.  
  • Requires completely independent investigations of use of deadly force when there is injury or death.
  • Brings diverse community stakeholders to the table for the development of standards and curriculum.
  • Includes Tribal governments in investigations where a tribal person was injured or killed.

WHAT WE ARE ASKING YOU TO DO

1. SIGN:  Washington registered voters need to sign the petition and return the petition to De-Escalate Washington.                                          
2. VOLUNTEER: All of us need to gather signatures from registered voters.  Anyone is eligible to gather, even kids!

HOW: The petition is a legal document and is not on-line. The paper petition must be signed, and returned to the campaign. Each petition has space for 20 signatures. You can mail a petition back with just one signature, or you can ask other Washington registered voters to sign.

We have petitions available or you can request a petition by texting Request to 1.206.202.0461. Or fill out a form online: http://www.deescalatewa.org/request and a petition will be mailed to you.

WHEN: Do this now! The petitions should be returned as soon as possible. The campaign has seven weeks left to gather the required signatures.  It is going to be tight and every signature you gather is important.

RETURNING THE PETITIONS: There is an address printed on the back of each petition.  Fold the petitions in half, and thirds, stamp them, and drop in the mail.

The address is:

De-Escalate WA I-940
PO Box 99490
Seattle, WA  98139-0490

BACKGROUND:

The situation

Washington State law on use of deadly force by police is the worst in the nation.  We are the only state that has a de facto immunity in the law that is a barrier to prosecution.  Our law has a complete defense so that law enforcement are not held accountable for unlawful deadly force. Since the law was passed in 1986 there have been zero convictions for unlawful use of force by police.  Last year in Washington State police killed 29 people. This year, 34 people have been killed so far.  About one-third of all persons killed by police are experiencing some sort of mental health crisis.

What is Initiative 940?

Initiative 940 is an initiative to the legislature.  If enough signatures are collected it will go to the legislature.  The legislature can pass it, do nothing, or propose an alternative.  If the do nothing, it goes on the ballot in the general election in November 2018.  If they propose an alternative both I-940 and the alternative go on the ballot. We need to get 259,000 signatures of valid registered voters by December 29, 2017.  We are aiming for over 300,000 for a margin of error.

What does I-940 do?

Initiative 940 removes the de facto immunity; it requires violence de-escalation and mental health training; it requires that first aid be rendered on the scene; it requires completely independent
investigations; it requires that Tribes be notified of and be included in investigations when a tribal member is injured or killed; and it requires that community stakeholders be included in policy making.  The initiative specifically requires input from organizations advocating for: Persons with disabilities; members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community; persons of color; immigrants; non-citizens; native Americans; youth; and formerly incarcerated persons.

You can read more about the Initiative here:
http://www.deescalatewa.org/

And you can follow the campaign on Facebook.  @deescalatewashington

Action Alert: #Defund Hate WA

In the 2018 proposed budget, Trump has requested a lot more money to fund the detention and deportation of immigrants, including: 

• funds to hire new ICE and Border Patrol agents to terrorize our communities
• more local police to focus on immigration enforcement
• a massive increase in immigrant detention—the equivalent of locking up the entire population of New Orleans over the course of a year
• $1.6 billion to build a southern border wall, and further border militarization including aircraft and surveillance technology

Washington is home to one of the biggest detention centers in the country (Northwest Detention Center) and a border state. For these reasons, the increases to immigration enforcement funding that Trump's administration is pushing for will undoubtedly harm immigrants in our communities. The ending of DACA and the recent national “Operation Safe City” through which ICE detained more than 450 people, including 27 of our Washington residents, are yet more examples of why we must oppose any increase in immigration enforcement funding.

Community to Community has signed onto DefundHate WA's organizational
sign-on letter. We ask that our allies and partner organizations join us and sign on! 

SIGN ON HERE
The deadline to sign on is TOMORROW! November 8th. Tomorrow is also the national call-in day.

1) If you haven't done so already, please share the call-in day Facebook event on your organization's page to remind people to call their members of congress about this issue: https://www.facebook.com/events/395139404238892/

2) Alternatively, you can send an email to your organization's email list including the following:

We are asking everyone to call Senator Murray (206) 553-5545 as well as the person in your congressional district on 11/8 in order to pressure them to defund the hateful and oppressive detention and deportation machine. Here is a sample call-script:

"Hello, my name is [ ] and I'm a constituent of [state/congressional district]. I'm calling as part of the Defund Hate campaign. We're calling on [Senator/MoC] to oppose funding for the detention and deportation machine. This funding fuels agencies like ICE and CBP which have a long track record of lying, hiding information and retaliating against those who speak out against them. We need to use public funds for needed resources like healthcare, education and housing, instead of funding this inhumane
immigration enforcement system. We demand that [Senator/MoC] publicly call for significant cuts to ICE and CBP and be a voice within [chamber, caucus, with leadership] to Defund Hate and oppose funding for the detention and deportation machine."

Find your representative here:
https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

And then find their phone number here:
https://www.house.gov/representatives/#state_wa"

3) Finally, sign up for the November 8th Thunderclap:

Please take 30 seconds to join our Thunderclap: http://thndr.me/xAB1uJ 

On November 8th, Detention Watch Network will do national call-in day coordinated with a Thunderclap.


What is a Thunderclap? Thunderclap allows a single message to be mass-shared, so it rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap makes a significant impact on the social media landscape.

Thank you all for participating and feel free to contact the local organizer
Jose Manuel Carrillo for Detention Watch Network if you have any questions!

Jose-Manuel Carrillo: carrilj2@gmail.com

C2C Congratulates FUJ on their Historic Union Contract

Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) members turned out Thursday night to overwhelmingly ratify the tentative collective bargaining agreement presented by their negotiations committee. After an overview of the contract the Mixteco and Triqui hand harvesters, men and women, lined up to cast their ballots. Official vote counters Jeff Johnson President of the WA State Labor Council and Steve Garey former President of the Steelworkers Local 12-591 tallied the vote and announced it was over 85% in favor of ratifying the tentative agreement.

 (C) Copyright DAVID BACON

(C) Copyright DAVID BACON

 

Sakuma Bros Berry Farm and Familias Unidas por la Justicia’s representatives signed the collective bargaining agreement Thursday afternoon making it official as of today. 

The harvesting season will begin soon with contractual benefits for members of FUJ hand harvesting the berries. Among the benefits union members will receive is an average $15 an hour wage. Ramon Torres FUJ President said,

"This is a historic victory for all our members that harvest berries, they are happy to be working at Sakuma Farms with a union contract, everybody is ready to get to work, there will soon be union berries in the marketplace!"
 

C2C would like to thank all our supporters, volunteers and members who enabled us to walk in solidarity with FUJ over these last four years. Because of you we are one step closer to a food system that is fair, just, and healthy for all people. 

To read a summary of the historic contract, visit Familias Unidas por La Justicia's website: familiasunidasjusticia.org

Jardin de Tierra y Libertad (Land and Liberty Garden)

In January, the Bellingham Food Co-op’s Member Affairs Committee presented Community to Community Development (C2C) with a $400 grant. Since then, C2C member farmworkers have been busy putting that grant money to excellent use.

Jardin de Tierra y Libertad

Farmworkers gathered in early spring to prune and care for the perennial crops planted last year, build a fence, and prepare the garden beds to start planting vegetable and additional blueberry bushes.

The garden is five years old and has been tended by farmworker youth and their parents.

The new Farming Cooperative, Tierra y Libertad, is creating a training space to teach others about agroecology and traditional farming practices from Oaxaca, Mexico.

The food grown there will be eaten at the tables of the farmworker families working the land. The excess will be shared with other families who, for whatever reason, cannot grow their own or do not have access to organic produce. Depending on the quantity of produce, some of it may be sold to help pay for garden expenses.

To support the garden and get involved contatct C2C!

Through Her Eyes: The Struggle for Food Soveriegnty

Just in time for International Women’s Day, WhyHunger released its newest publication "Through Her Eyes: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty." We know that women are responsible for 60-80% of food production in the Global South and represent 50% of food chain workers in the U.S. Yet, women and girls are disproportionally affected by hunger.  This publication honors and amplifies the voices of women around the world who are fighting for food sovereignty and creating just, sustainable communities that benefit all. In Through Her Eyes, women from Florida to New Jersey and Puerto Rico to Mozambique share their opinions, stories and experiences on topics including agrochemicals, fishing practices, food stamps, GMOs, farmworkers and more.

Read the report here.

 

 

Unbroken Connection to the Land

David Bacon and Rosalinda Guillen | 2.8.17

Repost from Food First

The following is the eighth installment in Food First's Dismantling Racism in the Food System series, and is abridged from 2017’s forthcoming book Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons. This brief is based on an interview by David Bacon with farmworker activist Rosalinda Guillen. The transcript has been abridged and edited for clarity by Erik Hazard.

Click here to download this Backgrounder, view in full below, or read the interview in its entirety in Food First’s upcoming book Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons in the United States

Large tracts of agricultural land offer farmers the opportunity for increased production and profit—but not without a cost. While soy, corn, and other grain farmers barely afford it by using expensive, labor-saving machinery, genetically tailored seeds, fertilizers, and chemical inputs, that is not the case for other types of farmers. Farmers of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and livestock rely on human labor and skill. Most often, farmers find such labor in migrant and immigrant farmworkers.

The same market economy that compels the intensification and consolidation of agricultural land in the United States has also pushed farmers off their land, depressed local economies, and driven mass migration across Latin America. For generations, displaced peasant farmers have come to the United States seeking work. They often find it on farms, where they bring extensive knowledge and appreciation for growing food. However, what they often find here are dangerous working conditions and appallingly low wages.

This interview with Rosalinda Guillen highlights the interlocking destinies of farmers and farmworkers and the ways in which the land and its people can resist the exploitation and discrimination of migrant farm work while offering a deep, restorative land ethic. It reminds us that the knowledge and skills that farmworkers have gained over lifetimes and generations of farming is a precious resource essential for a new food system.

Click here to download this Backgrounder, view in first page below, or read the interview in its entirety in Food First’s upcoming book Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons in the United States

Keep Bellingham Working Ordinance + Keep WA Working Act

Big News! C2C has helped introduce two important pieces of legislation on the local and state level to provide security, protection, and rights for vulnerable communities. 

Read Keep Washington Working Act (SB-5689)

Read Keep Bellingham Families Working Ordinance

Keep Bellingham Working Ordinance

With local and statewide collaboration of grassroots organizations led by people of color and undocumented activists in Whatcom County, C2C, The Racial Justice Coalition, Latino Advocacy and the WWU-Blue Group, have written and introduced an ordinance we know will provide security, protection, and rights for all vulnerable people in Bellingham. The Bellingham City Council is now considering a vote on the ordinance. We need your support now more than ever. 

Please e-mail the Bellingham City Council and encourage them to vote yes on the Keep Bellingham Families Working ordinance.

Keep Washington Working Act

Our bill SB-5689, The Keep Washington Working Act, was introduced on Thursday, Feb. 2nd in the Senate and referred to the Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee! We are not only thrilled because we have an amazing bill drafted by grassroots leaders from C2C, Whatcom Civil Rights Project, Latino Advocacy, and Latino Civic Alliance; but also because it was kept in our preferred committee as was our goal. This is a historic moment. Not only do we have a bill we can champion because it is written by us and for us to clearly protect our communities; but because this is happening during the fascist attacks from the new presidential administration.

English Talking Points for SB-5689

Puntos Para Discusión SB-5689

Please distribute far and wide. It is time to start building support and educating communities about what undocumented people really want in policy. We will let you know as soon as we have a hearing date, so we can plan our turn-out and support for the bill.

You can follow the bill here. 

Call Commerce Committee members to voice your support. Contact information for the committee members here.

Fighting Back in 2017: A Road Map

A message from C2C's Maru Mora Villapando:

Nothing new, just hypocrisy thrown out the window

For a while now I have realized how liberals and progressives (western labels to define the left, if there is such a thing in the US) have always denied they are part of white supremacist empire. That label and their politeness, or should we say passive aggressiveness, has been used to draw a line between them and the right wing, nationalists, neo-Nazis that are easier to identify as such. These elections are the result of a long process built by both parties. And the losers are actively looking to blame the same people they have left down, oppressed and abused while smiling to them at the same time. Democrats don’t want to be questioned, they have used the right wing xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, etc. to force our communities to accept them as they are, and not be accountable to us. They have been too comfortable. But that is starting to change.

Neoliberalism for fascism

If neoliberalism is on its way out, that doesn’t mean free trade is gone. It probably will change a bit; under fascism there is a possibility of more protectionism to calm the base that elected Republicans again. But corporations will find an easier way to exploit people, resources and land. Standing Rock will be in even more danger. Forced migration will continue, and let’s remember that it has evolved from purely economic reasons (which progressives would like us to believe as the sole reason why migration continues) to more complicated elements created by the US and western international policies, such as wars, organized crime, land grabbing, and climate change. These will continue and expand under this new administration in a way we have never seen before.

Our experience with colonialism and fascism

Most of us immigrants that were forced to leave our hometowns, know first hand what this kind of government looks like, and we know how to survive it. We have seen the signs, we have seen the rise, and we have lived the process of implementation and consequences. That is why we are here. Based on that, I tell you, don’t panic, you may loose some privileges but that is what will be required for the larger community to be mobilized. We know this can be the new normal, and if that happens, then we will be forced to leave again and organizing will become more difficult.

We will see a quick implementation of “reforms” in the first two years, in parallel to immigration raids at some work places but not too many, to not anger the business community. Detention and deportations will increase and the machine will be expanded. Budget will increase for DHS and all its enforcement.

By the third year of this administration the electoral campaign will begin again.

Opportunistic groups

How can this become the new normal? When people and groups adapt, because in the first place they didn’t want to lose their privileges, they didn’t want to lose their comfort, they begin to fit in the system they claimed they were fighting against. We are already seeing the legal experts coming out and telling us, the poor victims, what to do and what not to do and how to do it. They say, “don’t panic” at the same time not allowing our leadership to decide what to do. One thing for sure is that they will have many clients during these next four years.

And the big non-profits will capitalize off people’s fears and will add them to their lists and call them “members”.

All these groups will focus on the “good immigrants,” aka Dreamers or DACA recipients, and yes, these groups won’t see their work permits renewed, and will loose their jobs and scholarships,  but most don’t have a criminal record.  The first community to be targeted for deportation proceedings under Trump will continue to be the people with criminal records, or those that will be in contact with the criminal system. There will be less refugee and asylum seekers coming to this country. We also might see those who have had their cases closed, re-opened if they fit in the “criminal” category.

And the “progressives” will continue claiming they fought for us and tried to defend us, but people didn’t vote for them so it is their own fault, when they get to congress there won’t be anything they can do, oh well…

We have survived

As in our home countries, as in this country, we have survived. We have learned how to live day by day, find ways to not be seen, find small support networks, then bigger ones. Heck, some of us even dared to live a real life without fear, and without safety net. I can’t find a job so I’ll set up a business.I can’t afford an apartment; I’ll rent with others. I’m sick and don’t have insurance, I’ll keep working and get some medicinas de la farmacia Mexicana. My relative was killed, I’ll contact mis paisanos and they will help me fundraise to send the body back to our country

We have resisted

And when we got tired of being afraid, tired of listening “wait, be patience”, “wait for an immigration reform”, we began the resistance. First in the form of rapid response teams (deploy legal observers to the sites of immigration raids, find legal support, do Know Your Rights workshops), then our own lobbying at national and state levels, then direct action based on community organizing strategies. We have been willing to risk whatever we have left to create real political, societal and cultural change.

We have won

We have tried different things, and as long as leadership is true to the cause, we have won! We are a sore to GEO, and a thorn in ICE’s side. Media and local communities recognize us as the experts; we can speak for ourselves and about ourselves. People in detention and their relatives rely on our work. Other POC grassroots movements also recognize our work and integrity. We have been able to bring together people of different backgrounds and experiences, and work together. And because this works, we must continue this formula.

My proposal is as follows:

·      Continue organizing as possible with people in detention

·      Continue using direct action as one of our main tools

·      Invite non-detained immigrants to organize house meetings, with our support, organize in their neighborhoods. We will supply the tools we have developed (ICE free zone flyers, Archivo, toll free numbers, organizing basics, meeting facilitation) so each group/family can decide how to protect and defend themselves.

·      We will bring an immigration lawyer under the premise that the law hasn’t been on our side and it wont be for the next four years. In fact it might get worse. That’s why we need to develop our own support systems.

·      Once we have enough groups organized in different regions, we will connect them to grow the network.

·      Parallel to this work, we will work with our trusted national partners for them to give us a heads up on federal policy coming down the pipe, with model local policy to counteract its impact.

·      Create deeper relationships with local POC grassroots led groups: abolitionist, climate justice, gender justice, reproductive justice, farmworkers, Native Indigenous, Black, API, LGBTQ, formerly incarcerated, etc.

·      Look for co-conspirators, reserve space for allies.

We don’t ask you to protect us, we ask you to work with us

We must be careful about good people with good intentions misunderstanding our ask. When protection and safety is what communities ask for and will need, we must refuse becoming victims, or allowing white fragility to take over.

As we develop collaborations we have to keep our integrity and be true to our work. We will need to work with many, and we can’t do this alone. But most importantly we need to create long lasting change and this can only come with leadership that comes from the base, for the base.

Law has not and won’t be on our side

The system has relied on criminalizing our communities and legal limitations to operate. It has been a challenge to unmask the non-profit/Dems system that has made people believe that the solutions are within policy and litigation alone. The “advocates” have again and again gambled with our communities and thrown us under the bus for them to move along the political ladder. We can’t trust them that in the next four years they will be enlightened to all of the sudden change. We can’t rely on the law to “help” us. Now more than ever we need real grassroots community organizing and law advocates that understand their role in a larger movement.

Do what we know how to do best: organize!

This new phase in our work and in the nation is not about this election alone. We knew that even if the Republican Party had lost, we would be facing a more difficult challenge: the illusion of progress, as what we have in this "blue" state. In this new order we are facing, there are new opportunities and new challenges. As a committed group of people we have shown we are here for the long haul and we are not afraid of taking on bigger challenges. To the trump presidency, the hurt Dems, the fascist system being implemented as we speak, I say: Bring it on! ‘cause we are not going anywhere. We’ll fight back, and even if we loose, our dignity will be intact.

¡Hasta la victoria siempre compañerxs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maru Mora Villalpando