On September 8, hundreds of people gathered in solidarity with individuals rising globally to continue to uplift the intersections of the climate justice movement.
The Oregon Just Transition Alliance (OJTA) supported by OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Unite Oregon, Rural Organizing Project, PCUN, Beyond Toxics, APANO, Rogue Climate, Adelante Mujeres and many more rose up for climate justice, immigrant justice, gender justice, housing justice, transportation justice, energy justice and all the intersections within our movement. Together we showed that real solutions must come from the ground up and that true leadership puts people over profit!
With the support of more than 35 allied organizations, OJTA once again got to work with incredible community members who believe in the need for a bolder vision to address our three crisis: the ecological crisis, the economic crisis, and the crisis of empire. More than 300 people turned out at Glenhaven park to share stories, learn, and celebrate our communities resistance against climate injustice, exploitation and continued targeting and criminalization of our communities. More below:
With Rise For Climate, Jobs and Justice we showed that we will not sit and wait for governments to act. We are going to lead by example and demand that all of our institutions and governments do the same. We showed that when frontline communities lead, real solutions rise up! This gathering was unique as it centered the voices and issues of people of color, low income people, rural communities, and tribal people. Self-identified women and gender non-conforming individuals led the day’s program, and highlighted the need for a transfeminist regenerative economy. Speakers explicitly called for a transition of all sectors, led by frontline communities seeking justice. The way to stop climate change is a Just Transition to an economy that works for those the current economy leaves behind.
The day opened with a blessing from Native Elder Ed Edmo, Shoshone-Bannock. Telling stories of how tribal communities have been first advocates of climate justice and the need to centered our indigenous communities first in any decision.
Emcees for the day were Reyna Lopez, Executive Director of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, and Adrian Cato, Youth Organizer for OPAL Environmental Justice Alliance.
Lanija Harris, Youth Leader at UMOJA KIJANA SHUJAA spoke about the need to center the direct organizing of Black, African, youth, women, and gender nonconforming individuals in the climate justice movement and in any decision relating to our communities. “Listen to women, femmes and transgender folks. We have been leading movements from the start and we need more women and gender variant folks in positions of power, not just in theory but in practice. We need more POC women, femme, and trans folks heading organizations”.
Yanely Rivas, Leadership Development Director with Unite Oregon, spoke about how migration is natural but the extractive, exploitative economy is not. She mentioned that when migrants seek refuge from climate devastation, they are forced to migrate to nations who benefit and exasperate our climate crisis. Yanely welcomed the crowd by cheering “The people are rising!” “No more compromising!” Yanely spoke to encourage the crowd gathered to fight Measure 105, an initiative that opens the door to racial profiling and families being torn apart, simply because someone is perceived to be an undocumented immigrant. Join Oregonians United Against Profiling and rise with Yanely by pledging to vote NO!
Kathy Jetñil Kijiner, a Climate Warrior, poet, and powerful woman shared a poem with the assembled crowd about the environmental impacts threatening their home Marshall Island. An excerpt from the poem is below:
“hands reaching out
fists raising up
and we are
canoes blocking coal ships
the radiance of solar villages”
Up next was Melva Perez, a Pacific Climate Warrior, who highlighted that “our work intertwines with many aspects that we deal with in our lives locally.” Fighting climate change comes from the fight for justice in society. “The effects that we feel in the United States like job security, immigration laws, the housing crisis, and many other injustices push us to work on climate change.” Melva mentioned their home islands are a low lying atoll, that floods during high tides. Melva ended their speech with the affirmation that youth must lead our movement! “We believe that youth will lead the charge for these changes!”
Join by the audience Reyna Lopez led us in a moment of solidarity by singing “Voices of My Great Granddaughter,”
People gonna rise like the water
We’re gonna calm this crisis down
I hear the voice of my great granddaughter,
singing ‘Keep it in the Ground’
Barbara Brown followed up by asking the audience to imagine the Jordan Cove Liquified Natural Gas Pipeline being proposed in Southern Oregon. “A fossil fuel project with a ninety foot wide path ripping open Southern Oregon’s farm and forest lands to lay a high pressure three foot wide pipeline filled with fracked gas across the state, ending in Coos Bay where it would be loaded onto ships bound for China.” Chanting “Shut it Down!” Barbara welcomed the audience to ask elected officials to stand up in solidarity and shut down this horrifying 229 mile monster.
“Climate justice means that we’re fighting for people in low income communities and working together,” said Violeta Mata and Say Wah Paw, young leaders with the Youth Environmental Justice Alliance. They reminded us that youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today. “We believe that a sustainable future begins with investing in youth. Climate Justice begins when we listen to youth and incorporate their voices in decision making,” Say Wah said. Youth called for real solutions that address climate and transportation injustice like #YouthPass4All- a fight of more than 22 years for youth to have access to public transportation. Violeta called on the gathering to say “no” to false solutions that move at the expense of our communities, like the electrification of buses being prioritized over youth and seniors’ access to transit. YouthPass means eliminating barriers and discrimination that prevent young people from succeeding!
The Portland Power Squad ended the day highlighting the importance of energy justice in connection to immigrant rights and the importance of taking action for initiatives like the Portland Clean Energy Initiative (26-201) which frontline communities lead.
Reyna Lopez and Adrian Cato concluded inviting everyone to join a movement of movements, a new regenerative system, one built on renewable resources! Cooperative work! Interconnectedness and sacredness! And deep democracy, in the workplace, the community, and the globe! The crowd cheered once more and joined in a moment of celebration by taking photos and listening to the music of Colectivo Son Jarocho and DJ Fannie!
The day was incredible. Oregon Just Transition Alliance couldn’t have done it without our endorsers, supporters, volunteers, donors and everyone present on this day. We thank you all for making this day special, memorable, and remarkable. This is only the beginning of Oregon’s movement for a regenerative economy. Check out the rest of photos taken by Joel Rubinstein HERE and photos taken by Justin Katigbak | Survival Media Agency HERE
So what’s next? Take Action!
- Support the fight against Measure 105 and pledge to Vote No HERE
- Support and volunteer for the Portland Clean Energy Initiative. More info HERE
- Support Youth, Seniors and individuals with disabilities by asking TriMet to Invest $3.4M to seniors and individuals with disabilities and $1.6M for Youth Transportation. Read updates HERE.
- Follow @NoLNGExports to learn more about how to contribute to the fight and tell our leaders to SHUT DOWN the Jordan Cove Liquified Natural Gas Pipeline.