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I write to you from the lodge of The Mountain Learning & Retreat Center, a UU camp on the ridge of an Appalachian mountain in the Nantahala National Forest --- in ancestral Cherokee lands. I am here for the second annual Climate Justice conference at The Mountain, and it is very good to be here.
Rev. Gary McAlpin (a Cherokee, UU Community Minister) and I carpooled here together from Cherokee lands in Oklahoma. We talked a lot about colonial legacies and processes of decolonization (on personal and UU denominational levels) as we drove in the opposite direction along the historic Trail of Tears.
The discovery of gold in Cherokee territory was a major impetus for their forced removal to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Here we are nearly 200 years later, and Indigenous leaders are still being murdered and forcibly removed from their lands for gold, in Brazil.
Colonial, imperialist genocide and destruction is still happening, and it must stop. An average of more than three land defenders per week are murdered around the world; the vast majority of them Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). In 2006, the World Bank estimated that 80% of the remaining biodiversity on the planet is in Indigenous territories. I wonder what that figure is like today… The killing must stop.
In our hearts and in our daily actions, may we honor and remember chief Emyra Waiapi of the Waiapi people, who was murdered last week by militant, invading gold miners. May we honor and remember all these fallen land defenders in our hearts and in our daily actions. They lost their lives defending all Life.
May we also honor and remember all those being killed by white supremacist terrorists. The El Paso mass-shooter espoused this hateful, eco-fascist nonsense in a manifesto published online minutes before the shooting the other day: “if we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can be more sustainable.” This is misguided, anti-immigrant racism masquerading as environmentalism. The killing must stop.
In our hearts and in our actions, may we understand the depth of hate, greed, and destruction that we are up against. May we know in our hearts and daily actions even deeper sources of love, compassion, and creative imagination that another world is possible. May we respond with love, courage, solidarity, wisdom, and faith.
Join the Global Climate Strikes
The climate crisis is an emergency. On Sept 20, people are walking out of their homes and workplaces to join youth-led #ClimateStrike actions demanding that leaders respond to this emergency. The climate strikes are slated for September 20th and 27th—with additional actions slated for the days in between—are planned in over 150 countries so far. The strikes culminate with the United Nations Summit on Climate Change on September 23rd in New York.
Would you like to learn more about the Juliana v. US lawsuit? No Ordinary Lawsuit podcast follows 21 young Americans who are suing the United States government in a landmark constitutional case, Juliana v. US. The podcast takes listeners behind the scenes of the trial and brings to life the stories of these young plaintiffs’ fight to reverse the course of climate change. The nonprofit Our Children’s Trust commissioned this podcast to offer the backstory of the plaintiffs and explain the stakes of this legal action.
INITC Gathering - Be a Sponsor
Emerging from partnerships formed at the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock in 2016, Unitarian Universalists accepted the invitation to be friends, relatives, and collaborators with Indigenous elders and leaders through INITC and the INITC project “Stories and Songs of the People”. This is a long-term, committed relationship.
We need your support. Please consider this invitation to become a Friend of INITC — the InterNātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration.
Climate Action Roundtables
The UU Climate Action Network consists of Unitarian Universalist individuals and Climate Action Teams (CATs) in communities and congregations all over North America. The network offers CATs and UU activists opportunities to share news, stories, resources, and calls to action.
Beginning this month, we are kicking off a restructuring of the UU Climate Action Network (UUCAN) Roundtable calls. Many calls are already scheduled (check out the current schedule) and more will be added.
Green New Deal Conference
September 15-17. The Green New Deal has spurred debate on the need for bold actions that make big differences. Join UU Ministry for Earth, UUs for Just Economic Community, UUs for Social Justice, All Souls Church, Unitarian, UU Service Committee, UUA, and Side with Love To see how we as UUs can be in solidarity and fellowship on these issues.
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