Gaspar Sánchez and Veronica Morris-Moore are young organizers from Honduras and Chicago, respectively. Gaspar is a leader of the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and a Lenca indigenous LGBT activist. He was mentored by the late Berta Cáceres, the COPINH co-founder who was assassinated on March 2, 2016. Veronica has been on the front lines of youth struggles in the era of Black Lives Matter, from winning a trauma center to helping oust the state’s attorney who played a role in covering up the Chicago police murder of Laquan McDonald.
By Thenjiwe McHarris, Movement for Black Lives
Contributing Editor’s Note by Dara Cooper
On April 4, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the Movement for Black Lives [M4BL] launched Beyond the Moment: United Movements from April 4th to May Day, a campaign “to strengthen the fight for justice, freedom and the right to live fully, with dignity and respect for all people.” M4BL engaged a broad based, multi-cultural, multi-sector coalition known as “The Majority” to kick off a series of actions, teach-ins and events inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech between April 4 and May Day.
In his speech, Dr. King named racism, capitalism and militarism as the greatest harms challenging people to commit to the “fierce urgency of now.” As tens of thousands of protesters converged in Washington D.C. for the People’s Climate March to stand up against reactionary assaults on environmental justice by the current U.S. administration, Dr. King’s warning is more urgent now than ever. Because of the highly racialized effects of climate change, communities of color are the most devastated by our current climate conditions.
In an interview with Peter Mansbridge from CBC News in March 2016, David Suzuki claimed that we have fundamentally failed as environmentalists. This is a worrying statement coming from an acclaimed environmental activist, yet difficult to deny given the consistent need for public protest and outcry over things like the placement of a pipeline or waste facility. The environmental movement inspired by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 has been a long uphill battle. Individuals and communities half a century later are still forced to challenge the dominant discourse of industrial development that denies the right to a healthy environment.
Food Justice is communities exercising their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food. Healthy food is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally-appropriate and grown locally with care for the well-being of the land, workers, and animals. People practicing food justice leads to a strong local food system, self-reliant communities and a healthy environment. This video by the Social Justice Learning Institute documents the food justice movement in the City of Inglewood. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4Ev9jneXfw
Hunger is not about not having enough food. It’s about inequalities in access to resources to grow food, it’s about power and distribution. Women, make up the majority of small scale farmers and household food producers in many countries. We asked women from different backgrounds on International Women’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’s Day 2012 what Food Justice means to them and what are solutions to fixing our broken food system. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA6p0w2Xoqg
The concepts of “environmental racism” and “environmental justice” arose from a specific struggle by a community of African-Americans resisting the siting of a hazardous waste landfill in their community. From its beginnings as an original fusion of environmental and black Civil Rights rhetorics, the concept of environmental racism has continued to grow, expand. It soon embraced the experience of other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, Native Americans, latinos and others. Expanding the concept further, the “environmental inequalities” perspective came to encompass gender and class dimensions, as well. The concept can be expanded fruitfully in both space and time: Environmental inequalities exist not only in the United States; all over the world, social and environmental inequalities are inseparable facets of a single process. Environmental inequality pervades not only contemporary society; at its very origins, modern society was made possible by acts of combined social and environmental injustices. In…