It looks as though the Dakota Access Pipeline will not be built this year, not under the Missouri River through Standing Rock Sioux treaty land. This is good news, and it came just as thousands of U.S. military veterans (including two from Veterans for Peace Chapter 111) assembled at Standing Rock to back up water protectors. This was a moment when no one could deny the strength of the growing resistance. We must continue to build that resistance; we must continue to move money out of the banks invested in buildling the pipeline, until they move their money out of the project. Michael Vendiola (Swinomish Indian Tribal Community) of Bellingham NoDAPL Coalition spoke on Democracy Now this morning about this work.
Carbon colonialism, environmental racism, treaty violations, the military-industrial complex -- underlying struggles at Standing Rock -- continue, including here in Whatcom County and in communities across the continent.
How will we keep building resistance? Many groups are organizing. Below are invitations from grassroots groups in Bellingham to respectfully join their work -- to learn and take action.
Communities of color paying the price with their land and water
Black Lives Matter Bellingham will focus on environmental justice at this month’s meeting, 6:30-9:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at First Congregational Church. When we talk about protecting water, we are also talking about Flint, Michigan, which still doesn’t have clean drinking water. And every community where pipelines run and break -- usually in communities of color. Meeting details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1248749958480683
This Thursday at 6:30 p.m., speak at the county Planning Commission’s public hearing, where they are considering policies that discourage coal and crude oil exports. If you can come, wear red, and show up at 5:30 to sign up for a speaking slot. If you can’t come, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know you support the amendments proposed by Councilmember Carl Weimer for Cherry Point. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/632205360295801
Lax Kw'alaams peoples in British Columbia are resisting a liquified natural gas facility on their traditional territory. Local college students are holding an educational fundraising dinner from 6-9 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 8 at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/392097804512203/ At 9 p.m., they will screen “A Last Stand for Lelu.”
Detention and deportation
Immigrant detention is the most profitable form of incarceration in the U.S. -- and even though the U.S. Department of Justice decided earlier this year to shut down its contracts with private prisons, Homeland Security (the agency that oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or “ICE”) has made no such decision. ICE continues to rely on for-profit prison companies to operate immigration detention centers across the country. The closest one to Bellingham is the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Conditions are notoriously unsafe in these for-profit prisons. Bellingham police sent a Latino teenager to the Tacoma facility for deportation proceedings just last year, after a traffic stop (his legal team is now suing the city).
Bellingham City Council meets 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5 at City Hall. Until the city passes binding legislation that stating otherwise, we can’t trust that undocumented students and workers will be safe from ICE on local campuses or at their homes. We can’t trust that the county jail won’t be used to hold immigrants or to ensure private companies are meeting shareholders’ expectations for profits.
Please go on the record in support of the WWU Blue Group’s efforts to make Bellingham a Sanctuary City and WWU a sanctuary campus. To reach City Council, you can speak during public comment at Monday night’s meeting, or write a letter voicing your concern. To reach WWU, you can sign the Blue Group’s petition.
[Here’s a primer on mass incarceration in the U.S.: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2016.html]
Legal basis for European colonization
From 6-9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, learn about the Doctrine of Discovery from Jewell James, of the House of Tears carvers, Lummi Nation. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1356656777692296
The Racial Justice Coalition holds monthly public meetings where people can connect with each other and work on local racial justice issues -- such as food justice, affordable housing, ending racial profiling, education about white supremacy, and more. This month’s meeting, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, RJC will have a big group discussion on our reality post-election and organizing locally to resist fascism. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/725533854260445
Human Rights Day: Islamophobia
International Human Rights Day is Saturday, Dec. 10. From 3-6 p.m., join Bellingham’s gathering to hear from Raed Jarrar, an expert on U.S. engagement in the Middle East. Learn about the impacts of the U.S.’s disproportionate spending on militarization on foreign communities, and how Islamophobia in the U.S. plays into war profiteers’ efforts to send our tax dollars into their pockets. This is also a chance to take part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/713158895502864
Jobs with Justice
Jobs with Justice meets Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. at 1700 N. State Street (Union Center). The agenda includes an update on the Albertson’s campaign to address the ongoing food desert situation in the wake of Albertson’s closing this past spring.
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