Obama has a historic opportunity to take bold action on our interdependent fights for justice and stand with our communities. In his last 100 days in office, President Obama can take bold action on many issues, we call for his executive action on our interdependent struggles in this region and we stand in solidarity with the Vision for Black Lives:
For healthy, safe and vibrant communities, we want to see:
- An immediate end to the criminalization and dehumanization of Black youth.
- Federal recognition of Indigenous tribes in Southeast Louisiana, and beyond.
- An end to the use of past criminal history to determine eligibility for housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, employment, and other services and needs.
- An end to the war on immigrants including the repeal of the 1996 crime and immigration bills, an end to all deportations, immigrant detention, and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids, and mandated legal representation in immigration court.
- An end to the war on trans, queer and gender nonconforming people including their addition to anti-discrimination civil rights protections to ensure they have full access to employment, health, housing and education.
- An end to the mass surveillance of communities, and the end to the use of technologies that criminalize and target our communities (including IMSI catchers, drones, body cameras, and predictive policing software).
- The demilitarization of law enforcement, including law enforcement in schools and on college campuses.
- An immediate end to the privatization of police, prisons, jails, probation, parole, food, phone and all other criminal justice related services.
- Until we achieve a world where cages are no longer used against our people we demand an immediate change in conditions and an end to public jails, detention centers, youth facilities and prisons as we know them. This includes the end of solitary confinement, the end of shackling of pregnant people, access to quality healthcare, and effective measures to address the needs of our youth, queer, gender nonconforming and trans families.
Communities of the Gulf Coast refuse to be a sacrifice zone any longer.
- The Gulf Coast continues to be a site of powerful community resistance against the devastating impacts of not only fossil fuel extraction from its land and waters, but also the stealing of land, people and labor from this region as a sacrifice zone to the country.
- Continued investment in the dying industry of fossil fuels in this region, as we see the world shifting energy economies to renewable and clean energy, perpetuates the cycle of generational poverty this region has already suffered from far too long.
- This is our home, not a sacrifice zone. We demand a just transition now.
For a sustainable climate and environment, we want to see:
- A halt to the expansion of offshore drilling projects in the Gulf South, and cancelling the August 24th fossil fuel auction.
- From Hurricane Katrina to the disappearance of entire islands below rising waters such as Isle de Jean Charles, Gulf Coast communities have known devastating climate impacts and the despicably slow and inadequate responses those impacts receive from our country’s leaders. Black, Brown, and poor communities, who are hit first and hardest by the impacts of climate change, continue to face abandonment when these disasters strike.
- True climate justice means doing everything possible to prevent climate disasters from happening in the first place by keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and coming together to protect everyone from those we can’t prevent.
- Our goal is to stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry: no new tar sands pipelines, no new coal mines, no new offshore drilling, no new fracking, and no new leases of public lands for fossil fuel extraction of any kind. We’d be better off investing all that capital in a clean energy economy and into our communities.
- As part of the Paris Climate agreement, the US officially committed to keeping warming well below two degrees Celsius — selling Gulf Coast waters to the highest bidder for new fossil fuel extraction projects is inconsistent with that bare-minimum commitment.
- Earlier this year, Shell spilled 90,000 gallons of oil from offshore drilling infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico. These types of accidents are devastating, dangerous, and inevitable if offshore drilling continues in the Gulf.
- By allowing leases for offshore drilling, the Obama administration continues to offer the Gulf South region up as a sacrifice zone for the fossil fuel industry.
The Gulf Coast has historically been one of the most economically poor, yet culturally and naturally rich places in the United States. It is time that our federal policies and practices reflect the integral role of this region, again in solidarity with the movements for black lives, migrant workers, queer and trans folks. Continued investment in industries such as the fossil fuel industry keeps our region behind in the long run by continuing to develop resources that do not have a long term, sustainable future. We can create jobs now by investing in repairing existing infrastructure as well as building our Gulf Coast around a robust renewable energy economy while we move towards a just transition for us all.
For a just and fair economy, we want to see:
- A right to restored land, clean air, clean water and housing and an end to the exploitative privatization of natural resources — including land and water. We seek democratic control over how resources are preserved, used and distributed and do so while honoring and respecting the rights of our Indigenous family.
- A reallocation of funds at the federal, state and local level from policing and incarceration (JAG, COPS, VOCA) to long-term safety strategies such as education, local restorative justice services, and employment programs.
- The retroactive decriminalization, immediate release and record expungement of all drug related offenses and prostitution, and reparations for the devastating impact of the “war on drugs” and criminalization of prostitution, including a reinvestment of the resulting savings and revenue into restorative services, mental health services, job programs and other programs supporting those impacted by the sex and drug trade.
- Real, meaningful, and equitable universal health care that guarantees: proximity to nearby comprehensive health centers, culturally competent services for all people, specific services for queer, gender nonconforming, and trans people, full bodily autonomy, full reproductive services, mental health services, paid parental leave, and comprehensive quality child and elder care.
- A constitutional right at the state and federal level to a fully-funded education which includes a clear articulation of the right to: a free education for all, special protections for queer and trans students, wrap around services, social workers, free health services (including reproductive body autonomy), a curriculum that acknowledges and addresses students’ material and cultural needs, physical activity and recreation, high quality food, free daycare, and freedom from unwarranted search, seizure or arrest.
- A divestment from industrial multinational use of fossil fuels and investment in community- based sustainable energy solutions.
- A cut in military expenditures and a reallocation of those funds to invest in domestic infrastructure and community well-being.
- Protections for workers in industries that are not appropriately regulated including oil and gas workers, domestic workers, farm workers, and tipped workers, and for workers — many of whom are Black women and incarcerated people— who have been exploited and remain unprotected. This includes the immediate passage at the Federal and state level of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and extension of worker protections to incarcerated people.
On Saturday, August 20th, we marched through the streets of New Orleans, stopping at 6 sites of resistance, in solidarity and with love. Our route:
- Start: Lafayette Square, site of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, to demand federal action by Obama on our interconnected struggles for justice.
- 1st Stop: TO CHANGE EVERYTHING, WE NEED EVERYONE at Shell Headquarters
- 2nd Stop: FEARLESS MIGRATION at ICE Office
- 3rd Stop: BLACK LIVES MATTER (1st stop) at Monument to White Supremacy
- 4th Stop: LOVE IS LIBERATION at Upstairs Lounge
- 5th Stop: BLACK LIVES MATTER (2nd stop) at French Quarter Police Station
- 6th Stop: INDIGENOUS RISING across street from Jackson Square
- Closing: WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT at the Mississippi River
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