Day XI in Copenhagen: Dear President Obama…….

By Jacqui Patterson, NAACP Climate Justice Initiative Director

This morning we delivered the aforementioned letter to the US Embassy for President Obama. First we held a press conference where several riveting speakers gave compelling testimony about why President Obama’s strong action on climate change is imperative.  With the event being MC’ed by Kalila Barnett of Alternatives for Community and Environment,  we started with testimony from Michele Roberts of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, followed by Wahleah Johns of the Black Mesa Water Coalition and Kandi Mosset (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) from the Indigenous Environmental Network, Mari Rose Taruc  from Asian Pacific Environmental Network,  and ending with Diana Lopez from Southwest Workers Union.  Each speaker shared, impassioned heartfelt stories of the gravity of what we’re facing, from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina to the incessant violations on indigenous lands, and the urgent importance of swift and sure policy setting, that is legal and binding. Kalila’s introduction and the first speech, by Michele, can be found below:

Fortunately, there were other videographers in the group whose fingers did not turn into excruciating and paralyzed blocks of ice within the first 10 minutes of filming. L So, please find their footage posted here shortly. Also, please excuse the shaking in the above clip. I was trying to rearrange my fingers in my glove in hopes that the cold and pain would be abated, to no avail. J

In the afternoon the side event, on whose panel I was supposed to serve, was moved due to the shut-out of the Bella Center.  So in a darkened pub setting,  in the Bellona Foundation Lounge as opposed to a fluorescently lit conference room, John Grant of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Bob Gruenig of National Tribal Environmental Council and Jerome Ringo of Apollo Alliance, actress and spokesperson Gloria Reuben, and I, chaired by Joe Mendelson of the National Wildlife Federation, shared our observations, analyses, and calls to action as it relates to climate change and climate justice in the United States.  Gloria spoke of her experience in West Virginia following a local hero who is resisting mountain top removal. Jerome talked about surviving Katrina and spoke of the real life consequences of failure to act. John implored folks to think of ways they can contribute and stated that everyone has a role. I spoke on the intersection of climate, gender and race. A video of the panel will follow shortly. (It hasn’t been uploaded to the Bellona Foundation site yet)

Explore posts in the same categories: African American Climate Advocacy, Copenhagen Blog

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