By Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF)
Neza Xiuhtecutli, Field Coordinator for the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF), a member of the Equal Voice for Rural Florida Network, reports on FWAF’s participation in the Sol2Sol Summit held in San Francisco from September 8-14, 2018. Read about the Summit’s mobilization of a broad range of allies in the fight for climate justice and sustainable economic development.
With a call to Rise for Climate Justice!, the Farmworker Association of Florida is participating in one of the largest climate mobilizations on the West Coast, bringing together many organizations and thousands of people to demand sustainable solutions to climate change and for good jobs and resilience planning for vulnerable communities. FWAF is presenting about farmworkers, agroecology, resistance actions, and justice for our communities at the Sol2Sol Summit in San Francisco.
Sol2Sol Summit is a group of alliances that has come together to build community-based solutions. Sol2Sol is short for Solidarity to Solutions in which the four alliances – Climate Justice Alliance (of which FWAF is a member), Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Right to the City – have come together to create an alliance of alliances.
The event creates a space where communities of different organizations can learn from one another and participate in solidarity actions. With the motto #ItTakesRoots, the alliances participated in the march on Saturday, September 8th, to protest the Global Action Climate Summit organized by California Governor Jerry Brown. Rather than offer solutions, this summit offers the option of creating a system of carbon offsets to allow fossil fuel industries the option of calling themselves “green.” This march set off from Embarcadero and Market Streets in San Francisco and ended at the city’s civic center where action continued in the form of performances and activist art.
On Sunday, September 9th, the event moved to Berkeley to the site of an ancient Oholone People’s shell mound. Although the shell mound is no longer there, the site remains sacred ground for the Ohlone people. The Ohlone welcomed us into their occupied territory, as their elders also welcomed members from other indigenous people from Amazonia and the Marshall Islands. These groups of Indigenous Peoples exchanged gifts, songs, and prayers and calls for action for respect and in defense of Mother Earth.
Later, the delegates went on different tours that highlighted the extractive and exploitative nature of our current economic system. One of these tours included the community of Richmond in the North Bay area, where refineries have polluted the air and water so bad that salt water fish living in the Bay water are practically inedible and where an elementary school is located within a couple hundred yards from that refinery. The community of Richmond is fighting back through the North Richmond Farm, where chemical-free produce is grown as an affordable option for a community that has little access to chemical- and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. This space is allowing Black and Brown communities to work together to help their communities reach food sovereignty. Delegates were able to pitch in and help with some improvements at the farm.
Monday, September 10th, was another day of action as Sol2Sol in solidarity with Idle No More protested in front of the Parc 55 Hotel in downtown San Francisco and demanded that the indigenous delegation be allowed to sit at the table where the industry-led GACS was holding its meeting. Although the delegation was allowed in, not all of its members were. The week of action continues.
Farmworker Association of Florida‘s long-standing mission is to build power among farmworker and rural low-income communities to respond to and gain control over the social, political, workplace, economic, health, and environmental justice issues that impact their lives. FWAF has been building power among Florida’s farmworkers for more than 25 years. With roots in the Hispanic, Haitian, and African-American communities across Central and South Florida, the organization has a solid history of leadership development and generating effective action for social change. As a grassroots, farmworker-membership, community-based organization, FWAF is lead and governed by the farmworkers communities in which they work. This story was originally published by FWAF, under the title, Rise for Climate Justice: Climate, Jobs and Justice – Gathering in San Francisco.”