by Anna LaCombe
Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter is supporting the 100 Days of Resistance March, also known as the International Workers’ Day March, on May 1st.
Demonstrators will gather at East Phillips Park at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 1st. The main march will leave from the East Phillips Park at 4:30 p.m. to march on the Federal Building where the final rally will take place at 6:30 p.m.
The link between this march to stand up for immigrant and worker’s rights and the Sierra Club might prompt questions at first glance. However, environmental organizations whose mission it is to protect the natural world must also protect its inhabitants. The toxins that pollute our streams, drinking water, fellow creatures and air also pollute people, and this pollution has never been evenly distributed among us. Vulnerable communities, whether due to socio-economic factors, racial and ethnic background, or residential status, have endured the bulk of our pollution.
Environmental movements across the country must stand as a united force advocating for change in how we power our societies and economies and call for change in how immigrants, low income and people of color are treated in this country. For many of us, myself included, it starts with opportunities like this.
The march bookends what will be a weekend of resistance, as the People’s Climate Movement on Saturday, April 29th marks President Trump’s first 100 days in office. The marchers demand an end to mass deportations and police brutality, an end to attacks on immigrants, refugees and Muslims, a living wage for all, and climate justice.
The first 100 days of the Trump presidency has been rife with failures, saddled by widespread internal dysfunction. Yet, he has still managed to sign executive orders that authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, order the review of millions of acres of land designated as national monuments, and begin the process of dismantling Obama’s executive orders on climate change policy like the Clean Power Plan.
Mustafa Ali, a Senior Adviser and Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice at the U.S. EPA, resigned in March amid reports that the White House would close the Office of Environmental Justice. The Trump administration’s proposed budget contained a 31% budget cut to the U.S. EPA and it would slash all funding allocated to the Environmental Justice program which was established in 1992.
The President’s budget might only be a fantasy if cooler heads prevail, but his proposals offer a clear signal of this administration’s priorities. The message received is that while there is little appetite to support the EPA and the National Institute of Health, there is no desire to continue the work of the Environmental Justice Office. The communities in this county that have been hurt most by extractive industries will find no respite in the Trump era.
We must reject an agenda which sidelines the most disenfranchised and marginalized people among us. If we allow the new administration’s divisive policies to go unchecked and unchallenged, the most vulnerable among us will suffer.
Anna LaCombe is an Energy Policy and Communications Intern at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter