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Letters by Sarah Vekasi
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December 13, 2014


Dearest friends,

            I hope this letter finds you activated and strong in your power and purpose. It has been a turbulent few weeks since the grand jury failed to indict officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO for the shooting of Michael Brown, followed by the audacious lack of indictment of officer Daniel Pantaleo in New York for the strangle-hold killing of Eric Garner. Both Black men, killed ostensibly in response to petty misdemeanors, by white uniformed policemen, in a time of too many other deaths of black men and women. Many people, myself included, have reached a boiling point, where business cannot continue as normal, when the “business” allows systemic and structural racism to control our society. As an Eco-Chaplain, I offer all of you my love, my support, and an open phone line if anyone wants to talk. I encourage all of you to stay connected, embody your dignity, and walk through this time in strength and clarity.

The weekend just before the grand jury’s announcement, I participated in the first North Carolina Climate Justice Summit, outside of Greensboro, NC. We were two hundred people from all across the state, half of whom were under the age of eighteen, and only half of whom were white. We really did reflect our society, which is so rare in the movements I have been a part of. It was a powerful and energizing weekend, a glimpse at what could be in movement work. We gathered as an inter-generational and multi-racial, multi-ethnic community, to address the issue of our time: Climate Justice. Climate Justice, by its very definition, shines the spotlight on racism and inequality, by examining how certain communities are disproportionately bearing the brunt of environmental devastation: often communities of color, always low-income communities, and lifting up organizers and demands from frontline communities in the forefront of all organizing work.

            It is hard to express my outrage the very next night waiting to hear about the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson. I was, and am, overwhelmed by the dissonance between the strength in our diversity and our commitment to dismantle racism at the NC Climate Justice Summit, and the overt racism and transparent lack of justice in Ferguson. I gathered with friends in downtown  Asheville the next night, as so many of you probably did, mourning and grieving for our nation, for my friends and family who are not safe from wanton police violence and racial profiling because of the color of your/their skin, for the damage done in our cities and small towns across America.  

            I saw a meme on the internet recently that asked, “Did you ever wonder what you would have done during the Civil Rights movement? Now is the time to find out.” This is a time to gather together, to speak up and speak out against racism, racial profiling, police violence, and to all continue to speak up for climate justice, and restorative justice, and participate in the ongoing ground swell of inter-sectional organizing alive in this time of global crisis.

            This weekend, and ongoing, there are actions organized across America. If you are not already connected to a group, do an online search for a solidarity action nearby. If you do not find one, or want to participate in a different way, organize one yourself!

If you are white, please check out the good work by the network Showing Up For Racial Justice, which has great resources on how to be an ally for racial justice. The website is: http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/.

May this transformative time help turn us toward a Great Turning toward a more life-affirming, equitable and sustainable society.

Much love to all of you.


*Please consider donating to sustain the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative. Online: http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html, or in the mail to PO Box 1114, Black Mountain, NC 28711. Thank you!*