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Letters by Sarah Vekasi
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Dearest Friends,

I am sitting in my pottery studio, surrounded by the Seven Sister Mountains in Black Mountain, NC, and thinking about our capacity for compassion and the power of resiliency.

This Friday I will be helping convene the second annual North Carolina Climate Justice Summit, at the Haw Creek State Park, (http://www.ncclimatejustice.org/). Lead by the phenomenal Jodi Lasseter, our team is hosting over two hundred people from around North Carolina to look deeply at climate change and its disproportional impact on communities of color and low-income communities in our state, and focus on solutions through the lens of climate justice. Half of our attendees will be under the age of 18, and half of us older folks will be taking the lead from the next generation. We are a diverse group – well, we represent our state well in terms of race, class, geography, age – we are coming from all the very different regions: Appalachia, Piedmont, Coastal, the densely populated Triangle area, the super rural coastal and mountain communities, etc. This summit, and all of the work we’ve done going in to it, and will continue to do afterwards, is what is giving me hope right now. This is the juice I am working with. What are you engaged in? I would love to hear from yall. Also, if you are able to help us raise the last money we need for this summit, please donate to our Indiegogo campaign at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nc-climate-justice-summit#/.

As news has been pouring in from France, Missouri, Minnesota, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Russia, I find my facebook newfeed filled with heartache and outrage, grief, shock, anger, etc. What I am not seeing, is a sense of helplessness, nor hopelessness. If you feel mired in these rough places, please call me up for an Eco-Chaplaincy session. Seriously. What I am seeing is that while the recent terror attacks around the world are horrific, there is also a growing movement of active resistance – people saying no to more war, yes to sheltering refugees, no to police-violence and state-sponsored racism, yes to racial equity. People are making all the connections between climate change, historical oppression, and modern strife. Among tragedy, there is always courage, and in these hard times, it is really important for us to find the space and time to feel all the complexity of our emotions so we can make time to water the seeds of justice and courage that we need for the long haul.

Last night a beautiful letter was sent out by organizers from 350.org about the decision to continue with public demonstrations on behalf of climate justice in Paris in two weeks at the upcoming COP 21 Summit. While GOP governors and candidates get a lot of mainstream news coverage for their racist reactionary policies, my friends are standing up, locking down, linking together for a more connected world where black lives matter, refugees are seen as humans in need of a home and safety, and we know how to connect the dots between war, racism, and climate change.

We live at a potent time, with really high stakes. It’s alright if we are not engaged in all of these movements, just one will do fine, as we are all intimately connected.

May all of us have shelter, physical safety, enough food, and clean water.

May we all open up to the potential of this time, and decide to turn toward life;

May we find ways to turn toward courage and away from fear; open up to understanding one another rather than closing off; and

May we find room to accept our families and our neighbors, no matter how different.


I love yall. Thanks for reading. Please write back or give a call if you want to connect more.