Yesterday I was struck by all the interconnected relationships among my friends at Des Moines Mutual Aid.
I was happy to see my friend Donnielle at Mutual Aid for the first time yesterday. She and I were part of the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, September 1-8, 2018. A small group of native and non-native people walked and camped along the path of the Dakota Access pipeline, from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, Iowa (ninety-four miles). One of the main purposes of that walk was to create a group of people who began to get to know each other so we could work on issues of common interest and concern. That really worked and many of us have worked together in many ways since. One of the first things several of us did together, was to lobby Senator Grassley’s staff to support a couple of bills related to safety of Indigenous women. That was in 2018. The renewal of the Violence Against Women Act was just passed and includes those tribal protections. The photo below at the Neal Smith Federal Building was taken the day of the meeting with Senator Grassley’s staff.
Jake, the climate justice advocate from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI) was also there. Two weeks ago, I attended a board meeting of the Iowa Energy Center Board, having been asked to take photos there. Jake organized a group of us to attend the board meeting to try to get MidAmerican to shut down their five coal burning plants. We have since learned our presence there has had some effect. He also asked me to write a letter to the editor about the same issue, which I did. Yesterday Donnielle asked Jake about an upcoming city council meeting where MidAmerican’s franchise with the city will be discussed.
Jade was at Mutual Aid, as usual. She organizes the prison letter writing project of Central Iowa Democratic Socialists of America, which I have joined. A friend of mine in Indianapolis, a professor at the law school there, got me involved in Religious Socialism, part of DSA, hence the name of this blog.
And as usual, my good friend Ronnie was at Mutual Aid. I had told him about some transgender people who were looking for support. Yesterday we talked about that some more, and he gave me a couple of suggestions that I passed along.
My small Quaker meeting is also part of this networking. Some members have been supporters of ICCI for years. It is this meeting that is looking into how we might support the trans people. And I will be speaking about Mutual Aid during the annual gathering of Quakers this summer.
Other connections include supporting the Wet’suwet’en peoples as they try to stop the construction of the Costal GasLink pipeline through their pristine territory in British Columbia. In the photo below you can see Des Moines Black Lives Matter is helping us stand with the Wet’suwet’en.
The signs about Prairies Not Pipelines and #NOCO2PIPELINES was organized by my friend Sikowis, who also walked on the First Nation-Famer Climate Unity March.