I’m reflecting and praying about what happened this past weekend during the Climate Summit of the newly formed Buffalo Rebellion, a new coalition of Iowa organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice.
Buffalo Rebellion is a new coalition of Iowa organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. The Earth Day Rally will be an afternoon of honoring Mother Earth through sharing stories and visions for climate justice and taking action together for a world that puts people and the planet before profits for a few.
Following the Earth Day Rally, Buffalo Rebellion will be holding two days of immersive training to develop 100 grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community and come together to create a thriving state-wide movement.
Formed in 2021, Buffalo Rebellion is comprised of seven Iowa organizations: Great Plains Action Society, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Cedar Rapids Sunrise Movement, SEIU Local 199, and Iowa CCI.
Extremely thankful for this community we built this weekend. Looking forward to fighting for the future alongside all of you.
Thank you to the organizers, and big love to the participants.
Keep an eye out for Buffalo Rebellions next move.
How do you build a coalition? You bring together organizations and people who have demonstrated they are effective at building community and organizing for change. And who are aligned in their purpose.
My experience is there are a small number of people and organizations who shoulder justice work in a city or geographical area. Which means they are acquainted with each other. A given individual often belongs to multiple organizations.
But these groups often don’t work together. Building a coalition is how to remedy that. The organizations listed above are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. That is our common purpose. Rapidly evolving environmental chaos is an existential threat that requires radical action now.
Centering on racial and economic justice is crucial for many reasons. Blatant environmental racism is seen over and over again by the location of hazardous infrastructure in Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) communities. Conversely, solar panels are not often seen there.
There are many aspects of economic injustice as well. Those economically disadvantaged also tend to live in areas of environmental hazards. And supply the labor for jobs such as coal, oil, and tar sands mining, while white capitalists receive (steal) the profits.
Building a coalition requires us to know and trust each other. And to learn about each other’s work. Tools that we can bring to our organizations. Or know who has expertise we can turn to for help.
This past weekend of Buffalo Rebellion meetings and action went a long way in beginning to accomplish these goals. It was important to have the action of marching to the offices of MidAmerican Energy. Demonstrating how direct actions work.
The many excellent presentations shared the tools and knowledge of experts in our coalition. The following table of presentations gives an idea of what was done.
|Community Building & Storytelling||Cedar Rapids Sunrise|
|End-Stage Iowa, Indigenous Land Stewardship & the Green|
(Red) New Deal
|Great Plains Action Society (GPAS), Iowa Citizens Community Improvement (ICCI)|
|NoDAPL Reunion Panel|
|Fundamentals of Organizing (Starting an Issue Based Campaign|
and Fundraising 101)
|DSM Black Liberation, ICCI, Sierra Club Beyond Coal|
|Police, Prison, & Military Abolition for Climate Justice||DSM Black Liberation Movement|
|Lobbying: Get Your Local Green New Deal Passed into Law||Cedar Rapids Sunrise|
|Migration in Iowa and Big-Ag||Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice|
|Art and Activism||Say Poetry, DSM Black Liberation Movement|
|Frontline Tactical Methods to Protect the Land: From Direct Actions and Resistance Camps|
|Landscapes: The Kinship of Climate, Wildness, and Community|
|Mutual Aid: Bail Funds, Court Solidarity, and Incarceration Support in Resistance Movements||GPAS, DSM Mutual Aid|
|Linking the Origins of Iowa’s Contemporary Environmental Problems to the Extractive Nature of White Settlement|
|Ending White Supremacy in Climate Organizing||CPAS, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Sierra Club Beyond Coal|
|Launching the Movement: Strategic Applications of Drones for Grassroots Actions||GPAS|
|Building Power with Public Narrative||Cedar Rapids Sunrise, ICCI, DSM People’s Town Hall|
|Damn Lies and C02 pipelines||Science and Environmental Health Network|
|Deep Canvassing||ICCI, DSM People’s Town Hall|
|Urban Farming and Community Fridges||Sweet Tooth Farms|
|Bird-Dogging 101||Cedar Rapids Sunrise, ICCI, DSM Black Liberation Movement|
|Youth Caucus Report||Seventh Generation Youth Climate Caucus|
You can see the videos of most of these presentations on the Buffalo Rebellion Facebook page.
For example, this is the presentation by my friend Ronnie James of Des Moines Mutual Aid and Great Plains Action Society.
Mutual Aid: Bail Funds, Court Solidarity, and Incarceration Support in Resistance Movements
– Ronnie James, DSM Mutual Aid & Great Plains Action Society
An introduction to the how and why of supporting frontliners that suffer arrest during Movement activities. Instruction will cover the reason for, creation of, and implementation of a Bail Fund. We will also touch on the main phases of the arrest and court process: Arrest, Pre-Trial, Trial, Post-Trial, Sentencing, and Incarceration, and some of the avenues of support the defendant will require during these phases. We will discuss the role of the Defense Committee, and how they compare and contrast with the Legal Defense Team. Finally, there will be a brief summary of how this works in Des Moines, Iowa in the present moment.
The goal of this weekend of immersive training was to develop grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community and come together to create a thriving state-wide movement. I think that was accomplished.