Newsletter October 2014


Autumn is officially here and winter is not far behind. It’s time to catch up on what is going on here in Traverse City and elsewhere.

Occupy Traverse City will celebrate it’s third birthday soon. Members of Occupy TC continue to work on many of the intersecting issues of social justice, environmental justice and peace. Occupy TC members also continue their weekly street actions, begun in 2011. We “meet on the street” from 11am to 1pm, every Saturday. Come join us in front of Horizon Books, to help raise awareness and for great conversation! Bring a sign!

People’s Climate March was held on September 21st in New York City and around the world. In NYC, it is estimated that 400,000 people marched. Democracy Now covered the march live

The march was led by the Indigenous Peoples blocAn organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network,Dallas Goldtooth stated that “climate justice and social justice go hand in hand...having indigenous peoples on the frontline, starting off the march, was key to illustrating that”. He also explained that "any solution to climate change must begin with indigenous people". 

Many people from Traverse City and across Michigan travelled to NYC to raise their voices for climate justice. Individuals and representatives from Occupy Traverse City, Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, FLOW, TC350, Oil and Water Don't Mix, Let’s Ban Fracking, D-Cats, MiCats, Occupy Detroit, and more, all helped to make this march successful. 

Click on this link to view a collection of photos from the Climate March. Also, see attached photo of some of the Occupy TC crew that made the trip to NYC!


Flood Wall Street was an action that took place on September 22nd, the day after the Climate March. This direct action brought the climate change message to Wall Street, a symbol and a center of the problem. “Runaway climate change and extreme weather events, such as the extreme flooding that we saw here in New York City with Hurricane Sandy, are fueled by the fossil fuel industry,” said one of Flood Wall Street’s organizers, Michael Premo, in a statement. “We are flooding Wall Street because we know that there’s no greater cause of runaway climate change than an economic system that puts profit before people – and before the planet.”  


Systemic Racism continues to be evident in our country. Everyone has their own personal biasesand prejudices, which can have an impact on person to person interactions. However, systemic/structural racism has a much greater effect. The negative, and often devastating, effects of systemic racism can be seen throughout our society, including  in housing, education, jobs, and the legal system.

One of the most tragic expressions is the ongoing murder of young black men, often by police. Ferguson, Missouri was rightfully in the news this summer, as citizens protested the killing of Michael Brown. The tragedy of his death is compounded by the fact that young black men are killed regularly by police in this country. The intersection of systemic racism and the militarization of our police was clearly seen in the response to the protests in Ferguson. Although, the majority of protestors were non-violent, they were still met with a harsh military style response by the police.

Let us recognize the existence of systemic racism and ask what we can do to dismantle its structure. A good beginning would be to educate ourselves. There are many educational resources available online. There are also many organizations that offer classes and workshops. These include PISAB-Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond, Crossroads Antiracism Training and Organizing, and Kalamazoo based ERAC/CE-Eliminating Racism and Claiming/Celebrating Equality. 


Indigenous Peoples Day is beginning to take the place of Columbus Day. The intent is to help us remember, learn about, and honor the Indigenous Peoples of this land. History shows that the actions of Columbus are not ones to be celebrated. Minneapolis now celebrates this holiday, instead of  Columbus Day. It is hoped that the city of Seattle will soon adopt this, while the Seattle School Board has already implemented this change. The state of South Dakota has celebrated Native American Day since 1990.

Here in Traverse City, Idle No More Michigan has submitted a proposal to the Traverse City Commissionrequesting that Indigenous Peoples Day be celebrated on the second Monday of October. This would be celebrated instead of Columbus Day. This proposal is currently being reviewed by the TC Human Rights Commission, who are awaiting input from the Grand Traverse Band Tribal Council. Contact representatives of these organizations, if you would like to show your support for Indigenous Peoples Day.


Action Alert: Idle No More Michigan and AIM of West Michigan are sponsoring an Abolish Columbus Day rally and flashmob Monday, October 13th. It will start at 10am in Ah-Nab-Awen Park, 303 Pearl St, Grand Rapids. See attached flyer.


Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition recently held the Michigan Environmental Justice Summit in Lansing. The MEJC is a statewide coalition working to achieve a clean, healthy and safe environment for Michigan's most vulnerable residents, in alignment with the Principles of Environmental Justice

Community members, organizations, activists and students from across Michigan gathered together to listen to speakers, learn, share, and work on the issues of environmental justice. Some of the participants in this summit included representatives from Raiz Up, We the People of Detroit, North End Woodward, Souladarity, Sustainable Flint, MiCats, Great Lakes Bioneers, Citizens Climate Lobby, Sierra Club, WMEAC-Western Michigan Environmental Action Council, EMEAC-Eastern Michigan Environmental Council, Citizens for Oil Free Backyards, Occupy Traverse City, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, CRAFT-Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2, Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition (Delray), residents of 48217 (Michigan's most polluted zip code), Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Idle No More Michigan, students and professors from Michigan State and University of Michigan Environmental Justice programs, and many many more. 


There are many injustices, both environmental and social in today's world. Fortunately, there are also many individuals and groups working to find just solutions. Let's keep connecting with them and work together!


Election Day is on Tuesday, November 4th.

As always, the League of Women Voters provides needed information, as well as holding candidate forums.

See the candidates and proposals on your ballot here.


For more information, click on the highlighted "hyperlinks" .


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