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Climate justice rally marks Earth Day at MN State Capitol

By Alfonso Moreno |
April 18, 2021
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St Paul rally for climate justice on Earth Day. (FightBack! news/ Kim DeFranco)

St. Paul, MN - Over 200 people gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol grounds, April 17, to demand climate justice from the Walz and Biden governments. The event was organized by the Climate Justice Committee of Minnesota.

The native dance group Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue opened the rally with a performance punctuated by a brief address from member Susana De León, expressing gratitude for us all being able to experience “a day with sun, a day with wind, a day with fire, a day with water,” all essential elements of life, she remarked, that future generations may not live to enjoy if we don't care and fight to preserve the environment that fosters them.

A heartfelt speech delivered by 12-year-old sixth-grader Audrey Keirstead formally acknowledged the lands as stolen from the Dakota people, and explicitly denounced the genocide, displacement, violence and injustice perpetrated then, and shamefully still today. “We agree with the Iroquois philosophy,” Keirstead, said, “that the decisions we make should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future.”

After her statement, members of local activist groups took the microphone to speak up about the many issues derived from increasing ecological degradation. Subjects ranged from environmental racism to the U.S. military as top polluter in the world and the Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

“Until the grass grows and the river flows, Mni Wičoni, water is life,” said Gabriel Black Elk, from Native Lives Matter as he described how the ravaging of Grandmother Earth affected indigenous people, from the destruction of the Black Hills for gold “to these nasty-ass pipelines we call the black snake.” Black Elk also took a moment to acknowledge the most recent native stolen life murdered by police just two days ago in Maine, while undergoing a mental health crisis.

Both Veterans for Peace as well as the Anti-War Committee explained the devastating effects of the U.S. war machine on the planet. Much accountability was placed before the current administration. Misty Rowan from the Anti-War Committee said that “Joe Biden isn’t just breaking promises, he is hinting at what is to come - which is more wars and more occupation. His budget proposes more military spending than Trump, not less.”

“There can be no climate justice without racial justice,” called Katherine Gould, from the Climate Justice Committee, “Governor Walz and other politicians have completely ignored the demands of native nations to stop Line 3. Across the country, landfills and other environmental hazards are disproportionately located in communities of color. Climate refugees are turned away by the most polluting country of the world. Enough is enough. It is time for the people to lead and it is time for real change.”