One Struggle, Many Fronts: U.S. – Africa Environmental Justice Tour

Mark Johnson

On the 25th “anniversary” of the Exxon Valdez catastrophe in the straits of Alaska, we are reminded that the risks and costs of extracting, transporting, processing, and employing fossil fuels which accelerate the destruction of life as we know it on this planet continues unabated. In fact, the situation deteriorates cataclysmically.  The first honored guests introduce to the congregation at Riverside Church yesterday were not the Congressman Rangel or Mayor de Blasio and his entourage, but two guests from Africa, Emem Okon of the Niger’s Kebetkache Women’s Development and Resource Center, and Mithika Mwenda of Kenya, Secretary General of Pan African Environmental Justice Alliance.

After worship we met to discuss ways in which the U.S. Environmental Justice Movement could work with them to educate about and drive action toward addressing the ways in which U.S. Climate Policies need to be changed to protect the planet and its most vulnerable. Describing in unsettling detail the many ways in which U.S. corporations and the global fossil fuel industries impact countries throughout Africa they article clearly that human rights, economic justice and environmental justice are intimately related and must be addressed together.  They are travelling in the U.S. through April 3rd. See below

Climate change and fossil fuel extraction are global problems. Global problems require international solidarity. And international solidarity requires international relationships. Please help us bring two prominent African activists to speak to hundreds of people across the US. This national tour, the first of its kind, will move us closer to a unified movement for health, sustainability and justice.

Between March 20 and April 3, One Struggle, Many Fronts will visit Detroit, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Oakland, Berkeley, and Atlanta. Multiple events are planned in each city. Some of the event hosts are long-time Africa solidarity activists. Others are community environmental justice groups, and others are student fossil fuel divestment activists. Each event is tailored to its local audience, and many local activists will be included as speakers

One Struggle, Many Fronts will build bridges. The tour will inspire US environmental activists to think about African struggles. It will inspire Africa solidarity activists to think about environmental justice. It will build real connections between these groups and African environmental justice organizations. And it will strengthen the local organizing efforts of all these groups.

Our Speakers

Emem J. Okon is a community organizer and women’s rights advocate from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. She is the founder and Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre. Okon organizes women to resist oil drilling by Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil in the Niger Delta. In 2002, she and 600 other women successfully shut down Nigeria’s largest oil production station for 10 days through a nonviolent occupation.

Mithika Mwenda, from Kenya, is Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which he co-founded in 2008  to mobilize the voices of millions of unheard Africans in the climate debate and United Nations climate negotiations. PACJA is now Africa’s largest climate network, with 300 member organizations in 45 countries. He works around the clock to raise awareness and to bring poor people’s united voices to the table.

List of Public Events

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Day City Time Location Host
March 25 Detroit, MI 6:30-8pm Cass Corridor Commons (U-U Church)4605 Cass Ave, Detroit East MichiganEnvironmental Action</p>

Council and others</td> </tr>

March 26 Kalamazoo, MI 7-9pm Room 4010,College of Health and Human Services</p>

Western Michigan University</td>

Western Michigan UniversitySchool of Social Work
March 27 Chicago, IL 5-6:30pm Room 317, Wabash Building425 S. Wabash Fossil Free Roosevelt
March 28 Chicago, IL 6:30-9pm First Church of the Brethern425 S. Central Park Ave Little Village EnvironmentalJustice Organization
March 30 Oakland, CA 3-6pm 6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakland Priority Africa Network
April 1 Berkeley, CA 7-9pm Room 126, Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley Fossil Free Berkeley
April 3 Atlanta, GA 12-2pm Room 460/465, GSU University Center,Georgia State University Georgia State UniversitySustainable Energy Tribe
April 3 Atlanta, GA 7-9pm Cosby Auditorium, Spelman College Spelman College International Studies Center

Atlanta Berkeley Chicago Detroit Emem Okon Environmental Justice Kalamazoo Kebetkache Women's Development & Resource Centre Mithika Mwenda Oakland Pan African Climate Justice