September 27, 2016
Today, a delegation of staff, members, and activists with the Chinese Progressive Association will be leaving from the San Francisco Bay Area for Standing Rock, North Dakota as a part of the Berta Vive Delegation organized by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. We travel as the Berta Vive Delegation to join the actions to protect the water, life, and community from being destroyed by the Dakota Access Pipeline. We travel also to honor the life of Berta Caceres who was murdered for protecting her community’s land and water in Honduras. We are humbled yet proud to be a part of this historic moment and contribute towards building international vigilance and solidarity with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.
While our group comes in solidarity under the organizational banner of the Chinese Progressive Association, we are of Hmong, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Yaqui/Apache/Mexican heritage. For many of us, the history and violence of U.S. Imperialism and wars of aggression in our homelands capture the roots for the arrival of our people to America. This violence included the use of chemical warfare (Agent Orange and napalm), the dropping of bombs, the infusion of drugs and other acts of control and domination.
From the Streets of Chinatown to the Camp at Standing Rock
As defenders of our neighborhood known as Chinatown from tech industry gentrification, we recognize that our community has settled on land that was once occupied by the Ohlone people. We have been in solidarity with their local actions to protect sacred sites from commercial destruction and support efforts to acquire access to land so that ceremony and other activities of the Ohlone people can be practiced.
The tech boom has led to the displacement of poor people, immigrants, and people of color in San Francisco, we are in the fight to protect and preserve our cultural and historic community called Chinatown — a place where some of us grew up and where we fight to preserve our cultural heritage. Our resistance is against land developers looking to turn profits through gentrification and displacement of our people. The struggle against displacement is one struggle, many fronts.
Thank you to the protectors of Standing Rock for reminding us that water is life. In California, among those living on the frontlines of climate change are our farmworkers who have been severely impacted by the five-year drought due to climate change. The drought has not only created a food security crises, the resulting lack of drinking water is a health crises that is resulting in families becoming “climate migrants.” As working class people of color and immigrants are displaced from their homes in the Bay Area to the Central Valley, limited resources are only stretched thinner. The waters of the San Francisco Bay and delta once a reliable source for families who rely on the fish caught for food, not sport, has become polluted by toxic waste released chemical factories including oil refineries. Water is life for everyone and all living species, everywhere.
Not far from Chinatown, there is a statue celebrating Christopher Columbus. As Asians, this statue is a reminder that the colonization of the United States by European settlers is rooted in the European quest to look for trade routes to China and India. The western fascination to reach Asia resulted in the genocide and colonization of indigenous people and the enslavement of people stolen from Africa. As we approach Columbus Day, we reflect on this history and know that even before our people knew each other, our histories have always been tied.
What We Stand For & What We Demand
We stand with those who are protecting the water, life, and land at Standing Rock. As a majority cis-women delegation, we know that women, two-spirit, and gender non-conforming people have been on the frontlines of the struggle to protect the land and our homes from environmental degradation. We also honor and acknowledge the leadership of indigenous women and those who have been fighting against DAPL since April and long before.
We stand in solidarity with Standing Rock because it is an example of our shared belief that a Just Transition to a future renewable energy economy that leaves fossil fuels, gas, and uranium in the ground is possible. Therefore, we believe that:
- No one should live in fear of their homes being destroyed by environmental degradation
- All people and species should have access to clean and healthy water.
- All people deserve access to good jobs that prioritizes our ability to live in balance with Mother Nature over profit
- That the U.S. Government and U.S. Corporations respect the treaty rights of sovereign nations and peoples.
- That all charges against the protectors of Standing Rock be dropped immediately.
- That Justice for Berta Caceres and the sacrifices made by the hundreds of warriors past, present and future is honored with the stopping of construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
For those who have been at Standing Rock and for those who will come, we, the Chinese Progressive Association – SF, stand with you in the struggle to protect the water and life of this land.
From Grassroots Global Justice — Here’s how you can support:
1) Donate to Support Resources for the Standing Rock Water Defenders. There are several critical fundraising efforts to support the organizing on the ground on Standing Rock. We encourage you to donate directly to the Indigenous Environmental Network to support their leadership, or any one of these specific solidarity funds: Solar Showers and Winterization funds,IEN Mobile Media Van, Legal Defense Fund.
2) Spread the Word. Social Media has been a key vehicle for amplifying updates in this struggle and mobilizing national and international solidarity. Follow the Sacred Stone Camp, IEN, and GGJ for more updates as this struggle continues. #WaterIsLIfe #NoDAPL #StandingRock