Update from Sharon Koch, Chair of the Angeles Chapter
It has been a tumultuous ten weeks. Your patience and dedication to the mission of the Sierra Club has been a source of pride and comfort during these difficult times. We all continue to face the scourge of a global pandemic and its unknown future, but Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities have been disproportionately impacted. We witnessed yet another horrific killing of a black man by a white policeman who had sworn to protect and serve all peoples. While I cannot begin to comprehend the pain and agony felt by people of color, I can express my own pain and anger at the continued brutality we commit against one another. Systemic racism and discrimination of any type has no place in a world where our very existence is threatened by human-induced climate change. We can and must speak up and take action to condemn the acts of violence thrust upon our fellow human beings simply because they have skin of a different color, speak another language, worship another religion, or identify as a gender other than ours.
The multiracial, multigender, multigenerational protestors filling our streets and the highways and by-ways across the world offer a glimmer of hope that this time may truly lead to a path ending systemic racism. We have an opportunity to listen to the heartfelt words of so many, to demand that our public servants take action, and to take a few small steps toward dismantling a culture that has for too long denied our fellow humans the privileges and opportunities enjoyed by a few. Some steps we can take:
- Support and Donate to local environmental justice organizations.
- Speak out when you see your fellow human beings mistreated at the hands of authorities.
- BE ACTIVELY ANTI-RACIST - For those of us who are white: Don’t know what to do or where to start when it comes to unlearning racism and working for equity? The Sierra Club Equity & Inclusion Department has an excellent resource section on Campfire. (Not sure how to login to Campfire? Contact office staff.)
- Urge the L.A. City Council to follow through on the Mayor’s commitment to cut funding for the LAPD in the upcoming budget and utilize the funds for A Peoples’ Budget.
- Complete the 2020 CENSUS to make sure everyone is counted.
- Register to vote and exercise your right to choose your lawmakers on the local, state, and federal levels.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 continues to threaten our health and well-being. Executive Director Michael Brune and Ramon Cruz, President of the Board of Directors, have extended the Club’s Covid-19 operational response through August 31, 2020. This means all national, chapter, and shared offices will remain closed, with rare exceptions for urgent business continuity needs. Travel, in-person meetings, public events, and outings will remain on hold through at least August 31st as well.
The Angeles Chapter office will remain closed through August 31. Staff may be contacted by phone or e-mail as noted below.
- Senior Chapter Director: Morgan Goodwin email@example.com O/ 213.514.5804
- Office Coordinator: Jane Macfarlane firstname.lastname@example.org O/(213)387-4287 ext 205
- Communications Coordinator: Jonathan Howard email@example.com O/ 213.514.5805
Now is the time to reflect on the lessons from the Black Lives Matter uprising and start planning how we can be better allies. Let’s hone those newly-developed virtual meeting skills, increase our social media presence, and communicate with our fellow Sierra Club members. Reach out and welcome those who have joined recently, check-in with those who may be isolated due to stay-at-home orders, exercise our creative imaginations to continue to protect and explore (virtually) and advocate for a better world as we emerge from these trying days. Remember that fossil-fuel industry representatives are not remaining quiet during these times. They are lobbying to roll back regulations. This is not a time for us to remain silent. We too must make our voices heard at regulatory agencies’ hearings, submit public comments, and remain vigilant. Exercise compassion and empathy in all communications. It is important right now to focus on sharing and uplifting voices for racial justice, especially the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in our communities. Some of us may be facing more difficulty than others. Acknowledge that we are asking our members and supporters to engage at a time when they are struggling with COVID-19, protests, and unrest in their communities and that we understand if they need to take time for themselves and their loved ones.
Speak out, Stay Safe, Be Well.