My work in the human rights sector, while pruned by academia, was catalyzed by crisis. Twelve years ago, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and in the time since, I have been directly involved in the fight for the human right to return and recover. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our family, friends and allies facing crisis in South Texas and South Louisiana as Hurricane Harvey completes his path.
What is clear is that we live in a changed climate with more intense and extreme weather events. We must prepare for the inevitable fight for human rights in the long process of recovery.
The fight for human rights in the US is tough battle for this nation’s most targeted and marginalized people. And the time for such a battle never seems quite right. Not only must we fight for the most basic rights to things like clean air, clean water, access to quality education, an end to state-supported violence, but we must enter these wars after wading through flood waters, after witnessing modern day lynchings, and when were are - quite frankly - so very tired. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the human right defenders facing crisis as they put their bodies and lives on the line to challenge white supremacy in Charlottesville, VA and throughout the US.
We are in a time of crisis in the US. Our communities are under attack from forces that we can see with our eyes, but we have yet to fully understand. White supremacy, climate change, individual exceptionalism all threaten the most basic of rights afforded to all humans.
Our time is now. And what we know for sure is that we cannot win alone.
If you are awaiting the horn - the horn to end state-supported violence against Black, Latino, Native, and transgender bodies has been blowing in Chicago, Flint, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Ferguson and New Orleans.
If you are awaiting the drum - the drum to protect our mother earth and the traditional communities that honor the sacred oath to protect her - is being struck by the Houma (Louisiana), the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (North Dakota), the Yamasi People (South Carolina), the Winnemem Wintu Tribe (California) and the Iñupiaq (Alaska).
If you are searching for a network of people fighting to advance human rights in the U.S., we invite you to join us. Join us through formal membership, join us at our upcoming national gathering in Atlanta, join us on social media. It is time to step into our divine roles as human rights defenders.