This blog post was written by Angela Adrar, Lance Rios and myself (Kety Esquivel).
"As a Colombiana naturalized in the US, going to Cochabamba for the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, makes sense on two main fronts. One is the environmental/climate justice front and the other, is to show solidarity to my fellow Latinos and support initiatives held in the countries of the South."
-- Angela Adrar (Environmental Communicator)
"On behalf of everyone at Being Latino, I am more than ecstatic to join this movement. Our aim at Being Latino is to educate, inspire and connect with other people across the global spectrum and with this opportunity we'll have the opportunity to do all 3!"
--Lance Rios (Founder, Being Latino)
"I am inspired not only by the following line in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's proposal for a Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth, "...the 21st century has to become the century of the Rights of Mother Earth and all natural beings," but also by the opportunity of what I can contribute as a US born Latina of indigenous ancestry." --Kety Esquivel (Latinos in Social Media)
In the US, there is a general misconception that rights of Mother Earth are to be protected elsewhere; in Africa or Asia, where people are struggling with extreme floods and droughts and where environmental degradation is interfering with the basic human rights to food and shelter. However, the historical equation for environmental injustice in the US is just as significant.
According to a Sierra Club National Survey, 66% of Latino(a)s in the United States, work and live close to toxic sites, add to that, the African Americans and Asians that live in highly polluted urban neighborhoods, the farmer migrants that are exposed to pesticides when picking US food and the Indigenous peoples that are having their lands mined and degraded and we have a big hot mess that makes the US majority generally and environmentally disadvantaged.
Eco-Hermanas (Eco-Sisters), a program of La Trenza Leadership has designated 12 Inter-generational, Indigenous, migrant, Afro-descendant and Latino leaders to represent these "dignified yet vulnerable voices" across the US at Cochabamba.
This group includes outstanding women and men that include Penny Williams, the radio host for the Talking Feather, a radio and blog show that honors indigenous knowledge, issues and culture. Ophelia Rivas from the O'Odham Nation and 2010 "Woman on the Border", award Winner. Roberto Borrero, from the United Confederation of Taino People and a Senior Program Director for the American Museum of Natural History. The youngest member of the group is 21 year old Latino, Ian Viteri, from the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, an extraordinary environmentalist and role model for urban youth in Chicago. Diana Lopez from the SouthWest Workers Union in Texas is representing worker environmental rights.
Lance Rios from Being Latino, Kety Esquivel from Latism, Angelica Salazar an innovative online community organizer, and Angela Adrar from La Trenza Leadership will be sending along with the other inspirational leaders from the group regular social media updates from Cochabamba. We will be distributing a press release with our blog URLs, and media outlet information, so that you may see that we, the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural of the United States do have a voice, that we support any initiative that will invite the People to speak, and that we can speak for ourselves. The link to the Press Release will be added once it is available.
Our hope is to work in solidarity with all of the folks who are going to Cochabamba for this conference and produce something that will move us forward in the conversation on Climate Change in an inclusive way that has never before been seen in the Climate Movement. In an effort to begin to organize ourselves, we have created two Google Groups - one for the attendees of the conference and the other for people who want to support our work there and beyond.
Thank you and we look forward to continuing the conversation with you from Cochabamba, Bolivia!