Contact: Preeti Shekar at 510-219-4193, [email protected]
Release Date: Friday, November 13, 2015

Ahead of Paris, Grassroots Activists Demand Real Change:
“President Obama: Listen To The People, Not Polluters!”

The Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) is excited to announce a delegation of 100 leaders and organizers from US and Canadian grassroots and indigenous communities headed to the upcoming UNCOP21 in Paris later this month. The delegation, titled It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm joins together three powerful alliances of grassroots activists and frontline communities’ leaders: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and the Climate Justice Alliance.

As the effects of climate change continue to hit peak levels of catastrophe, global leaders have been promising a new climate agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP). This year, the COP21 will take place in Paris, France, from November 30-December 11, 2015. Thousands of climate justice movements from around the world will converge on the streets of Paris to demand global action to stop the fossil fuel industry’s continued burning of the planet. The It Takes Roots delegation represents cutting edge leadership of communities who have alternative sustainable solutions to the current failed fossil fuel economies that are destroying the planet.

“Everything we are seeing shows that the negotiating text on table right now for the COP21 falls far short of the action needed to avoid global catastrophe. Our communities are already being hit the hardest — from droughts on one coast to floods on the other. The time has come for the US to break with the fossil fuel industry and refuse to accept false solutions and market strategies,” noted Cindy Wiesner, national coordinator of GGJ.

More About the It Takes Roots Delegation

It Takes Roots is a broad, powerful delegation including indigenous communities in North America and Canada, and a wide array of regional grassroots groups tackling environmental and health impacts of fracking, extraction, oil refineries and other hallmarks of a toxic fossil fuel dependant economy.

The delegates and the groups they represent are intergenerational, comprising a mix of youth organizers and veteran community leaders, who hail from working class African American, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and rural white communities, as this cross-section shows:

Frontline communities mobilizing to Paris comes on the heels of the historic victory last week when President Obama cancelled the Keystone Pipeline project, in direct response to the enormous activism and leadership of several groups that are a part of the It Takes Roots delegation.

“Years of organizing and mounting pressure led by Indigenous communities from North America led to the rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Now frontline Indigenous communities are heading to Paris prepared to use our bodies to draw a red line of resistance to stop extractive industries and fight for a just transition into renewable energies. The question remains — Will President Obama listen to the polluters or to the people?” asks Kandi Mossett, a climate campaign organizer with the IEN.

“From Hurricane Katrina to Superstorm Sandy, recurrent extreme climate change disasters hit our communities first and worst. These storms are the legacy of decision makers lacking the courage to make bold decisions. The time to act is now. We need to stop fossil fuel dependency and look to alternative, sustainable solutions as the only way forward. The KXL pipeline cancellation was a good start, but only the beginning,” notes Elizabeth Yeampierre, a frontline community organizer with Uprose, a New York-based community organization.

In addition to participating in various civil society formations at COP21, the It Takes Roots delegation will be organizing creative and peaceful actions on the streets of Paris, participating in rallies, solidarity marches, leading workshops, and making local and global connections with frontline communities resisting climate change. With art and music, colorful banners and people chanting slogans, the It Takes Roots delegation will be a forceful voice of dissent, calling out on the deep hypocrisies of state leaders, between their rhetoric and actions, and presenting the real, alternative solutions.

Bios of Quoted Delegates:

Cindy Wiesner is the National Coordinator of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) and Co-Chair of the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), and has been active in the grassroots social justice movement, working on the intersections of labor organizing, environmental justice, ending gender-based violence, queer organizing, and migrant rights for over 20 years.

Kandi Mossett is a leading voice in the Indigenous environmental movement in North America. In her most current role as Native Energy and Climate Campaign Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and through speaking at UN forums, and by testifying in front of the US Congress, she has played a crucial role in making visible nationally and internationally, the devastating impacts of climate change on Indigenous communities and tribal lands.

Elizabeth Yeampierre is the Executive Director of Uprose, Brooklyn, New York’s oldest Latino community organization. Her organizing prioritizes just transitions, sustainable development, environmental justice, and building community-led climate adaptation and resiliency. A dynamic public speaker, she has presented at the first White House forum on Environmental Justice, and more recently, spoke at the open climate rally for Pope Francis.

Contact: Preeti Shekar, GGJ Media Strategist at 510-219-4193 or [email protected] for more information, to interview delegates, for quotes for articles/profiles, to discuss pitches, and other media inquiries.