by Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins, reposted from www.popularresistance.org
Washington, DC – Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) fasted in solidarity with organizers and hunger strikers working to reopen the Dyett highschool with a green energy curriculum. This was the 9th day of the BXE fast and the 30th day of the Dyett hunger strike. BXE is fasting at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) demanding an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure permits. FERC’s continued permitting of fossil fuel projects disproportionately impacts poor folks and people of color due to project placement (like many LNG terminals in the Gulf South that need FERC approval) and climate change (like super-storms Katrina & Sandy).The Dyett hunger strikers are demanding that their high school, in a mostly black area of Chicago, be reopened with a green energy curriculum. After years of organizing and numerous days without eating, their school will be reopened, but not with the requested curriculum—thus, their hunger strike continues. The courage of the Dyett hunger strikers, including Cathy Dale and Jeanette Taylor-Ramann who had to end their strike due to health concerns, has inspired BXE fasters to keep going, despite weakness, dizziness, hunger, and other pains.
BXE sees the fight for climate justice at FERC as inextricably tied to the fight of poor, black, and brown communities against the school to prison pipeline and the privatization of education. They are both symptoms of the same system that prioritizes private profit at the expense of people and the earth. Furthermore, many FERC approved projects are placed right next to threatened schools.
BXE sent this letter to the Dyett organizers and hunger strikers:
Dear Dyett 12 and all working to save Dyett School,
Twelve people from Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE), ages 19-72, are undertaking an 18 day water only fast/hunger strike from September 8-25 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). We would like to express our deepest gratitude for the work that you are doing to Save Dyett High School and take back power in the south side of Chicago. We support all of your demands including a green technology curriculum, an important piece of addressing climate justice. Your hunger strike, long term organizing, and all of your actions are an inspiration to our group and many others across the country.
More about Our Fast at FERC:
In addition to the 12 full time fasters, others are undertaking shorter fasts in their communities or at FERC. The FERC is a powerful regulatory agency that is causing irreparable damage to the nation, and especially those living next to fracking wells and fracking infrastructure (like pipelines, compressor stations, gas refineries, and export terminals). We have written letters, lobbied, gone to meetings, talked to Congress, and carried out non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to stop that harm. In response FERC has ignored us all, and actively helped corporations win approval of project after project. FERC uses its power to regulate us, the public, while providing cover for industry as it tries to increase its profits while it endangers our communities and the earth.
Because nothing else has worked to change FERC’s policies, we are now engaged in an 18-day water-only fast to demand NO NEW PERMITS for industry until FERC prioritizes wind/solar/renewables, not fossil fuels. See more at BeyondExtremeEnergy.org.
Our Struggles Are Connected:
We believe that climate change cannot be addressed in isolation from other movements and struggles. Whether we look at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, industrial polluters like tar sands refineries or trash incinerators placed in black and brown urban areas across the country, starvation and famine in the underdeveloped world as a result of drought, or so many other examples around the world, climate change impacts people of color and poor communities most. Climate change is the result of hundreds of years of capitalism, colonialism, white-supremacy, and patriarchy. These same forces also create poverty, homelessness, gentrification, food deserts, disease, mass incarceration, and inequality in all parts of society, notably in education. The privatization of schools in the United States is an unconscionable problem, often funded by the same banks and investors that fund the fossil fuel industry. You are a leading example of how to challenge the powers that be and reclaim control.
Beyond Extreme Energy Fasters