One Year Ago

George Floyd and organizing to bend the future.

Well over a thousand people gathered in downtown Des Moines, joining other protests around the country demanding justice over the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. After the organized protest, some people went on to confront police and damage nearby businesses. Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder via Flickr.
Photo credit: Phil Roeder/Flickr.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, in broad daylight. As onlookers begged for mercy, other officers stood by and watched.

Too often the lives of victims of authoritarian violence are reduced to singular moments of tragedy and injustice. Every time: it is not just murder, it is theft. Today we remember the life of George Floyd and the millions around the world who are robbed of their lives, rights, and human dignity by systems of oppression.

Over the past year, we witnessed over 20 million people take to the streets in what may be the largest social movement in the history of this country. However, to date, only two states have ended qualified immunity for police officers, cash-bail remains widely used, 34 million Americans still live in poverty, state and local governments lavish $194 billion on incarceration while schools remain underfunded, mental and physical health is still a privilege of the wealthy, and institutional racism remains alive and well. 

We call on ourselves and the larger environmental movement to do more. Structural racism impacts every aspect of the environmental movement, from who is allowed to access outdoor spaces, who is hardest hit by climate change, who is allowed to drink clean water and breathe clean air, and who is allowed to be an environmentalist and make a living in that field. Our work does not exist in a vacuum; environmental work is necessarily social justice work. Our fates are inextricably intertwined.   

adrienne maree-brown puts it best:

all organizing is science fiction.
we are bending the future, together, into something we have never experienced. a world where everyone experiences abundance, access, pleasure, human rights, dignity, freedom, transformative justice, peace. we long for this, we believe it is possible.

Our vision is a Columbia River that unites people to fight for clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and our climate.