No War with Iran: Contact our representatives

Thanks to all of you who attended the protest on Saturday.  It is critical that we follow up by contacting our representatives to make it clear that their constituents do not support war with Iran, and to urge diplomacy and de-escalation and that they reclaim their Congressional authority in matters of war and peace.

The letter below can be sent to Rep. Neguse and Senators Bennet and Gardner.

We will be following the leadership of national peace and activist organizations to plan additional protests.  If you wish to join in the planning, please contact Partners for Peace.

 Contact Joe Neguse

Contact Michael Bennet

Contact Cory Gardner

 Dear Representative/Senator:

I believe that the assassination of Quassim Suleimani last week was a reckless act that can easily lead to another war in the Middle East.  Such a war would cause immense human suffering, environmental damage, and the waste of resources that should be used to address pressing social and environmental problems at home and abroad. 

I attended a rally on Oak Street Plaza in Fort Collins on the afternoon of Saturday, January 4th to call for opposing any further military action against Iran.  Approximately 100 other people were there with me.  I know that similar rallies took place in Boulder, Denver, and in 80 cities nationwide. You took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution. 

As a constituent and a voter, I am writing to remind you that your greater allegiance isn’t to support a corrupt President with no coherent foreign strategy other than to sow chaos. Today Senator Tim Kaine has introduced a privileged resolution in the Senate, and Representatives Barbara Lee and Ilhan Omar have introduced it in the House, to force a vote on ending U.S. war on Iran.  As your constituent, I urge your full support of this resolution.I ask that you work with your colleagues to reclaim Congress’ constitutional authority over war powers, demand diplomacy and de-escalation in foreign policy, withhold authorization for any and all reckless and provocative abuses of military power, and bring an end to nearly two decades of continual, senseless war in the Middle East.  

Sincerely,

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FCCAN 2019 Year in Review

As we transition into 2020, we invite you to celebrate with us, as we reflect on the past year, ground in the present moment, and conjure the future our community needs.

This year was filled with tough transitions, joyful gatherings and hard work for activists & engaged community members alike in Fort Collins.

“We are here. We are life-affirming. We are in community with one another.”
-Healing Justice group motto co-created at our September workshop

This will be our last blog post for the year and we’ll be back in January as we take time to reflect and rest. 

Healing Justice

We continued this year with monthly Healing Justice gatherings! Healing Justice is a program dedicated to supporting the integration of self care, inner work, collective care, real commitment to challenging injustice, and powerful action. With ancestral medicine as our guide we moved our bodies, had fire ceremony, harvested, foraged and prepared food together, had circles led by Indigenous, Black and femmes of color around farming, food as medicine, LGTBQ+ art and writing. We will be returning in Spring 2020 with community gatherings focused on artwork, embodiment and healing from whiteness.

Fuerza Latina

From the beginning, Fuerza Latina has made a commitment to work at a local, grassroots level, knowing that our families are experts on issues that impact the immigrant community in Fort Collins. In 2019, we offered Know Your Rights sessions and DACA community clinics in a time of such uncertainty, led different marches and rallies by and for immigrant families in the community. We graduated eight members from the Immigrant Workers-Owned cooperative academy to start our community’s first immigrant-owned cooperative next year! We partnered with community groups, using the power of theatre with the De Novo play to educate our community about unaccompanied minors in Fort Collins. Lastly, Fuerza Latina has amplified its hotline and continued our volunteer-led effort to assist children wishing to visit parents in detention.  

Fort Collins Sustainability Group

In 2019, the FCSG successfully worked with Extinction Rebellion Fort Collins to get a Climate Emergency Resolution passed by the City Council in August. We also held two panel discussions on the City’s and the Poudre River Power Authority’s commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 to educate the community about the reasons for making that commitment and the prospects for achieving it.FCSG spearheaded a project to write and deliver a letter signed by residents and business members to the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce requesting action on climate planning. Lastly, FCSG has been making progress toward getting the City to include F-gas emissions (Industrial Process and Product Use) in its greenhouse gas inventory. 

Fort Collins Homeless Coalition

In 2019 the FCHC continued advocating for public year round water fountains and bathrooms, as part of our fight for human rights in Fort Collins. We held numerous community planning meetings to discuss strategies to fight against the criminalization of poverty and homelessness in our community, led protests and rallies in against proposed Larimer County jail expansion, supported Food Not Bombs with food justice rallies, worked closely with our partner organization Denver Homeless Out Loud to begin planning legislation and measures to ensure right to rest for people experiencing homelessness. We are also the only group to collect and publish data on how many tickets are given each year from the public Camping Ban and we supported the installation lockers at the Mennonite Fellowship, and so much more! 

TimePeace Blog

This year we had over a dozen posts published on TimePeace Blog, a tribute to the newsletter that we started back in 1989, dedicated to spreading the good news of social justice progress in our city and spurring dialogue and conversation.  Thank you to all of the amazing volunteers, interns and writers in the community who help make our blog a source for inspiration and radical reflections. Some highlights and our favorite reads from this year include:

~Acknowledging the Land and Its Indigenous Peoples

~Action Items For the Start of Autumn

~A love letter to white people this Halloween: Stop colonizing the lives, land, and stories of others.

~Our roots, relations and the land we stand on

Salon duc Tape

In 2019 we organized community nights every other Friday where activists, scholars, and  community members were invited to lead a discussion about their own work and ways for us to move towards our mission of a more socially justice and equitable community. Being in dialogue and having space to come together to learn is an important aspect of our work. Thanks to everyone who showed up and engaged with us this year at the salons, we have really exciting ones in the works for the new with one coming up on January 11th about Just Transition. 

This is just a tiny sample of incredible work for FCCAN this year.

Did you know? FCCAN has been a driving force in Northern Colorado’s progressive movement for over 19 years; many of its members have been active for much longer!

We will continue to maintain our focus on coalition buildingradical solidarity organizing and generative, collective healing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bikes, Beer and genocide

We demand that you stop the sale to Lion Little World Beverages and Kirin. Until you stop the sale, we call for a complete boycott of your beer. 

For more information about New Belgium sell out check out this wonderful article by the Guardian here. It’s sad that this is how Fort Collins makes international news headlines.

To Kim Jordan and New Belgium Employee Owners:

It is with great distress and outrage that we write you on the backdrop of the 71st anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The sale of New Belgium to the conglomerate of Lion Little World Beverages and Kirin is shameful. You must certainly know that Kirin has been internationally condemned for its human rights abuses and connection to ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. How dare you connect the Fort Collins community with such a deplorable corporation.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights described the attack on the Rohingya as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. Because of the donations that Kirin made to the Myanmar military at that time, Amnesty International called on the Japanese government to investigate Kirin for criminal misconduct.

While confusion is inherent in navigating the relationships between these multinational business conglomerates and military governments, the information is available with three clicks on the internet. We are deeply distressed that you are willing to engage in such violent, brutal business practices and sell us out in the process. We are horribly offended that you did not think the community of Fort Collins would learn about and oppose such behavior.

As we read “A Letter From Kim” on your webpage, we wonder how you can claim you are “dedicated to being a force for good as a business” when you are about to partner with a beer giant accused of funding genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar.

As we read your November 19th press release, we wonder how you reconcile your “crazy enthusiasm for being a business role model” with being a business partner that funds a military that rapes and kills children.

We do not wish to find ourselves in the same situation as those in the UK, who were unknowingly contributing to Myanmar’s armed forces because they were drinking Kirin beer, therefore responsible for ethnic cleansing. We urge you to do the right thing. We demand that you stop the sale to Lion Little World Beverages and Kirin. 

Until you stop the sale, we call for a complete boycott of your beer. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stand up for working class communities-Protect SNAP!

This blog post first appeared on Hunger Free Colorado’s website, and was reposted here with their permission, find out more info here or email Anya@HungerFreeColorado.org.

Key points

The Proposed Standard Utility Allowance Rule Will:

  • Exacerbate the struggle of affording both food and utilities for many low-income families 
  • Have harmful impacts on health and well-being and weaken Colorado’s economy
  • Cause 40% of Colorado SNAP households to receive smaller SNAP monthly benefits
  • Disproportionately impact older adults and people with disabilities

What can you do?

Submit a comment opposing the rule! The Trump Administration must review public comments on this proposal before it can finalize the rule changes. Speak out against the proposal by commenting before the December 2nd deadline. Click here or text HFC COMMENT to 52886 to submit your comment. You can use the key points from this blog to inform your statement!

What’s the proposal?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing a rule to change how states take utility costs into account when determining the amount of SNAP benefits households qualify for. Under current federal SNAP rules, states have the flexibility to set the Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) and calculate shelter costs for low-income households. States have historically set their SUA to cover most SNAP household energy expenses during the months with the highest energy usage in the state or region. The proposed “one-size-fits-all” rule ignores the variance in utility costs between states and will force Colorado to lower the value of allowed utility expenditures to the limit set by the USDA, reducing already meager SNAP benefits for millions of households.

What’s the impact?

-Proposed Federal Budget slashes food stamps 30%, with a radical restructuring of the program that greatly reduces benefits for the overwhelming majority of receipts, grocers and retailers that provide access to food, jobs and economic health in communities. Will result in 4 million people losing benefits all together. 

– proposed changes create unnecessary bureaucracy and infrastructure, a cost that could fall on Colorado

Food stamps support families in building and maintaining a strong foundation for health and well-being. If such a proposal were enacted, the modest average food stamp benefit of $1.40 per meal would be further diminished. It would significantly impact the majority of those who are eligible for food stamps—children, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities.

– An increasing body of research demonstrates why food assistance is a smart investment that yields positive returns in the form of food and nutrition access, economic stability, health and well-being, employment, education, and productivity, which benefits all of us.

– Food stamps only make up a tiny portion—about 2%—of the annual federal budget.Cuts would not provide noticeable savings to taxpayers and, instead, negatively impact the health and well-being of Colorado residents and communities, as well as our state and nation’s economic health.

– To conclude, with deep cuts to food assistance, Medicaid, Medicare, affordable housing and community programs, the Trump Administration’s budget proposal endangers the well-being of our residents and economy. Moving forward with such a proposal would lead to an increase of hunger and poverty, with the ripple effects being felt by all communities in Colorado.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our roots, relations and the land we stand on

Tree roots in upstate New York
Photo by Shirley Coenen

We live on land that has been changed by the actions of human beings to the point that it may not continue to support our existence. This land that we talk about so much isn’t just a location. It’s a biosphere, a living organism of which we are one part, on which we depend. Mother earth is not just the backdrop, environment or stage for human activity that exists to support us.

The current ecological crisis that we find ourselves in is in fact a crisis of human relations- with each other, with the land and with our roots. It’s a crisis created by false separation from reality- that is the biosphere and ecological planet that we rely on, which results in a set of assumptions that drive all systems of oppression- whether it be colonization, heteropatriachy, white supremacy.

It’s essential to understand that every struggle, every fight against these systems of oppression- is also an ecological struggle, and that every struggle we declare against climate change or environmental degradation is also a struggle against systems of oppression.

The problems in our relationships with each other and with the so called environment/nature are the same. If we understand ourselves as part of a living, breathing, pulsing, shifting ecosystem continually being shaped by and shaping us, then everything we do has ecological implications, and every attempt to protect or heal our ecosystem is inevitably rooted in questions of social justice.

Breathing in, as the trees breathe out. Breathing out, as the trees breathe in.

Much of the oxygen we breathe is made by not only the foliage and trees of the land, but is also produced by the plankton and algae in the oceans, and the oceans are in grave danger. The only way we can stop (or reverse) the extensive damage happening to our oceans- the dangerous levels of acidification, oxygen-starved dead zones depleted of any life at all, massive coral reef extinctions, massive floating islands of garbage and other threats to our marine ancestors, including major sources of human food- is to have whole communities and societies of people who think differently, who understand and practice interdependence, who are not pressed by poverty into overfishing, who understand the connection between burning fossil fuels and poisoning the oceans and are able to do something about it. Only an interdependent humanity with the resources and power to make good ecological choices can act effectively on behalf of the ocean life or any other part of the mother earth’s ecosystem essential for our lives.

Ecologically-focused activism- that is work around wildlife, nature, climate change, etc, that doesn’t take into account the unequal impacts of ecological destruction on different groups of people, or the different relations they may have to the land, water, trees, and more than human species, ends up perpetuating the injustices that are blocking our way toward lasting solutions.

At this current coyuntura, many of the most powerful fights against global capitalism are being led by Indigenous peoples whose deep cultural ties to specific ecosystems give them an understanding of our interdependence with the land, water, and other species and a clear picture of the disastrous costs of the current system. In every case of Indigenous environmentalism, the defense of specific waters and lands is also a fight for Indigenous sovereignty and resistance to multiples forms of genocide. Non-indigenous people often frame the fight as a battle to defeat climate change, or a fight for clean air and water, without understanding that it is, at its core, a battle for indigenous survival, for the most basic of human rights: the right to exist.

That is why, “water is life” doesn’t just mean that we have to drink it to stay alive, It means that water is alive, land is alive, that these presences in our life are not inert “natural resources” to be packaged, managed or sold. They are bound by a billion strands into the fabric of our living world, and tearing them apart for profit cuts deep gashes into our selves on the deepest level- as well as destroying and severing our connection to the bioshpere. These consequences we see, span far and wide. The failure to recognize this is destroying us, beginning with the Indigenous peoples whose commitments to these truths stand in the way of the final extractions: the last reserves of oil, the last clean water, the last standing forests, the last uncontaminated stretches of ocean, the last great damnable rivers.

When power is in the hands of people whose driving logic is to accumulate as much wealth as they can, as efficiently as possible, they will always choose short-term profit, no matter how destructive, over accountability to our relations. Underlying this capitalist, colonialist logic, I believe, is a profound fear that those who don’t dominate are doomed to be dominated, that the choice is between stealing and starving. Part of our work then, is to enrich the impoverished soil of the possible, of our own imaginations and to cultivate through our movements and daily practices the belief that we can create communities in which it makes sense to place our lives in each other’s hands, neither exploiters not exploited, but simply kin.

We have the creativity and intelligence to solve the problems we face, but in our current historical moment we find a great portion of human intuition and brilliance tied up with managing white supremacy, patriarchy and challenges of just surviving oppression.

If we forget this truth- that every struggle is an ecological struggle- and if we continue to build limited movements that treat the multitude of crises we face as separate and the work of racial, gender and economic justice as separate, we will not be able to gather the power, resilience and clarity we need in order to build a different future. I believe we have it in us to rise to this moment, to end this failed system of domination and restore the streams of creative resilience, and establish a global culture of reciprocity and generosity. As the trees breathe out we breathe in, and as the trees breathe in we exhale a sigh of relief.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment