Category Archives: Reparations

The Thirteenth Recommendation – adding Internationalism to the Climate Agenda (for Leeds and Beyond)

Capitalism is not in sync with nature.

The present day Empire recognises and tries to contain the power of 13 (note the significance of symbology on the American dollar – 13 stars, 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 leaves & berries on the olive branch, 13 arrows…); the 13 original US colonies; the 13th amendment to the US constitution…

The partitioning of time under the Gregorian calendar into 12 hour days and 12 oddly numbered months is a patriarchal ordering at odds with the rhythms of mother nature.

There are 13 major joints in the body.

The moon orbits the earth 13 times a year.

The 13 month, 28-day calendar is, and has been, used by many ancient and indigenous cultures throughout history.

The 13 month moon cycle corresponds with the menstrual cycle.

The number thirteen holds power.

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Back in July 2019 RJN were asked to become a part of the Leeds Climate Change Citizen’s Jury oversight panel. In our limited capacity, we were able to contribute some thinking to the recruitment process and methodology as well as providing testimony as commentators to the jury. At every stage of our engagement we were keen to emphasise the need for an international framing and to ensure that colonial legacies, climate debt, and the various struggles/ solutions already in existence from the Global South were considered.

RJN was allocated 15 minutes in one of the 9 sessions (30 hours in total) to deliver our testimony, and 15 minutes to field any questions (this shared presentation from RJN director Peninah Wangari-Jones and trustee Sai Murray, together with filmed interview questions posed outside the session, can be seen here).

Aware of the voluminous critiques on the whiteness of the UK climate movement and the sidelining of global majority voices we hoped our testimony would be afforded status as a vital underpinning to any recommended action for the city. However, on attending the November 2019 launch event to announce the 12 recommendations, no international framing was included.

Our existing work of engaging with global majority activists continued.

January 2020 saw RJN travel to Kenya to learn, skill-share, strategise and decolonise; and in March 2020 we held the next in our series of Collective Conversations on Race and Climate Justice: Our interconnected struggles. Out of these experiences and the enthusiasm shown by participants who would go on to form a dedicated Race & Climate Justice collective, the Thirteenth Recommendation was birthed.

We continue to do this work and to connect with individuals, communities and organisations locally and globally who have this consciousness embedded, and who demonstrate a desire to build in solidarity and work together for true planet repairs.

The 13th Recommendation is conceived therefore as a statement rather than an amendment or addenda. A foundation statement to underpin all other 12 recommendations and without which they are redundant.

The Thirteenth Recommendation will be launched next month on the 13th October 2020.

Testimony to the Leeds Climate Change Citizens’ Jury

In October 2019 myself and Peninah Wangari-Jones (director of the Racial Justice Network) were asked to present testimony to the Leeds Climate Change Citizens’ Jury.

Our theme for this testimony was the need for an international perspective to be considered in all thoughts, recommendations and action.

The 15-minute presentation is below (from 13mins 29):

And responses to further questions we were posed around the need to consider climate change from an international perspective also available here:

We look forward to hearing the recommendations for the city of Leeds and will continue to engage with our local and global communities to push the agenda of climate justice, recognising the climate debt owed to the majority world from exploiting countries (such as the UK) and striving towards the goal of holistic, economic, spiritual, environmental and cultural repairs to address legacies of colonialism and to end racial injustice.

Launch of Black Cultural Activism Map

Excited for this #RepTheRoad collaboration with Voices That Shake! family  coming up Sat 13th October. Shake!’s multi-artform theatrical performance has been developed out of ‘reparations dialogues’ between marginalised youth, artists, respected community elders and activists and will feature song from Nawi Collective, poetry from Globe Poets, film from Dhelia Snoussi and improvised dance from Akeim Toussaint-Buck, weaved together using audio interviews and soundscapes.

 

 

Sat 13th Oct 2018 at 3pm at Platform Theatre, London

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Climate Justice and Change – Pan African Congress Commemoration Talk

The 70th anniversary of the 5th Pan African Congress, 1945 was commemorated in Manchester in a three day conference from 16-18 October 2015. I was invited to deliver a talk titled “Climate Justice and Change” alongside other speakers such as Akala, Kadija Sesay on “Women in the Struggle” and Temi Mwale on “Youth at the Forefront”.