California Environmental Justice Alliance

Building Healthy Communities from the Ground up

Lifting up Culture at Our 2015 Congreso

It’s time to celebrate our wins for environmental justice!

We’re working hard to advance statewide policies with members and allies throughout the state and the Congreso is our annual gathering to connect, reflect, and celebrate. We’ve already made big moves on our priority bills this spring, and as the summer heats up, so will our people power!

Our 2015 Congreso “People, Power, Policy” on August 24-25th in Sacramento features an inspiring line-up of panels, workshops, and performances.

Check out this video from Environmental Health Coalition on why YOU should join us!

We will open up our Congreso this year with a panel that bridges the struggles for environmental justice from the local to the national featuring some amazing victories from our members and allies over the past year. Participants will learn to make the connections between the issues in their own communities to current statewide environmental justice policies. We will also have dynamic workshops on policy focus areas: Climate Justice, Energy Equity, Green Zones and Land Use.

Our CEJA members reflect the rich culture of their communities and at this year’s Congreso we’re excited to highlight the central role culture plays in winning the fight for environmental justice. Whether we’re educating our neighbors, mobilizing to City Hall, or advocating at the Capitol, the stories we bring from our communities reflect the rich histories, cultures, and traditions that we are striving to keep alive through a more clean, healthy, and livable environment.

Image by Favianna Rodriguez, CultureStrike
Image by Favianna Rodriguez, CultureStrike

CultureStrike

We’re so excited to have more cultural activities at this year’s Congreso, including a climate justice poster workshop by CultureStrike. CultureStrike is a national network harnessing the power of culture to organize artists, writers, media makers, and other cultural workers to transform public views and sentiment around migration and the migrant experience toward equity and inclusion.

Their work has been featured nationally at the NYC People’s Climate March and the California March for Real Climate Leadership, and we’re lucky to have them contribute their skills to facilitating the creation of a new climate justice poster series with CEJA!

Aguacero

Aguacero,  Photo by Patrick Hickey, Idyll.com

Aguacero, Photo by Patrick Hickey, Idyll.com

After a full day of workshops, we will also have a cultural night with a special performance by Bay Area based Bomba collective, Aguacero, an artistic, educational, and cultural project that focuses on the traditions and creative expressions of Puerto Rican Bomba music and dance. Aguacero literally means a sudden heavy rainstorm usually followed by a refreshing sky clearing and gust of sunshine. The spirit and practice of Bomba, like an aguacero, is intense, healing, and promotes life and growth. Through song, music, and dance, Aguacero embodies the life, energy, and continuity of water in nature.

Bomba was born in the sugar cane plantations of Puerto Rico over 300 years ago. Used as a form of resistance and relief, Bomba provided a setting for enslaved Africans and Puerto Ricans to creatively express what they were living through daily as well as an organized means of rebellion against colonial powers. Bomba has been kept alive through cultural resistance and today is practiced and studied as a tool for cultural enrichment, community health and empowerment, and artistic expression.

Aimee Suzara, aimeesuzara.net

Aimee Suzara, aimeesuzara.net

Aimee Suzara

Aimee Suzara is a Filipino-American poet, playwright, and performer who creates poetic and theatrical work about race, gender, and the body to provoke dialogue and social change. She has graced stages nationally, from Florida to Washington with her dynamic spoken word poetry performances and presentations. Her debut poetry book, SOUVENIR was lauded as “a powerful meditation on history and the legacies of race, family and identity,” and her poems appear in numerous collections, including Phat’itude and Kartika Review. Learn more about Aimee at www.aimeesuzara.net

 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she was part of a compilation album to support relief efforts and we’re honored to have her join us at our 2015 Congreso as we commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and stand in solidarity for climate justice from the Golden State to the Gulf Coast.

We hope you will join us at our 2015 Congreso to uplift culture and celebrate environmental justice!

Register today!