Convergence for Black Futures!
THIS CONVERGENCE HAS BEEN POSTPONED… STAY TUNED HERE FOR UPDATES!
CONVERGENCE FOR BLACK FUTURES
(The Fifth North American Ecosocialist Convergence!)
May 6-8, 2016: Joliet, Illinois!
Black lives, the climate crisis, housing, the prison industry, environmental racism, and all forms of violence are connected. In Joliet, Illinois at Evergreen Terrace, the attacks on people of color are both physical and psychological. As Colia Clark says, “genocide is paired with menticide.” A City Council member in a heated moment said “We need to run the rats and dogs at Evergreen Terrace out of town,” and “these are the whores of the guys in Stateville Prison up the river.” But the people of Evergreen Terrace are converging to fight back for justice and dignity, and to prefigure a new future. You are invited.
The Climate Crisis is a Black Lives crisis. People of color around the world – particularly women, children, the elderly and disabled – will face the greatest devastation from climate change. As a result of the Chicago Plan for Transformation, which tore down swaths of affordable housing (including Cabrini Green where there is now a Lamborghini dealer), from 2000-2010 the Black population of Chicago dropped 16%. This trend will escalate with projected climate refugees moving to the Midwest.
The City of Joliet has been on the warpath. They want to condemn and dispossess the low income families in Evergreen Terrace. They have now deposited $15 million with the court, after $6 million in attorneys fees, so they can kick out over 300 families. Evergreen Terrace is at a crossroads: it can be an internal colony like Stateville Prison up the road, or a Maroon community; a beacon on the horizon which burns for justice and guides others on the path to freedom.
Evergreen Terrace is a poster child for judicial violence. The court and the city have been colluding to oppress the people. But Evergreen Terrace is its people, not just its buildings, and they have been fighting back for a long time. This May, they will host a convergence, inviting local, national and international organizations to link their hands and hearts, their struggles and their hopes, their resistance and their revolution.
On May 6th starting at 10am, Joliet will launch a chapter of Black Lives Matter. On May 7th from 10am to 1pm we will paint a mural representing this pivot in our local struggle, and work in the community garden. Then at 2pm we will organize ourselves to testify at an upcoming conference in July and August: Judicial Violence or Restorative Justice? Finally, we will conclude the day with a concert, featuring the live music and poetry of local talents and special guests. Finally, on Sunday, May 8th there will be a day of ceremony and celebration at Starved Rock, a rare site that was inhabited continuously by Indigenous people for over 10,000 years until the arrival of the Europeans.
This gathering emerges from a long history of local community organizing. But it is also happening alongside peoples all over the world who are rising up to resist death and dispossession, and to prefigure peace and justice. It is not coincidence, but a convergence! The place where social and environmental justice meet is the ecosocialist horizon, and this convergence is the fifth in a series beginning in 2012, connecting movements in North America with their allies around the world. We are coming to Joliet to listen and to learn, to liberate ourselves and each other.
Friday May 6: Black Lives Matter, Joliet chapter founding meeting, 10am-1pm
Saturday May 7: Community gardening, mural painting and concert, 10am-6pm
Sunday May 8: Hiking and healing, ceremony and celebration, 12pm-5pm
The Convergence for Black Futures is bringing together the following groups and movements: The Evergreen Terrace Community, Joliet Rainbow PUSH, Concerned Citizens of Joliet, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Interfaith Action Committee, the Unitarian Church Black Lives Matter study group and Ecosocialist Horizon among others.
(RSVP required: Abraham Mwaura: firstname.lastname@example.org / 312.775.2154)