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Council presentations - climate justice and Indigenous Peoples' Day

Thank you to SJPC's author on this piece - Jacob Benitez!

Up first: Recognizing Climate Resilience - Councilmembers Guerra and Valenzuela

On October 11, 2022, the City Council received a special presentation opened by Councilmembers Valenzuela and Guerra. The purpose of this presentation was to recognize the importance of Clean Air Day and the impacts that climate justice has on the Sacramento community.

Clean Air Day takes place on October 6th where many regions of California and nonprofit organizations work together to advocate for clean air. Here in Sacramento, car and truck emissions account for 70 percent of ground level ozone air pollution. The goal of Clean Air Day is to reduce emissions and to promote climate justice. Moreover, the day is used as a chance to promote access to sustainable transportation, emergency housing, and shelter.

Environmental justice means acknowledging and supporting those members of our community that are the most vulnerable and helping them live long and healthy lives.

The Program Director of 350 Sacramento (and SJPC Counselmember!), Moiz Mir, presented to the Council and thanked all the groups and organizations who have partnered to push forward climate justice. Moiz talked about organizing schools to utilize electric buses to reduce the amount of emissions into the air.

In addition, Moiz described a new project by 350 Sacramento (website linked here) regarding the creation of DIY air filters. The organization will host workshops in order to help members of the community construct an air filter. This project is tailored towards helping members of our community who are in proximity to wildfires or who have asthma to be able to have access to clean air. The filter box is said to have the same strength as a commercial air purifier; Moiz stressed the importance of getting these devices to people in need.

You can find the link to register for a workshop in the graphic below, or at this link.

It is important to promote the equal access to essential resources to all of our community members. No one should suffer from a lack of resources vital to our daily living, including clean air

In honor of Clean Air Day, we can all do our part to lower air pollution and incorporate sustainable practices into our daily living.

Next up: Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Also on October 11, 2022 the City Council received a presentation opened by Councilmember Valenzuela regarding the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated the second Monday of October and it serves to recognize the Indigenous communities that have lived in what are now know as the Americas for thousands of years. The purpose of this presentation was not only to recognize the day but also to push for the replacement of Christopher Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is intended as a day of mourning for the indigenous communities that have been lost, and for the acknowledgement and understanding of our nation’s atrocious history of the genocidal colonization of stolen land. Moreover, the day symbolizes the survival and resilience of indigenous communities. It is important to note that the destruction of indigenous communities and the oppression/disenfranchisement of the people within them is very much NOT a thing of the past. As a nation we continue patterns long ago established by European colonizers.

Wilton Rancheria (the only federally recognized tribe in Sacramento County), members attended the presentation and performed a song in honor of the day (learn more about Wilton Rancheria at their website linked here). Their Rancheria, or reservation, encompasses 38.5 acres of land located close to Elk Grove. The tribe has about 1,000 members, and 65% of their community lives in Southern Sacramento. The tribe extended their gratitude for the support of the Council in advocating for the replacement of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The tribe continues to push indigenous issues to the forefront of the community and to advocate for the preservation of their values. The traditional song performed was dedicated to an ancestor as a symbol to keeping their culture alive.

The performance can be found at this link to the 10/11 Council meeting.

The Council emphasized the importance of fixing and attending to inequities faced by indigenous people. In addition, the Council illustrated the importance of educating youth about the history of indigenous people. It is critical that our community digs deeper into understanding the history of pain that indigenous people have faced. In addition, the day calls for a moment of reflection towards what the history of indigenous people means for the future.

QUICK SHOUTOUT TO COUNCILMEMBER HARRIS who has repeatedly refused to read the land acknowledgement at City Council meetings. Well done Jeff.

Moreover, the Council pushed for the art community, who have received $10 million in ARPA funds, to create art in the center of City Hall tailored towards educating people about indigenous tribes and honoring indigenous communities.

It is important for the resilience and strength of the Indigenous people to be recognized as they have had an immeasurable impact on our society

Upholding the rights and dignity of our communities should not exclude Indigenous people. We hold equality and opportunity as a basis for inclusion that should be extended to all the communities of Sacramento.

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