As the year comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our work in 2009. While the story of economic recession has been told on the nightly news through dire images of home foreclosures and job loss, we’ve gotten to see a different side of the story. We’ve seen that when times are tough and money is tight, communities know that the most effective way to bring about real change is by taking action!
We’ve had a busy year, pulling off some of the most work on some of the least resources in our history. We’ve helped train, vision, and support actions for groups fighting police brutality, resisting foreclosure evictions, and ending Israel’s assault on the Palestinians in Gaza; groups fighting for clean air and water in their communities; resisting shale gas extraction in NY, and the Tar Sands oil extraction in Alberta; student groups fighting for just policies on their campuses; community groups from New Orleans to Milwaukee working to develop their folks’ skills to serve their communities’ needs; and of course, folks in our backyard here in the Bay Area who are taking Chevron to task and building up community solutions to the impending climate crisis (check out this growing list of eco-justice actions we’re developing!).
In addition to all the community-requested trainings and action support, some of the Ruckus Program highlights from 2009 were:
- The first annual Network RoundUp in January, where folks from our volunteer network of skilled NVDA coordinators and trainers gathered for 4 days in Oakland to share best practices across generations of Ruckus and develop methods to grow and deepen the skills within the Ruckus network.
- The Capitol Climate Action in March, where Ruckus helped train, prep and coordinate (with our allies at RAN, Greenpeace, and Energy Action) the first mass civil disobedience for climate justice. 3,000 folks risked arrest at the Capitol Power Plant in Washington, DC, demanding that congress take real steps towards ending the climate crisis.
- Localize This! Action Camp on Vashon Island, WA, in July. Upon request for training by the local Vashon community who was gearing up to (successfully) fight off a multinational corporation from decimating a local island, we used the opportunity to hold one of our cornerstone Action Camps. Dozens of folks from around the U.S. and Canada convened for a week of nonviolence theory, direct action planning and prep, and hands-on tactical skills such as climbing, blockades on land and sea, and creative visuals. Several of the participants from the camp went on to take high-level actions against the Tar Sands! Check out the action on Niagara Falls, and at RBC Headquarters!
- West Coast Convergence for Climate Justice & Action (WCCCJA) in September. As a central planning partner of the Mobilization for Climate Justice-West coalition, we helped host this Bay Area training camp which provided participants with in-depth ecological justice analysis and community solutions tools in addition to direct action training. MCJ-West has mobilized actions for climate justice each month since the kick-off action at the Richmond Chevron refinery in August, including this action from 9/21 shown here in the U.K. Guardian (that’s our intern, Lydia!), the 10/24 International Day of Action for Climate Justice with 350.org, N30 10th anniversary of the WTO shutdown actions, and December 7th when we blockaded all three gates at Chevron’s Headquarters in San Ramon, CA on the opening day of the COP15 Climate Talks.
- Indigenous Peoples’ Delegation action support in Copenhagen Dec 7-18. Our Indigenous Peoples’ Power Project, under the leadership of Ruckus Program Director Sharon Lungo, helped pull off action after action with Indigenous activists from around the world who traveled to Copenhagen to demand strong and just climate policies at the U.N. COP15. Check out this video of Sharon in Copenhagen explaining why IP3 was there.
What a year! Thank you so much to all of you who have supported us financially and otherwise to make all of this important work possible! We couldn’t have done it without you.
For a sneak preview of what we’ve got in store for 2010, check out our upcoming events page!