Over the weekend some folks from CODEPINK attended the group Arm in Arm’ for Climate’s National Assembly in Birmingham, Alabama. Arm in Arm is a coalition of groups and people with the mission to organize “our communities to ignite a transformational era that ends the climate crisis by centering racial and economic justice”. They utilize “disruptive humanitarianism to address systemic failures in communities through civil disobedience that highlights systemic injustices while providing benefits to the community”.
At the assembly CODEPINKers worked alongside dozens of other organizations to disrupt Alabama Power, the #1 polluter in the state of Alabama. This energy giant is responsible for polluting lower income black and brown neighborhoods across the state, particularly through their fossil fuel plants. The coal-fired Miller Steam Plant is located just outside of Birmingham’s city limits and pollutes a neighborhood with an average annual income of $11,000 who are charged around 18% of that income for energy costs, by Alabama Power. People are actively having to live under the smoke of fossil fuels while paying extraordinary energy costs just to stay warm.
Folks attended workshops on nonviolent direct action or anti-racism, went wheat pasting, pulled off some banner drops, and brought the elephant in the room (fossil fuel pollution) directly to the front doors of Alabama Power with a beautiful teach-in and march. Bringing an anti-imperialist lens to this space helped to highlight how most conflicts and acts of aggression are often deeply rooted in control of resources, like fossil fuels and how often the people who suffer from environmental racism are also the communities most impacted by armed conflict. These are the voices we need to listen to as we work toward a peaceful and healthy future.