The Xingu has been severely impacted over the past decade by climate change across the region, including aridification (drying) due to deforestation in the Upper Xingu and climate-influenced droughts. Since they first began in 2007, major forest fires, unknown in the cultural memory of indigenous communities, have plagued the Upper Xingu. Fires and fire vulnerability further intensified since 2015, when fires consumed half of the forests in the Kuikuro territory. This has been ameliorated over the past five years with the intervention of the Prev-Fogo program and the training of local fire brigades. However, cuts in funding from an indifferent, or even hostile, government are threatening the efficacy of these measures. Even before the COVID-19 crisis the indigenous people of the southern Amazon were facing unprecedented threats. Widespread deforestation, fires and a hostile government are decimating their tropical forest homes and have left them fighting for their very survival.
For more information: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/d13c50b64ada4e53856b3d4d64a08bcb
"Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part."
― John Lewis on movement building in Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America. August 2017.
We are in awe of our grantees standing up to a the undue injustices so many people around the world face. Our friends at SOIL and APLV are fighting to bring essential sanitation and clean water solutions to communities that have been historically unheard and oppressed. Our partners in the Amazon Hope Collective are raising awareness about the threats to the survival of indigenous groups by fire, disease and deforestation. Our partnerships with Steps, CHT, ShiftMeals and Vermonters for Criminal Justice have helped people build resilient futures for themselves, their families and their communities in this challenging time. Thank you to all of you working to make the world a better, more just place. Be the Change. Vote.
At Pennywise we recognize indigenous rights to land, rights to subsistence resources and activities, rights to self-determination and self-government, and the right to practice one's own culture and customs including language and religion. Your vote is your voice. Use it for what matters.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Last Prisoners Project (LPP) has been a leading voice calling for immediate decarceration efforts and safety measures for incarcerated communities. This work has led to the release of hundreds of at-risk individuals, securing safety and hygiene resources for facilities, and the development of the LPP compassionate release program which matches individuals seeking compassionate release with pro bono attorneys.
At the LPP they utilize a three-pronged approach to securing FULL freedom for the communities they serve. Through intervention, advocacy, and awareness campaigns the LPP works to redress the past and continuing harms of these unjust laws and policies.
In their first year of operations, LPP was able to implement direct services in three states. They also engaged in legislative advocacy, urging state lawmakers to pass criminal justice reform measures such as clean slate initiatives as well as "Ban the Box" initiatives and ensuring that those with cannabis offenses on their record have equal access to employment.
In the upcoming year, LPP will expand these initiatives to at least six new states that they have determined are most viable for these programs. They are currently fundraising to secure an operational budget of $756,375 and if we raise $1.3 million we can scale these programs to six additional states in 2021. With your support, we can continue to create lasting change for every cannabis prisoner.
Consider a gift today to help them reach their goal!
So far, this year has been quite an unprecedented year on so many fronts, but this month we join the folks at SOIL who have been particularly saddened by the deepening climate crisis that is evident in the historic wildfires burning in the western US, one of the most active hurricane seasons on record for the Caribbean, record breaking temperatures across the northern hemisphere and the crumbling of Greenland’s largest ice sheet.
Our friends at SOIL understand the fragile balance between vulnerable ecosystems and human activity. They have made significant progress in quantifying the environmental impact of their technology to ensure that they are responsibly and sustainably promoting a sanitation model that mitigates harmful greenhouse gases and encourages the inclusion of vulnerable populations in the climate conversation.
Their ecological sanitation solution re-captures nutrients from waste and safely recycles them to be used once again to enrich degraded soils and nurture community food production. SOIL’s EkoLakay service and Konpos Lakay product work efficiently to reduce the carbon footprint in Haiti’s sanitation sector while providing an essential service to communities throughout the country.
As we look to the rest of the year and beyond, and the unknown environmental challenges that might be ahead – we remain incredibly encouraged by the work of the core team at SOIL and the dedicated partners around the world that are working not only improve human and environmental health in the short term, but also to build the resilience needed to buffer against the challenges we have yet to face.
Read more about SOIL and their incredible work HERE.
Today, the Vermont House of Representatives passed S. 234, a bill that would require the automatic expungement of all criminal records for past low level cannabis offenses. The bill would also decriminalize possession of cannabis in amounts that are up to twice the legal limit for adults and reduce some cannabis penalties. S. 234 will now return to the Senate for concurrence before it heads to the governor’s desk. We have been working with our partners for years to expand post conviction relief in Vermont and we celebrate this important reform.
David Gadsden, Esri’s Director of Conservation Solutions, is an applied geographer with more than two decades of experience applying geospatial technology to address complex humanitarian and conservation challenges. Click HERE to read his blog post about our work and how it helps the Kuikuro safeguard themselves from COVID-19 and other threats to their survival.
ALTO XINGU, Brazil – This year, we won’t celebrate Kuarup, the most important traditional ritual in Upper Xingu, the first indigenous territory demarcated in Brazil in 1961. Through Kuarup we celebrate our dead with dances, fights and painted bodies, and invite guests from the territory and beyond to participate. Eight ethnic groups get together to say goodbye to the departed. But for the first time in history, we will stay in mourning until our ritual can be performed again in the next dry season, in August 2021. Until then we will cry for the many more who will succumb to this new threat.
Well before the coronavirus reached our territories and caused its first death — a 45-day-old baby — the indigenous peoples of Brazil were facing another dangerous threat: President Jair Bolsonaro. He has made clear with his rhetoric that he is against indigenous causes and the environment, and we fear that the president will use this health crisis to let the virus spread and kill many native Brazilians, as happened with the measles outbreak in 1954, still very much alive in our memory.
"I just want to thank you for you support. That's all I wanted to say. " -Cheif Afukaka Kuikuro
"The entire Kukuro village thanks you for your support" -Yanama Kuikuro, President AIKAX.
The time to act is now.