*Story updated on January 29th
The California Crossroads Tour has completed its run up the state of California, mobilizing communities, and encouraging audiences to sign up to get on the bus to the March for Real Climate Leadership taking place in Oakland on February 7th. We tapped into some incredible energy in each of the communities we’ve stopped in, and felt the momentum build at the intersectionality of all the movements working to stop toxic practices of the fossil fuel industry across the state. We were joined by amazing guests, speakers, hosts, and partners all along the tour, and realized the depth of the movement that is afoot. We had great events in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Delano, San Juan Bautista, Oakland, and Chico before culminating our tour with a Press Conference in Sacramento on January 28th. We’ve heard from a wide variety of speakers, from health professionals to environmental scientists, who have warned us of the dangers of the fossil fuel industry, and from elected officials to grassroots activists, who have told us stories of their victories and struggles. It is clear that momentum is building towards dramatic changes in energy policies that will bring about an equitable future for all Californians, especially for community members living on the front lines where this toxic enterprise is endangering untold Californians in their own homes.
In San Diego, we were hosted by King-Chavez High School, and joined by Jose Bravo of Just Transition Alliance, who spoke about the importance of sustainable development, workers rights and creating safer, high paying jobs here in America. Additionally, we were joined by labor representatives from the local IBEW who talked about how sustainable good paying jobs are being created in the renewable energy economy.
In Los Angeles, we participated in a night of solidarity, watching movements coming together. We were deeply grateful to Holman United Methodist Church for sharing their beautiful space with us. Pastor Sauls opened the night with a powerful and moving speech calling for us to work together and support each other as we move forward together. He was followed by Gladys Limon of Communities for a Better Environment, who discussed Los Angeles’ ongoing battles against urban oil drilling in front line communities, the health impacts it has had on these communities, and the work being done to support renewables in the region.
In Oxnard, we were welcomed into the Heritage Cultural Center, and joined by mayor pro tem Carmen Ramirez, who expressed her commitment to keeping industry’s feet to the fire. City Councilman David Pollock of Moorpark reminded us of the importance of supporting the progressive initiatives of courageous political officials.
In Santa Barbara, we avenged the water guardians, and filled the Faulkner Gallery to the point of standing room only. We heard from Dr. Tim Krantz who highlighted the dangers of offshore fracking, which is increasing just off the coast.
In Delano, our hearts were broken by the stories of devastation and loss brought on by the fossil fuel industry and the dangers that come along with it, but buoyed by the energy and the historical movements of resistance that have taken place here, and that were strategically crafted by members of the Center on Race Poverty and the Environment. The CRPE were fabulous hosts, and they represent the struggles and, the changes, that are imminent and embody the courage we need to win.
In San Juan Capistrano, we celebrated the recent ban on fracking, and had the opportunity to hear from a handful of the many strong local leaders that have emerged here. It is clear that San Benito County, like many of the places we’ve visited, is a hot spot for REAL Climate Leaders. We only hope Governor Brown is paying attention!
In Oakland, we declared our commitment to fight for clean water and clean air alongside a packed auditorium at the California Nurses Association, as Assemblyman Tony Thurmond opened the evening. We heard from a wide variety of activists, each outlining a different niche, and discussing the many different ways the community here is fighting back against the fossil fuel industry.
After a brief interlude in Oakland, the California Crossroads Tour resumed for its final event! While the formidable grassroots movement in Butte County continues to push forward for a ban on fracking, this stop on the Crossroads was joined by Rebekah Casey from GRID Alternatives who talked about energy alternatives for marginalized communities, and Cheri Chastain who discussed the innovative renewable energy solutions being implemented by Sierra Nevada Brewery.
The next morning, we traveled to Sacramento for a Press Conference, calling on Governor Brown to adhere to the messages we had gathered from so many communities across California. We captured the heart of the California Crossroads Tour, bringing together voices that highlighted the intersectionality of the movements throughout the state. We ended the conference announcing that we will be marching in Governor Brown’s hometown on February 7th.
Following the conference, the speakers joined us in delivering the pieces of the solution that community members had created at each stop of the tour. They were in the shape of puzzle pieces, since Governor Brown is clearly missing a few pieces of the puzzle– that REAL Climate Leaders push back against the fossil fuel industry by stopping refinery expansion, blocking dangerous bomb trains, and putting a ban on fracking and other forms of dangerous and toxic fossil fuel extraction!
We were joined by innumerable other equally remarkable speakers at every stop, all of whom gave compelling talks, and were incredibly knowledgeable in their fields. We lament that all speakers cannot be covered in this blog, but we are deeply grateful to all the expert speakers on our panels.
The community organizing team of each location has gone above and beyond our expectations, and the communities clearly joined together to make these events a huge success.
Along our journey, we have been joined by hundreds of Californians, all of them ready to take action and move California away from fossil fuels and towards a 100% renewable energy future. The next step is clear– get on the bus for the March for Real Climate Leadership in Oakland on February 7th, and tell Governor Brown that he must ban fracking, end fossil fuel expansion, and give us real solutions in California.
See press from the tour here: