Environmental Justice: learning from the southwest


I posted last week about Environmental Justice, particularly in reference to a reflection on a Louisville, KY based “environmental racism tour” connected to the Big Tent PCUSA gathering in August.


Issues of environmental justice are in my hometown, and in yours, and all across the globe. What do you see around you?


To continue the conversation and to share a success story of one community that is gaining voice and power as it works for environmental justice, I want to invite you to hear a bit about Tewa Women United, an organization of women, some of whom I had the pleasure to meet at a Ghost Ranch seminar in New Mexico this summer. I heard their stories and was profoundly moved.


One of the women (Beata) spoke, with her infant son in her arms, about how walking around the Los Alamos military testing site many years ago, and hearing the disruptive booms, all of the sudden helped her put together various pieces of information (spiritual, health, and other disruptions in her community). Her attention was honed in this moment to realize the interconnections of issues of environment, health, spiritual welfare, and social justice in her community. As a mother and poet, she is also now an environmental justice advocate. To read more from Beata, check out her blog.


Tewa Women United (which long ago actually got started with some help from Presbyterian women) is a collective, inter-tribal women’s organization in the Tewa homelands of northern New Mexico. Their environmental justice program engages on issues of nuclear weapons production, proliferation and disarmament as well as issues of healing medicines and foods (to counter nuclear contamination and pollution affects on bodies, minds, spirits, lands, air, and water).


Let us give thanks to God for women like Beata, and all those at Tewa Women United, as they struggle to live into a hopeful vision of their future and as they work faithfully to put actions to words.


For more information on Tewa Women United, go to: http://tewawomenunited.org/programs/environmental-justice-program.


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