April 29, 2020
Power Shift 2021 Steering Committee COVID-19 Statement
For the past several months, the Power Shift 2021 (PS21) Steering Committee has been hard at work visioning and planning a large climate convergence for the spring of 2021. After receiving feedback from the Power Shift Network community, we set our sights on convening in the beautiful city of New Orleans (NOLA) between April 16-18, 2021. We chose New Orleans because it is on the frontlines of the climate crisis in our country. Since Hurricane Katrina, NOLA has been a hub for communities building climate resilience and it has lots to teach us about building justice into climate activism and recovery. This area also has very active and impactful young people organizing for a more just world.
The Steering Committee continues to plan for PS21 with excitement, hopefulness, and care. Yet, we cannot ignore the present crisis of this moment that is impacting the world and, more specifically, New Orleans. The New Orleans and broader Gulf Coast area are among the regions most deeply impacted by historical systemic oppression, and in turn, COVID-19. The deadly combination of Capitalism, Patriarchy, and White Supremacy continues to target Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the Gulf Coast area, especially during this horrific moment where public health is in crisis. These structural barriers and inequities are wreaking havoc upon New Orleans, limiting their ability to respond and care for themselves during this pandemic.
In solidarity with the folks in this region, the PS21 Steering Committee will temporarily pause planning for the convergence and reallocate some of our convergence planning capacity in service of the communities most affected by COVID-19 in NOLA and the broader Gulf Coast. We believe this choice aligns with our principles of centering the most vulnerable and impacted communities, resisting the fear of scarcity, and working in intentional caring interconnectedness. We will dedicate time to assessing the ways in which our committee and broader networks can facilitate and support the needs of the grassroots organizers in beloved New Orleans. We commit to leveraging our access to resources in service of the care and wellbeing of the city in which we hope to converge next April.
Please, be safe and stay as healthy as possible!
Your PS21 Steering Committee:
Elsa Mengistu, Howard University
Dylan Plummer, Cascadia Wildlands
Shaza Hussein, Harvard University
Jacob Johns, Backbone Campaign
Anna Grace Hottinger, YEA! MN (ClimateGeneration)
Maria Archibald, Uplift
Victoria Hsieh, Dream Equal
Kayla Soren, International Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC)
Jasmine Banks, UnKoch My Campus