Hi EcoFaith friends!
I am so inspired after Saturday’s events. Our EcoFaith PCEF cohort meeting was very engaging. There was so much sharing of great ideas. I am so grateful to be a part of this awesome group!
I especially want to share my experience of the Frontline Communities event with three of PCEF’s leadership organizations (APANO, NAACP and NAYA) represented on the panel along with OPAL. Khanh Pham from APANO shared her experiences in an immigrant family from Vietnam. Cary Watters (NAYA) represented the exploitation of Native American lands and peoples by our extractive economy. Rev. E. D. Mondaine (NAACP) described his youth in St. Louis and the affect to his personal health after living far too close to heavy industry.
Environmental justice is an imperative to their communities and they called for self-determination for achieving solutions. They described that their communities lack access to resources of the green economy. They called for investing in priorities lead by local communities, with an emphasis on a radically-inclusive definition of community. They called for getting PCEF passed as a key step towards environmental justice here in Portland.
These stories and their calls to action struck me like a lightning bolt. They said that existing environmental programs don’t reach their communities. I believe them. They said that PCEF will provide access to resources that their communities don’t currently enjoy. I believe them. They said that they need self-determination in the specifics of the local investments. I trust them.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t ask questions as good stewards. Paul Tillich said “doubt is not the opposite of faith, it is an element of it.” Jesus affirmed Thomas even though he was doubtful. But my desire for proof needs to be checked at the boundary of another person’s lived experience. Jesus blessed equally those who believed though they had not seen.
The panel’s testimony and our EcoFaith community give me confidence to begin the work of signature gathering even knowing that I’ll come face-to-face with doubts and objections. I came away from Saturday morning feeling so affirmed in our action walking alongside these community leaders and their communities.
Peace be with you all!
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