Archive for the ‘Political Action’ Category

Public Hearings and Public Health in the Gullah/Geechee Nation

April 5, 2018

The Gullah/Geechee Nation is participating in National Public Health Week along with others throughout the United States April 2-8, 2018.   “Changing Our Future Together” requires an understanding of the various ways that we can support improving public health.  Each day of #NPHW has a different focus ranging from behavioral health and communicable diseases to injury and violence prevention and access to ensuring the right to health care and environmental health.  The Gullah/Geechee Nation has placed emphasis on the latter of the categories for the week given that improving and maintaining environmental health especially of the waterways.  Water quality, seafood safety and human health are the central focus of the work of the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank.  This is a priority because without a healthy Gullah/Geechee Nation environment, the citizens will not be healthy.

The website for #NPHW ask and answers the questions:

Why Should I Care?

Why Should I Care?:  “In the U.S., air pollution contributes to thousands of premature births and costs billions of dollars. In 2007, asthma cost the U.S. $56 billion in medical care, lost productivity and premature death. Costs of childhood lead poisoning are also in the billions (though each dollar invested in controlling the environmental hazard returns up to $200 in savings). The economic benefit of cleaning up mercury and other air toxins is in the billions — not to mention the up to 46,000 premature deaths that could be prevented.

Then there’s climate change, which will continue to impact people’s health and just about every factor that influences our health. Climate change is a serious risk to human health, impacting our food, water, air, disease risk and mental well-being. It’s expected to increase heat-related deaths, exacerbate chronic conditions such as respiratory illnesses and heart disease, increase dangerous asthma events, increase the severity and frequency of natural disasters, and endanger water safety and food security. Recent studies also document the mental toll of climate-related events. For example, two years after Superstorm Sandy, those who experienced the disaster were still reporting serious mental distress at levels nearly twice the national average.

In the last decade, extreme weather and fire events have cost the country more than $350 billion, and climate change is only predicted to make it worse. However, the negative impacts of climate change won’t be evenly distributed — it’s expected to worsen existing inequalities. One study estimated that if nothing is done about climate change, the poorest third of U.S. counties could experience climate-related damages costing up to 20 percent of a county’s entire income.”

What Can I Do?

What can I do?:

#SpeakForHealth: Environmental health is closely intertwined with policy, from laws that keep our air and water clean to rules that protect us from toxic chemicals to local ordinances that ensure healthy housing. For example, by 2020, the Clean Air Act will have prevented more than 230,000 early deaths. And thanks to policies that removed lead from products like house paint and gasoline, dangerous blood lead levels in children have plummeted (though more than 3 million young kids still live in homes with a lead risk). Smart policies that prioritize health can make a big difference.

Use your voice to support policies and decisions that prevent harmful environmental exposures, build community resilience and protect the most vulnerable. Support funding for strong environmental public health systems — these are the systems that monitor our communities for dangerous contaminants and fend off preventable disease.

Demand action on climate change: Climate change is real and one of the greatest health threats of the 21st century. Support efforts and policies that reduce climate-related emissions, prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change, and ready the country for a clean energy future. For example, if the Clean Power Plan stays on the books, it could save the country $20 billion in climate costs and deliver up to $34 billion in health benefits. Local and individual action on climate change makes a difference, too — learn how.

Stand for environmental justice: Environmental health risks affect some communities much more than others. For example, research shows polluting industries are disproportionately located in poor communities and in communities of color. Another example: While the number of Americans with asthma increased to 25 million between 2001 and 2009, black children shouldered a disproportionate burden, with rates going up 50 percent. Learn more about environmental injustice and how to take action at the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program.  Several of the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank members partnered with the NAACP’s program during 2017 at which Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation provided these closing remarks:

The work of the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition continues well beyond National Public Health Week.  The closing of #NPHW signals the opening of a week of public hearings in the Gullah/Geechee Nation.  The hearings will determine what will take place at locations along the North Carolina and Georgia coast.

From 1936 to 1974, Kerr-McGee and other companies used a 245-acre plantation site in Navassa, NC bounded by the Brunswick River, Sturgeon Creek, a residential area, and a light industrial area for creosote-based wood treating. By 1980, Kerr-McGee dismantled the wood-treatment buildings and facilities. This was done after the area had already been contaminated and declared a “superfund site.”   The soil, sediment and groundwater are contaminated by creosote-related chemicals. The EPA has stated that the contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the Site.

In 2005, the Site was conveyed to Tronox, a Kerr-McGee spinoff that filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. In 2011, the Multistate Trust acquired the Site as a court-appointed trustee as part of the Tronox bankruptcy settlement. The Multistate Trust is working with its beneficiaries—EPA and N.C. DEQ—on the Site investigation, remediation and redevelopment planning.

The Multistate Trust has been working with EPA and N.C. DEQ on Site reuse planning with the Redevelopment Working Group of citizens, community leaders, local elected officials and other stakeholders. A community visioning workshop was held Feb. 23–24 to provide a forum for citizens to help shape the future of the Site. Residents, local leaders, and other stakeholders worked in small groups at the workshop to create possible redevelopment options for the site. Potential redevelopment options will arose from the workshop and online input statements that were taken until the end of March will be a topic of discussion during the public availability session and the public meeting on April 10 about the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp – Navassa Superfund Site in Navassa, N.C.

Navassa-Kerr-McGee-2018-4-10-Public-Meeting-Flyer-v2-FINAL-WEB

Public Availability Session – 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Residents will have an opportunity to talk one-on-one with experts about the Site, environmental investigations, redevelopment planning, and related topics. Representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (N.C. DEQ), and the Multistate Environmental Response Trust (Multistate Trust) will be available to answer questions and share information.

Public Meeting – 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Representatives of EPA, N.C. DEQ, and the Multistate Trust will provide updates on Site environmental investigations, the upcoming study of potential remediation options, and possible redevelopment alternatives, and will answer questions.

Topics will include:

  • Environmental Investigations—The Remedial Investigation (RI) of the Site and the upcoming (RI) report is a study designed to collect the data necessary to: (1) determine the nature and extent of contamination on and off the Site; (2) characterize Site conditions; and (3) assess risk to human health and the environment.
  • Possible remediation options—The upcoming Feasibility Study (FS) of potential remediation options is designed to identify and evaluate potential remedies to address contamination at the Site, and to assess possible technologies and alternatives for their effectiveness in protecting human health and the environment.
  • Redevelopment Planning Initiative—The draft redevelopment options that resulted from the Feb. 23–24 Community Visioning Workshop held as part of the Multistate Trust’s ongoing effort to identify community-backed alternatives for the Site’s reuse.

 What is the goal of the RPI?

The goal of the RPI is to identify community-supported plans for potential Site reuses that protect human health and the environment and are environmentally and economically sustainable.

Learn more about the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp Site – Navassa at http://multi-trust.org/navassa-north-carolina or https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0403028.

If you have any questions, please contact Richard Elliott of the Multistate Trust at (617) 953-1154 or re@g-etg.com.

Gullah/Geechee Nation Sunset

At the opposite end of the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coast just before you enter Florida, there is the Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a crown jewel on the Atlantic Coast. The island boasts nearly 20 miles of natural unspoiled beach, marshes and maritime forest, and acres of precious coastal wilderness.   Unfortunately, what makes this seashore a national treasure is at risk.

Camden County commissioners have asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow them to build a spaceport to launch commercial rockets over the seashore. If allowed, this could bring negative impacts to the health of Cumberland Island’s unique historic and natural resources, the safety of visitors, residents and wildlife on the island, and the impact of rocket debris and fuel contaminants to the coastal waters off the island.

The FAA has prepared a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in which they recommended issuing Camden County a license to build and operate the proposed spaceport.  Come out to this public meeting to ask the FAA questions about this plan and express your concerns about a spaceport and rocket launches over Cumberland Island.

Event Details

WHAT: Public meeting: Tell FAA, “No way” to rocket launches over Cumberland Island National Seashore

WHEN: Wednesday, April 11, and Thursday, April 12, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Camden County Public Service Authority Recreation Center Community Room, 1050 Wildcat Drive, Kingsland, GA 31545

RSVP: Register here. (This will allow you to obtain some helpful talking points ahead of the hearing.)

The public hearings will include an information session from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the FAA presentation from 6:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., and a public statement period in which any individual may provide up to a 3-minute statement. Attending and sharing your own statement in support of protecting Cumberland Island would be enormously helpful. The FAA will transcribe all oral comments. All comments received through May 16 will be given equal weight and be taken into consideration in the preparation of the final EIS.

If you cannot attend the meeting, please share your concerns with the FAA by taking action online. For additional information, visit http://protectcumberlandisland.org/

It is critical to be a part of these public hearings that will assist in healing and maintaining the health of the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s environment.  The negative impacts of contaminants in the Charleston, SC area have led to a number of illnesses that the citizens have.  The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)

Gullah Research Day Invitation Flyeris a Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank member institution that is focused on assisting with improving the public health along the South Carolina coast which is sandwiched between these two states where the hearings are taking place.  In order to learn more about the work that they have done, they will close out the month with Gullah Research Day” on Johns Island, SC.  The public is invited to attend the event. Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/195967680999964/ for more details.

The Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank will conclude the week of public hearings with their annual conference.  The Coastal Cultures Conference will be held at the shoreline of Hunting Island Nature Center.  Attending this interactive event will increase your understanding of the importance of the health of the waterways and natural environment of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and how healing the environment definitely protects human health.  Leaving the event will give you more insight and tools to use in order to fight to prevent any future contamination of the coast.

May National Public Health Week and the weeks following inspire you to #SpeakforHealth.

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The Gullah/Geechee Nation will host several events during the month of April so that the public can improve their health by being outdoors with their families.   Gwine ya fa mo info ef hunnuh wan go:

https://gullahgeecheenation.com/2018/04/03/gullah-geechee-nation-springs-into-saturday-celebrations/

www.GullahGeecheeNation.com

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Civil War 3-#StoptheDrill and #GullahGeechee

February 16, 2018

Our morning began in the cold as we left St. Helena Island.  We were on the road at the hour that most of our ancestors and elders had to journey out into the fields and into the creeks.  Ain bin dayclean yet.   Even though the sun wasn’t shining and the wind was cutting, the more of us that got into the car, the warmer it got.  By the time we got to the bus in Yemassee, our fire for freedom was a blaze and it felt hot.

As our bus headed up the ramp from Beaufort County, more buses left from Georgetown and Charleston County.   They thought that they would make the decisions for us in the Midlands and in DC, but we were coming to let them know that we already decided what would take place in the Lowcountry to protect the Gullah/Geechee.

On board the bus, I felt like we were taking yet another freedom ride and through it would have to turn this political tide.  As I stood on the steps of the South Carolina State House, I stood firm and listened very closely.  As I heard the words from the representative from Greeleyville ringing out saying “We want our freedom now!” coupled with the words back to back from the other representatives saying that we are here to send a clear message to Washington, DC, I stood there thinking “South Carolina is firing again and this will be Civil War 3!”

South Carolina was the first state to succeed from the Union if you will recall the history.  Reconstruction was, as the documentary is entitled, “the second civil war” for Black people coming out of slavery.   So, as the words rang out that we will NOT be dictated to by DC, I stood there proud that so many agree with the stand of the Gullah/Geechee.

Gullah/Geechee Stand Up to #StoptheDrill and #ProtectOurCoast

Gullah/Geechee natives Michael F. Rivers and Robert Brown who are representatives in the South Carolina Legislature came and stood with the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association.  The moment will forever be embossed in my mind and in ourstory of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.  In order to #StoptheDrill and #ProtectOurCoast we took a stand.  We will NOT allow seismic guns and oil to destroy our cultural heritage, our waters, and our Sea Island sand!   We stood for those that can no longer physically march nor stand and we will continue this fight with all that we can.

United were the people that took this freedom journey from our coast to the middle of the state and I will never forget the powerful energy that filled us on that date.   It is now time to get more people to speak through their pens and online.  We have until March 8th to enter comments in opposition to seismic guns and oil drilling one more time.  I pray that folks will write in to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) juss likka we.  We will not give up the fight to protect our homeland nor the sea!   Hunnuh chllun, cum be souljahs een disya armee wid de #GullahGeechee!  Cum unite een disya fight wid we!

by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com)

Queen Quet Speaking Out at #StopTheDrill #ProtectOurCoast Rally

To hear some of the words Queen Quet shared at the rally to #StoptheDrill and #ProtectOurCoast, check out some of the media coverage:

• http://www.wltx.com/video/news/local/hundreds-gather-in-opposition-of-offshore-drilling/101-8007623

• http://www.wistv.com/clip/14124082/busloads-of-oil-drilling-protesters-confront-boem-in-town-hall-event

• https://www.facebook.com/StopOffshoreDrillingintheAtlantic/videos/2116119771957757/

 

After viewing, please get your comments in to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).   You can submit the comments and letters here: https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Comment/  Please cc the letters to the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition at GullGeeCo@aol.com as well. 

 

Rallies to Stop Oil Drilling @GullahGeechee

February 1, 2018

The current US administration is attempting to overturn the the removal of the east coast from oil exploration and drilling.  The Gullah/Geechee Nation is calling on all of our citizens and supporters to stand with us and our environmental partners as we rally to #StoptheDrill and the use of seismic guns off of our coastline!

#StoptheDrill Off the #GullahGeechee Coast

You can come stand with us by:

  1. Submitting a letter to the Bureau of Oceans Energy Management (BOEM) before March 9, 2017.  Go here for details: https://gullahgeecheenation.com/2018/01/08/stopthedrill-gullahgeechee/
  2. Submitting opposition comments herehttps://www.protectourcoastnow.com/?utm_campaign=p-SELC_OCDPAE&utm_content&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=soc
  3. Boarding one of the buses departing South Carolina to head to the rally in Columbia, SC and to the BOEM meetings being held.  The rally at the South Carolina State House will be held at 11 am on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.  That afternoon environmental leaders fighting against this issue will speak at the Doubletree Hotel where the BOEM public comment session will also be held from 3 to 7 pm.
    Queen Quet of the Gullah/Geechee Opposing Oil Drilling

    Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) and Founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition (www.GullahGeechee.net) continues to stand up in opposition to seismic gun use and oil drilling!

    Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) will be one of the speakers of the day.  Sign up here for a FREE ride to Columbia from either Beaufort, Charleston, or Georgetown Counties: http://www.coastalconservationleague.org/offshore-drilling-rally-shuttle-thank/

  4. Boarding the bus leaving the Outer Banks in NC for the rally in Raleigh on February 26, 2018.  To register go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/386612448466773/
  5. Plan to attend the BOEM “open meeting” in Atlanta, GA on Feb. 28 from 3-7pm at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel at One Hartsfield Centre Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30354. (404) 209-9999
  6. Stand up for the amendment to the Florida Constitution which will ban oil drilling forever. on February 19, 2018.  Get more details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/194797641107958/

 

This exploration will not bring life to our coast.  It will only kill.  So, hunnuh need fa stand wid de #GullahGeechee and #StoptheDrill!

Gullah/Geechee Stand Up to #StoptheDrill and #ProtectOurCoast

www.GullahGeechee.net

www.GullahGeecheeNation.com

Reconstruction Era National Monument Request Public Input

August 15, 2017

Reconstruction National Monument Foundation MeetingBeaufort County, SC is the location of the new multi-site Reconstruction Era National Monument.  The US National Park Service is currently putting together their foundation document which will direct how they will manage and interpret the site.  To that end, they have held several public meetings throughout the county and are seeking public comments, please go to https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=571&projectID=73762&documentID=81456 before August 18, 2018 to add your words to this critical part of the process.


Please tune in to the Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio coverage about the Reconstruction Era and the importance of your input in the progress of the Reconstruction Era National Monument:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gullahgeechee/2017/08/14/reconstruction-gullahgeechee-coast-land-legacy-and-justice-environmentally

 

De Wata Need We! Protecting the Waters of the Gullah/Geechee Nation!

August 15, 2017

“De wata bring we and de wata gwine tek we bak” is a well known Gullah/Geechee proverb.  The waters of the Gullah/Geechee Nation are critical to the continuing of the cultural heritage of the people there.  Gullah/Geechees still literally subsist due to harvesting from the sea.  They do all that they can to live in balance with the waterways and want to keep these waterways pristine.  To that end, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association, and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition are supporting the bans on the use of plastic bags which are being put in place in numerous townships on the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coast due to the numerous harms that take place with the sea creatures and the environment when plastic bags get into the oceans and estuaries.

In addition to supporting the plastic bag bands, they are supporting this petition by their partner Oceana to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

https://act.oceana.org/page/12931/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=en&utm_campaign=defense&utm_content=NAT+-+20170814+-+NOAA+Streamlining+Regs+Petition+-+ND+-+SL+Winner&ea.url.id=1007464

Please click the link and sign the petition before August 21st so that ocean protections will remain in place.

Gullah/Geechee Nation Opposes Oil Drilling and Seismic Guns

The Gullah/Geechee Nation also finds itself having to fight against oil exploration, oil drilling, and the use of seismic guns in the Atlantic Ocean once again since the US government is attempting to reopen the coast to this.  We have until August 17, 2017 for comments to be entered with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in opposition to oil exploration including the use of seismic guns and to oil drilling.  We are calling on all of our supporters worldwide to let them know that you stand with the Gullah/Geechee Nation maintaining its cultural heritage on this coast and to that end, you want the Atlantic Coast kept off of the list of locations for oil exploration and drilling to take place.  You can go to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=BOEM-2017-0050-0001 to enter your comments.

Tenki Tenki ta all hunnuh wha gwine stand wid de Gullah/Geechee!  Disya time, de wata need we!

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Tune in to “Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio” to hear more about these petitions and ways to assist in protecting Gullah/Geechee cultural heritage on our coast:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gullahgeechee/2017/08/14/reconstruction-gullahgeechee-coast-land-legacy-and-justice-environmentally

www.gullahgeechee.net

www.gullahgeecheenation.com