Why the People of the Gulf Coast Marched This Week in New Orleans

by Dario Parra

August 25, 2016

On Saturday, Greenpeace joined hundreds of marchers in New Orleans calling for a just and sustainable future for communities of the Gulf South.

People from across the Gulf South organized this intersectional march — with folks fighting for climate justice, Black Lives Matter, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, and economic justice — to tell the world that the Gulf will no longer be a sacrifice zone.

Many people in attendance came from communities that were still underwater after last week’s historic flooding in Lousiana — including Cherri Foytlin, one of the event’s organizers and the state director of BOLD LouisianaCherri’s daughter Erin Foytlin kicked off the march with a moment of silence for the flood victims.

Erin Foytlin speaks

Erin Foytlin speaks to kick off Gulf Day of Interdependence March.

“It may seem like a small thing to do but it’s going to make a big difference.”

Erin Foytlin

With banners waving — reading “Black Lives Matter,” “To change everything, we need everyone,” “Migración sin miedo (Fearless Migration),” “Indigenous Rising,” “Love is liberation,” and more — and music by the Hot 8 Brass Band, the march began.

At the end of the march, Kandi Mossett — who came all the way from the Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota, where Indigenous activists and allies are standing up against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline — joined Cherri in a ceremony honoring the water and bringing solidarity between their movements.

Kandi Mossett from the Sacred Stone Camp leads ceremony to close march

Kandi Mossett from the Sacred Stone Camp leads ceremony to close march.

On Tuesday, activists delivered flood debris and a petition to The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM)’s office demanding that Wednesday’s offshore drilling lease sale be cancelled. They demanded to get a response from President Obama who was touring the flood damage in nearby Baton Rouge, and were ultimately arrested.

Meanwhile in Baton Rouge, a crew of 20 folks spent the day gutting a home in North Baton Rouge that was damaged due to flooding.

The action continued on Wednesday as BOEM moved forward with its first online lease sale despite the demands from community members to cancel it. Activists raised a banner outside the Superdome where the sale was being webcast, and demanded to speak with BOEM Director Abigail Hopper who was inside.

The determination from Gulf coast residents is only growing following the “Another Gulf is Possible” week of action. As Cherri Foytlin said today outside the Superdome, “We need just transition in Gulf Coast. I’m here to welcome it, and my kids will be here to build it.”

Dario Parra

By Dario Parra

Dario Parra is a Social Media Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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