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Do Something Now! Assert your Community Rights!

Water Spirit, Water Is Life! ARTivism 2019, Charlottesville, VA, Downtown Mall, Jefferson Theatre rally VS the Atlantic Coast Pipeline CLICK ON THE ABOVE IMAGE TO VIEW THE VIDEO: NCRN: Do Something Now! Assert Your Community Rights! Feb. 23, 2023

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” ~ James Baldwin As we awaken to our complex past, can we take lessons from both the sordid and the enlightened history, to inform our evolving understanding of what is right and good for our communities? As we turn to face the colossal disasters before us, can we leverage the needed paradigm shift that will help us see a new way forward?

We are so controlled and boxed in by rules and regulations created to protect wealth and corporate power that we have abdicated our rightful place at the decision-making table. This is due in large part because we’ve forgotten that the table is, in fact, ours. Can we co-create the kind of world we want to live in?

We engaged in lively conversation on February 23rd with our guests, Ben Price and Tish O’Dell, Community Organizers with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), and discussed practical methods and necessary conversations to have with others in your community in the interest of People and Nature over Profits and Corporate Domination!

Tish O’Dell - For more than 10 years, Tish has been involved in community rights and Rights of Nature work starting in her own community of Broadview Heights, Ohio, which led to the adoption of Ohio’s first Home Rule charter amendment creating a Community Bill of Rights banning fracking and recognizing Rights of Nature.

Ben Price - Ben’s work has included assisting the first community on settler colonial-controlled land on Earth to recognize legal rights for ecosystems (Tamaqua, PA, 2006) and with the City Council of Pittsburgh to adopt a Community Bill of Rights banning fracking, directly challenging state preemption of local control over oil and gas corporations and recognizing Rights of Nature.

For more information about CELDF, Tish and Ben, visit the website.

The National Community Rights Network (NCRN), established in 2014, is a central resource for advancing a movement for local self-government through community rights. Rights-based organizing empowers communities to elevate the rights of people and nature over illegitimate corporate rights that impede local and direct democracy. There are currently 6 states with representatives on the NCRN Board: Oregon, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Virginia.


CELDF Community Rights Page:

CELDF Fast Fact Fridays:

CELDF's "Wouldn't You Say": In simplest terms, our mantra at CELDF has been that community self-determination and Community Rights are best achieved when those who are affected directly by governing decisions are the ones who make them. Sounds reasonable, wouldn’t you say? By Ben Price

Tumbled by the surf: Figuring out which wave to ride next for recognizing rights: We must think about our history- the Revolutionaries were proposing an alternative to being a colony of England, abolitionists were fighting for an alternative to slavery, the suffragists for an alternative to patriarchy and on and on. By Kai Huscke, Tish O’Dell, and Chad Nicholson

Episode One: The Hill We Choose

(Grant Township, Pennsylvania)

In 2015, Grant voters adopted a new rights-based Home Rule Charter – a local constitution – and reinstating a court-overturned ban on injecting frack waste into the same ground from which they draw drinking water. In 2016, in a first-in-the-world action, the Township passed a law legalizing nonviolent direct action to protect the community from being poisoned if the courts again stripped them of their democratically enacted local law.

From Doug Darrell’s letter to the editor (LTE); NHCRN:

When are we going to give up on the state-governing mentality of "do as we say, not as we do"? Can we look into ourselves individually and be willing to give up materially all that wastes, destroys, pollutes and that degrades the quality of health, safety and welfare for the people and the places we live?

League of Women Voters, Virginia an excellent look at Dillon's Rule and Home Rule; a 2004 study

Local Government Autonomy and the Dillon Rule in Virginia blog - an interesting look into context - for example, removal of confederate statues.


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