Environment Magazine

Deep Roots United Front Introduce Themselves

Posted on the 13 November 2013 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal

9881_330390827098259_1341879546_nby Jess Garraway / Deep Roots United Front

There are many stories of resistance, from the communities most impacted by colonization, poverty, militarism and cultural genocide. Struggles are intensifying against liquor stores owners of White Clay, Nebraska, to call out the liquid genocide that has been perpetuated against the Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation for over 100 years. In Memphis, people have marched against the KKK to be faced with 600 militarized Memphis Police Department cops responsible for killing over 20 people, in a short span of only 13 months. Meanwhile, Moccasins on the Ground trainings, led by indigenous communities, bring people together from all directions, to learn practical skills in civil disobedience, as they prepare for the passage of the northern half of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

This past July, in Utah, people came together to shut down the first commercial tar sands mining operation in the US. This destructive project poses to poison the water for the 36 million people living downstream and to countless non-human communities. This massive direct action cost the company (US Oil Sands) 13% in stock prices that day. Meanwhile, in NYC, the Occupy Sandy network created alternative channels of distribution of resources during a time of crises for survival. It challenged the power dynamics and the role of private and public property through community engagement.

Bonds forged and experience gained in these struggles laid the groundwork that was to become Deep Roots United Front. Reflected in our mission statement is both our experience being on the front-lines and our commitment to those struggles:


“As people of color we recognize that the lethal dominant culture is waging war on all life, destroying cultures, traditions, stories, and communities deeply rooted in the Earth.  Through the colonization of our minds, bodies, and spirits, we have continuously been stripped of our lands and inflicted with violence and poverty.

Our liberation will not come through politicians, political parties, or governments.  No one will come and rescue us.We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.Holding the wisdom of our ancestors, our people have survived centuries of oppression through daily acts of resistance. Now is the time to reclaim those stories. Time to end the conflicts that plague our communities, and join together in mutual struggle for liberation.

We will take action to protect the land and her children.  We will support and participate in creating survival programs to increase the resilience and autonomy of our communities. For a United Front! Deeds not Words!”

The forming of this organization and our declaration of who we are and what we stand for has been a long time coming. Many of have spent much of our time in white dominated and controlled leftist and environmental movements, and had at some point felt mounting frustrations with what we experienced and saw as a lack of prioritizing the needs and struggles of impacted communities of color. Issues of poverty, police brutality, immigration, chemical warfare, and prison incarceration were seen as virtually disconnected from the fight for and protection of the land. However all too often, it is our communities designated as sacrifice zones for industrial capitalist profits:

    • More than 72% of African Americans live in counties that violate federal air pollution standards and black children have a 500% higher death rate from asthma compared to White children.
    • 66% of Hispanics live in areas that do not meet the federal government’s air quality standard compared to 58% of whites. Latino children are 60% more at risk than white children to have asthma attacks and Latino’s are three times as likely as whites to die from asthma. (http://www.momscleanairforce.org/social-justice-q-a/)
    • According to the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Report by the United Nations, more than half of Indigenous adults over the age of 35 have Type 2 Diabetes, with numbers predicted to rise. (Many studies have been published showing the connection between Persistent Organic Pollutants and higher rates of the Diabetes. http://www.indigenousfoodsystems.org/content/pollution-diabetes-and-indigenous-people). According to an Associated Press analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11 percent of all power plants operate within 20 miles of reservation land. Many of those 51 energy production sites impact roughly 48 tribes living on 50 reservations (http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/07/04/environment/tribes-utilities).

We are impoverished, imprisoned, threatened with deportation and terrorized by police in order to monopolize access to and control of the land. The result of their profits is the poisoning of our communities, with riches for the few meaning death for many of us. White dominated movements and actions (or lack thereof) show a failure to realize the dire situation faced by those on the front-lines of this ongoing war. While debates about political theory and horizontal hostility engulf the left, communities of color and indigenous people are dying daily to police killings, pollution, liquid genocide, etc. Three women a day in the US are killed by an intimate partner and a woman is raped every 2 minutes. The air and water become more polluted and poisoned, while 200 species go extinct every day. This culture is one of death and will not stop until all life is extinguished from this earth.

As we see it, it is going to take organized resistance not only within but with other marginalized communities Our objective is to create something that can foster the kind of action and survival programs needed to create a successful resistance: a truly autonomous POC front committed to front line struggles in communities to ensure their and the land’s survival.

A phrase we use often stand by is “Deeds Not Words”. Many people talk a good deal about resistance and can paint beautiful, inspiring imagery of it with their words so well that for many it feels real. However, rhetoric does not stop a pipeline from bursting and destroying the water. Agreeing on the immorality and existence of police terrorism isn’t going to stop the policeman’s bullet from taking another person’s life. Ideas need to be put into practice and made reality for them to have meaning in the real, material world.

Are you willing to put your body on the line in defense of those you love and to stand with communities near and far? This is a call to the front lines, to the police barricades, to the warrior line. There is a war being waged by those whose greedy appetite cannot be fulfilled. We need soldiers! We need them now! Because we’re fighting back! For a United Front, Deeds Not Words!

“Jessica Garraway is 22 years old and organizing and reporting on matters of wealth disparity, racism, lgbt issues, women’s rights, and the environment have been major focuses for her activist work over the last seven years. She is a founding member of Deep Roots United front as well as an active member in Black Autonomy Federation, an organization which strives to promote class based grassroots anti-authoritarian struggle, self- determination for the Black Community & Autonomy and Liberation for the oppressed world.

Check out her blog to learn more: deeprootsjess.wordpress.com

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