The General Assembly of Occupy Oakland endorses and cosponsors the April 20, 2012 demonstration against Chevron Richmond. The demonstration will be held on Friday evening, April 20, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Richmond BART station. We will march to a rally at Richmond Civic Center.
This demonstration adds to the ongoing community activism in Richmond directed at the ways Chevron has been a bad neighbor. Chevron is a perfect example of how the 1% destroys the health and well-being of the 99%. In the case of Richmond, this includes major pollution. Chevron is the largest industrial greenhouse gas polluter in California. And Chevron is investigating using dirtier
crude oil which would create even more pollution. There are periodic bad air alerts in Richmond and the ever-present danger of fires, flares, and explosions.
In addition to pollution, Chevron endangers the community because of its greed. Chevron is attempting to get a refund of over 100 million in taxes it paid in Contra Costa County over a six year period. If Richmond and other governments have to pay this money to Chevron, it will have a devastating impact on services to residents.
Chevron doesn’t need the money. Its profits in 2011 were $27 billion. Chevron is not a job creator for the City of Richmond. Only 6.9% of the plant employees live in the city. Yet Chevron is attempting to control Richmond’s government by pouring vast sums of money into local elections. The mayor of Richmond is in the Green Party and there are two other strong progressives on the city council, but during elections Chevron spends millions opposing them, trying to replace them with politicians sympathetic to the 1%. Yet the progressive mayor and council members who take no corporate money have prevailed because the community is with them.
These are some of the issues that will mobilize us on April 20, 2012. Occupy Oakland will join other sponsors of this march including: Occupy Richmond, Occupy Berkeley, Occupy Earth Day, the West County Toxics Coalition, the Bay Area Sierra Club, and others. In addition to passing this endorsement, hopefully many of us from Occupy Oakland will take BART to Richmond on April 20 to support our neighbors to the north in their struggles with toxic, greedy Chevron.
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The Environmental Justice Committee is requesting official recognition as an Occupy Oakland committee. The goal of the committee is to increase awareness within OO of the environmental justice movement, increase participation by OO activists in environmental work, and bring the resources of OO to support environmental justice activists in the Bay Area. We have begun to work collaboratively to help plan a demonstration against Chevron on April 20. We are working with the Brooms collective and local community gardens. We will help staff a table at Berkeley Earth Day with literature that points out the role of the 1% in destroying our earth and the disproportionate impact of toxic pollution on communities of color and poor communities, locally and around the world. Future collaborations may focus on increasing mass transit and affordable housing and targeting pollution. Membership in the committee is open to anyone interested in participating. We can be reached through the website on occupyoakland.org. We will update our page on the website regularly and respond to emails sent through the website. Of course we will announce our actions at the General Assembly.