it is our duty
It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
― Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography
The painting above is about Occupy Ice/Camp Compasion of 2018 Louisville. I painted the camp on a coal barge, wishing it could just keep moving in advance of the city tearing it down. My thinking somehow shifted from resistance in the form of occupation of a place to resistance in (mobile) existence.
As part of this summer’s intense racial justice offerings pushed out so many ways, I tuned into a talk about climate justice. It made the point that climate change is not screwing people equally but is an urgent issue for the Movement for Black Lives; spaces, properties, neighborhoods are profoundly racialized for reasons beyond the accomplishment of segregation per se… reasons like rising water levels. And people are organizing around this in some coastal cities… but here in Louisville we have this big old river. Should we be organizing too?
So I took a look at the 1937 flood map of Louisville, and the redlining map. Another “hundred year flood” like 1937 is, I don’t know, potentially happening this very summer? Because of climate change.
Here is the heat island map… heat island impacts are experienced already right now, though not so severe as what we can expect with climate change.
So I asked someone who knows about floodwater and they said Louisville direly needs the Army Corps of Engineers to come assess our flood basin and find out just how ready we are/n’t for this 1937 level of flood (or worse) that could be here who knows but this summer or next.
I’m thinking about what it will cost to update those flood protections, and the scale of reparations that may be needed to resettle Black people in Louisville to safer ground.