Now is a Moment for Sharing Grief and Gratitude

Thanksgiving evokes complicated feelings in me, as it has since my mom took me to the Annual Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island as a child. Thousands of Indigenous people and supporters gather every year at dawn on the fourth Thursday in November to commemorate the pivotal 1969-1971 occupation of the island by members of the American Indian Movement, and to speak and pray for justice for Indigenous communities. In retrospect, observing this ceremony and learning this history was one of a handful of key experiences that sparked my love of direct action and my mistrust of predominant narratives. 

This is the year to sit with the hard truths. To hold the grief along with the gratitude — not as opposite emotions, but instead as potent messages that can guide us toward a different future. As we reflect on the genocide perpetuated by European colonizers against Indigenous people, let us honor the legacy, resilience and righteous leadership of Indigenous people in the US and around the world. Please take time to read about the #LandBack movement and the centrality of Indigenous rights and sovereignty to climate action.

In years past when I have gathered with my family and our closest friends, we remind each other of the love and community we share. This celebration of gratitude has always been my favorite, but this year, many like me may find it even harder to feel grateful. 

The events of 2020 have pushed our country to the breaking point; the official global death toll is 1.4 million but the real toll is likely much higher. In the U.S. millions of people are out of work, facing eviction or already on the streets because our system is broken. The pain and grief is overwhelming.

Even after a partial electoral victory, our country appears to be entering another period of political gridlock, and the stakes are as high as imaginable. One side is fighting to continue feeding the extractive machine of late stage capitalism, exploiting humans and the living world. The other side lacks institutional power, but is a powerful and growing movement, fighting for justice and the freedom to live a decent life with dignity on a habitable planet

The cascading impacts of the climate and biodiversity emergency call us to awaken — to choose a side and refuse to look away from the struggle. 

And so we dig deep. Because the people on this email list, our communities, and the worldwide movement are inherently driven by love and a vision for a new way, a better world. 

Today and during this challenging time, I am grateful for the awakening and for the distributed leadership of the people and our interlocking movements, working tirelessly for justice. I am grateful for the deep listening of many who say they want to make a better world, and for every small act we all do every day to help create it. 

I am grateful for the little ones and the elders. For the trees and the birds. Grateful that we are all connected and our fate is shared during this brief time we have together. And for the infinite moments of care and solidarity that weave together to make our world. 

There is a tremendous amount of work yet to be done. But it’s moments like this that move us forward. Toward justice. Toward peace. And I am inordinately grateful to share these moments with the team of The Climate Mobilization and with all of you. 

In solidarity,

Matt Renner
Executive Director, The Climate Mobilization

P.S. Because of the pandemic, this year’s Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering is much smaller and will be livestreamed on Thursday morning; visit the International Indian Treaty Council website for more information.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Kristen Cashmore

Senior Director
Kristen brings more than 25 years of social justice advocacy to Climate Mobilization. Her previous positions at human rights, public health, environmental justice, and clean energy organizations inform her work with the variety of stakeholders she is engaging with to bring an accelerated response to the climate emergency. Kristen earned a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley, where she was a teaching assistant in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.

Malik Russell

Communications Director

Malik leads Climate Mobilization’s press and communications strategy. He formerly served as Communications Director for the NAACP. He is a journalist, author, community-based educator, and former lecturer in the Department of Strategic Communications at Morgan State University. The former editor of the Washington Afro-American newspaper, he has worked as a journalist in the Black Press for over two decades.He has a BA in American history from Brandeis University and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College in New York, where he was selected as a National Urban Fellow.

Ezra Silk

Deputy Director

Ezra is co-founder of The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. He authored The Climate Mobilization’s Victory Plan, an influential exploration of how the federal government can organize and implement a mobilization to save civilization from the Climate Emergency and ecological crisis. This document directly shaped the demands of the Extinction Rebellion movement and the Green New Deal framework. Ezra was also a lead author of the climate emergency declaration resolution introduced in Congress in July 2019. A former newspaper reporter, Ezra has a BA in history from Wesleyan University.

Matt Renner

Executive Director of The Climate Mobilization

Matt has worked as a nonprofit executive in clean energy, climate policy, and journalism for over a decade, focusing on the near-term social and economic impacts of climate change. He leads organizational expansion and works closely with the communications and organizing teams. Matt earned a BA in political science from UC Berkeley, where he was deeply inspired by the work of Professor George Lakoff.

Laura Berry

Research & Policy Director

Laura brings over a decade of experience to Climate Mobilization in climate advocacy, organizing, research, and policy. She has worked on climate, environmental, and sustainability issues from local to global scales with organizations including the Stockholm Environment Institute, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and 350.org. She is passionate about deepening democratic engagement in response to the Climate Emergency. Laura has a BA in human ecology from College of the Atlantic and an MSc in global environment, politics, and society from the University of Edinburgh.

Rebecca Harris

Organizing Director

Rebecca leads Climate Mobilization organizing efforts. Along with a history of social movement organizing, Rebecca he has worked as a journalist covering equity in Chicago public schools. Most recently, Rebecca worked as Development and Communications Manager at Latino Union of Chicago, an immigrants’ and workers’ rights organization. She is a 2017 graduate of the Reframe Mentorship in strategic communications and a 2019 participant in the Anne Braden Organizer Training Program.

Marina Mails

Operations and Community Manager
Marina manages operations and volunteers for both The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. She brings broad experience working in non-profit organizations, health care settings, and running her own private counseling practice. Before joining Climate Mobilization, Marina maintained a practice focusing exclusively on climate-related emotional coping, helping people make bold choices for lifestyle and professional change in response to the Climate Emergency. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Wake Forest University and a Masters in Counseling from UNC Greensboro.

Sydney Ghazarian

Digital Organizer
Sydney leads digital strategy for The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization project. She is also a founder of National Democratic Socialists of America Ecosocialist Working Group and worked to establish climate as a primary focus of the American Left. Sydney has previously worked in journalism and in academic research. Sydney received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California San Diego.

Cris Lagunas

Strategy Director

Cris is helping to grow the Climate Emergency Movement by supporting creative campaigns and extending the reach of the movement’s message. Cris is a co-founder of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an organization dedicated to using direct action tactics to expose, challenge and dismantle the immigration detention system.Cris got his start in organizing when he was 15 years old, getting involved in a local group of fellow undocumented youth.

Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD

Founder and Board President

Margaret is the founder of The Climate Mobilization (TCM) and Climate Mobilization Project (CMP) and helped catalyze a worldwide climate emergency movement through her work with both organizations. Margaret now serves as Climate Awakening Program Director. She is the author of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth (New Society Publishers, April 2020) and several influential essays. She is also a member of the Climate Emergency Fund’s Advisory Board. Margaret earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Though she loved being a therapist, Margaret felt called to apply her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving the Climate Emergency.

AriDy Nox

Organizational Development and Engagement Manager
AriDy brings creativity, enthusiasm and a tremendous capacity for organization to her/their role, assisting the executive director with travel, communication and fundraising. AriDy Nox is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist. They have served as a national representative for The Young Women of Color Leadership Council, the Millennials of Color Leadership Bureau, and held writing positions with Advocates for Youth and RH Reality Check. She has worked as an administrative and executive assistant for a myriad of organizations including the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU, the Youth Engagement Fund and the Community Resource Exchange.