What's Up?

I grew up in a family and community full of dreamers and imaginers. I have worked with – and in – communities of folks imagining a world of equity and equality, of justice and compassion, and a system for living where we respect and care for our Mother Earth. She gives us all we need, and more, to sustain ourselves and care for our fellow beings.

I believe we are now in a period of re-creation. (“Re-create” is one of the “4R’s” that guide the NCCJC’s approach to climate justice organizing. Those who focus on this “R” invent and put in place new ways of doing and being and create just institutions, forms of leadership and community organization that take the place of broken cultural forms). The Covid-19 pandemic is revealing the inequities, discrepancies, and errors of the current system in which we live that separates humans from our environment and our Mother and encourages a spirit of disrespect and exclusion. We cannot separate from our Mother or harness her attributes for the gain of few in the midst of the suffering of many. Refocusing on love and respect for our Mother is the key to the re-creation of a just transition we so desperately need to survive.

I notice re-creation all around me. It’s neighbors, friends, and family calling, texting, and videoconferencing with each other to celebrate life events. It’s people in environmentally impacted communities organizing themselves in the name of health and rights as the EPA looks the other way. It’s good-hearted folks advocating for worker’s rights and getting funds to community members that have lost income. It’s people still coming to check that dear ones have what they need to eat daily and more: it’s groups of neighbors gathering food and holding food drives to support frontline communities in this pandemic. (Durham Mutual Aid, in my neighborhood, is one example of so many).

This is direct and satisfying evidence that we can support other humans with the same love and generosity, justice and care with which we treat our Mother. And from this we can create a new system.

With care,


Ayo Wilson is a member of the NCCJC Leadership Team.

Updated: May 22, 2020

At NC Climate Justice Collective events, we often lead this call and response chant we learned from Beautiful Chorus:

The people of the world are gathering

Together we’re creating

A world unafraid of feeling

We’re initiating healing

Rise up, rise up, rise up

We’re gonna rise up, rise up, rise up

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing all of us to feel our shared humanity, so vivid now in our collective vulnerability to the virus. Yet it is also forcing us to deepen our awareness of the exploitative socio-economic system we live in, made evident in how the virus impacts some communities much harder than others.

We at NCCJC are leaning into our “4R’s” framework (Reform, Resist, Re-imagine, Re-create) to learn, plan and respond. We feel moved to share this perspective to support our movement in uncovering the opportunity for lasting social transformation inside of this crisis.

As we re-order every aspect of our daily lives, a new space to Re-imagine a just and life-sustaining world is opening. Through our compassion for all those who are suffering, and by reflecting on what matters most to us, we are re-imagining what constitutes “the good life.”

For some South American indigenous peoples, the notion of “the good life” is expressed through the concept of Buen Vivir which means “we can live well without living better at the expense of others. Workers, community residents, women and Indigenous Peoples around the world have a fundamental human right to clean, healthy and adequate air, water, land, food, education, and shelter. We must have just relationships with each other and with the natural world, of which we are a part. The rights of peoples, communities and nature must supersede the rights of the individual.”

We’re re-imagining how to be in community as human beings rather than human doings, setting aside the conditioning of consumerism and reaching for something more meaningful. We affirm it is healing and necessary to feel deeply what is happening in this moment…and to find gratitude for our interdependence. To do both, we reach for the gifts of artists, embracing the creative cultural work that is an essential aspect of Re-imagining. Here’s a playlist that has helped us sing and cry, processing catastrophic loss while holding firm to the love that abides.

Radical projects of community care are strengthening and taking new forms. We are witnessing a vast array of mutual aid efforts, which we see as central and constitutional of the life-affirming economy we must cultivate. We’ve been reflecting on how to build the Solidarity Economy, which gives us a path to Re-create new economic models that move from temporary mutual aid to permanent cooperative structures.

And, of course, we must leverage all the resources of the current system through engaging in policy Reform. We must win the People’s Bailout, a call for the U.S. Congress to “protect workers and communities, not corporate executives,” in order to provide for a short and long-term Just Recovery.

Finally, we’re called in this moment to get ever more creative about our tactics to Resist structural oppression. Though we can’t gather in person now for protests or direct actions, we can withdraw our consent from any institutions that perpetuate suffering rather than ease it. This is the time for mass non-cooperation through general strikes, rent strikes, and boycotts of media outlets that spread misinformation, allow hate speech, or support fear-mongering.

We affirm that we are unafraid to feel and our collective courage enables us to keep on Reforming, Resisting, Re-imagining, and Re-creating. Let us rise up, rise up, RISE UP!

With care and hope,

Jodi Lasseter and Connie Leeper

NCCJC Co-Conveners and members of the Collective's Leadership Team

Dear friends,

As we move into 2020, we revisit this scene from last year’s Good Fire Roadshow to remind us that a thriving, inclusive, life-sustaining world is possible. Together, we can extinguish the ‘bad fire’ – all the harm to people and our planet caused by burning fossil fuels. We at the NC Climate Justice Collective invite you to keep this image in your heart and imagination, because that’s how we’ll make it real. If we’re bold enough to envision it – and take collective action to create it – we know we can bring this better world into being.

We’re expanding our offerings this year, and a stronger web presence is an important part of that. So we’re thrilled to let you know that we have a new website that just went live today! You’ll find more information about our approach and new program branches as well as photos from our state-wide Summits, our cultural work across the region, workshops and trainings, a new blog and an “in the news” section. Please share widely!

We also want to let you know that we are not convening the NC Climate Justice Summit this year as we move into a bi-annual schedule. In 2020, we’re going deeper into regional work through our Resilience Hubs and providing intensive training for impacted communities.

Everyone has a vital contribution to make in shifting our culture toward the Good Fire. We’re so grateful for all the ways you’ve been engaged with the NC Climate Justice Collective… and hope you’ll get even more involved now. Check out some opportunities here. Follow us on Facebook here.

Please reach out to say hello and share your experiences with us anytime!

With deep respect, appreciation and solidarity,

NC Climate Justice Collective Leadership Team

Elijah Brunson

Donna Chavis

Alecia Gaines

Liz Kazal

Gregg Lasseter

Jodi Lasseter

Connie Leeper

Mark Ortiz

Briana Steele

Bevelyn Ukah

Ayo Wilson

Omari Wilson