Zarna Joshi is a well-known community organizer in the Pacific Northwest region. She has been a climate and social justice activist since she was a teenager. Due to her Indian heritage and life experience, she has witnessed and felt deeply environmental and social problems. As an eighteen-year-old student climate activist in 2000, she protested at The Hague during the COP6 when President George W. Bush’s delegates walked out and the talks collapsed. She realized then that we couldn’t wait for politicians to fix the climate crisis. In the years since, she has worked as a writer and activist to inspire a change of values within the public.
In 2013, she signed the Pledge of Resistance against the Keystone XL Pipeline. She became deeply involved in housing justice, as the foreclosure crisis and she campaigned to highlight the corruption of the banking system. She also became part of Rising Tide Seattle blockades against oil and coal trains, including the Delta 5 action that led to the ground-breaking Delta 5 trial where “Necessity Defense” was employed - the first time this defense has ever been used for a climate case in US history. She was also an organizer in the ShellNo campaign to defend the Arctic from Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill there for oil. Watch her interview on Democracy Now!
Personal statement from Zarna Joshi on March 10th 2016:
I’ve been working for change in many parts of the world and I’m so grateful for the support of my family and friends that allowed me to do this work. Seattle, in particular, has been an incredible place of community and friendship. I look forward to the adventure of being a CSO and being able to keep my full-time commitment and focus on climate justice.
I feel that the work Backbone Campaign does as artful activists and grassroots supporters is very important. I trained with them as a kayaktivist and as a result led one of the kayaktivist teams at the Festival of Resistance on May 16th. At the Localize This Action Camp I was with so many activists from around the country who worked together to perform an action to confront racism called “the Elephant In the Room.” I’ve collaborated with Backbone Campaign in many different ways and as a CSO I look forward to continuing this collaboration while being an autonomous change agent.
With community support, I can commit myself full-time to this work of climate justice, social justice, and the defense of our fragile eco-system. And by supporting me, our community will also help leverage the concept of the CSO program, so that other skilled organizers around the region and the country can also become CSOs and keep working on the crucial and urgent issues of our time. Please do donate. Thank you so much!
Vande Mataram = I Bow to My Mother
If you’d like to support Zarna’s work as a CSO, you can contribute here (monthly contributions are especially helpful as they create a sustaining base of support). As a donor, you will receive a receipt at the end of the year that you will be able to use for tax purposes (Backbone is a tax-deductible organization). Zarna will send you a quarterly report of what she’s been up to and what she’s accomplished.
By working through Backbone's CSO program contributions toward Zarna's autonomous CSO efforts are tax-deductible.
Support Zarna by donating below:
Projects Zarna is working on:
Women of Color Speak Out: Zarna co-founded this group during the height of ShellNo to elevate the voices of marginalized people, particularly women of color. In their Town Hall event, Women of Color Speak Out spoke from their own unique personal stories of struggle against the oppressive systems of capitalism, colonialism, racism, and patriarchy. They are so popular they are invited to all kinds of diverse places, from colleges/schools to spiritual conferences to political assemblies. Women of Color Speak Out are inspiring people of all backgrounds to get involved in the climate movement.
Zarna's Responds (4 part Video Series): Zarna has been the victim of sexist racist attacks for her work in racial and gender justice. As a result, she has received rape threats, death threats, and has been stalked for over 2 months. To confront the systemic problem that leads to such violence being enacted against women, she has created a series of videos to explain exactly how patriarchy works and how it keeps women, people of color, and marginalized people down. The videos are available on heryoutube channel.
Evicted: How the Banks Colonized US - Documentary: Zarna is working with a team to produce a documentary exploring the consequences of the banking crash of 2008. They will reveal stories of eviction, homelessness, displacement, gentrification, and racism, while also revealing stories of resistance, community, and hope and discussing ideas of how to change the system.
Radically Sustainable Building: Zarna works to build a sustainable future by working with Indigenous peoples and people of color to increase awareness of radically sustainable building methods that eliminate the need for fossil fuels in our homes.
Activist Cookbook: Zarna is working on a plant-based cookbook that will teach vegan cooking while also teaching how to organize direct action. This will introduce new people to the movement through a creative and fun medium. The book will contain lots of amusing anecdotes from past campaigns, stories about food from around the world, and how plant-based diets are better for the environment, climate, and social justice.