Spinal Column October 2021

Last week was one of the busiest in Backbone's 18 year history:

  • Monday we led multi-city banner actions for Indigenous People's Day, calling on our elected officials to Stand with Tribes and Re-Wild the Snake.
  • Laura, who manages our warehouse, built several oversize banners that Bill took to Michigan to support a rally for justice and redemption of incarcerated people.

  • The next day Bill traveled to DC to deliver copies of Solutionary Rail's letter to transportation policyleaders. This is a pivotal moment for Solutionary Rail and a big leap toward putting rail at the gravitational center of solving problems.

  • Over the weekend Backbone delivered a training in creative tactics in New York State, teaching light projection, bannering and media-genic messaging and actions.

  • Folks in DC deployed our "Declare a Climate Emergency" banner for several days in front of the White House and Capitol. (It even made it onto Monday's DemocracyNow! show. Special thanks to artist extraordinaire Alessandra Mondolfi who had the original vision of this banner and allowed our volunteers to replicate her hand sewn felt artwork in 2019.)

WHEW! Below is an update on these actions and others over the last few weeks - as well as ways you can plug into this work. This would also be an AWESOME moment to join our Lumbar Club to support our ever impactful work. 

Are you interested in getting involved in creative actions? Join our monthly Solidarity Brigade call, happening next Tuesday evening.  CLICK for info and to RSVP.

Here's a Quick Round Up of News Highlights and Some of the Creative Actions we've Supported in the Last 6 Weeks:

We are taking on the Wall Street Railroads: Hopefully you received our emails this week about the Solutionary Rail sign on letter to the Surface Transportation Board. 35 organizations and over 100 activists, community leaders, and issue experts joined us in saying thank you to STB Chairman Martin Oberman, and encouraging him to continue his boldness in standing up to the Wall Street railroads. We are asking SR fans to help leverage this pivotal moment by posting on social media, writing Letters to the Editor, contacting elected officials. More info and specifics on taking action is HERE.

Bannering for a Free and Restored Snake River, on World Rivers Day (9/26) and Indigenous Peoples Day (10/11): Salmon and orca loving people across the Pacific Northwest came out to banner on World Rivers Day, with a message for Senator Murray and Governor Inslee that it is urgent that they restore the Lower Snake River by breaching (removing the earthen berms on the sides) the four dams. The Snake River is the #1 Most Endangered River in the US; restoring it from what it currently is - a series of slackwater reservoirs - back to a flowing and wild river that supports wild salmon would be the most significant river restoration project in the world. Let's get this done!  Write to your elected officials in support of dam removal, wild salmon, tribal sovereignty, orca and free flowing rivers.

Two weeks later several crews were out again on the streets, in solidarity with tribes, who have overwhelmingly called for dam breaching on the Lower Snake River. (You can help support their Call to Action at the Nez Perce/ATNI SalmonOrcaProject website and the Umatilla Youth Petition.)

We'll continue showing up for dam breaching, wild salmon and orca, and tribal sovereignty, until those dams are removed.  If you can join us for an upcoming action, please shoot an email to [email protected].

Projection celebrating 10 Year Anniversary of Occupy: Backbone projectionists in LA helped mark the 10 year anniversary of actions by activists and organizations that came together to organize the October2011 Movement, styled on the occupations of space that were occurring during the Arab Spring and in capitals across the United States. That movement merged with the Occupy Movement. A dive into this history and how it shaped the activism that followed can be heard in this interview with Backbone's own Bill Moyer in the Clearing the Fog Podcast, hosted by Margaret Flowers.


Free The Children Action outside Fort Bliss, where inside over 2,000 migrant children remain detained by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Because the camp is on a military base, it is shrouded in secrecy, with no access by the public or press. Backbone shipped LED signs and props to Witness at the Border, to help amplify their urgent message of immigration rights, human dignity, and shutting down this youth detention center.

Learn more about what's happening and what you can do to stop this travesty at a webinar, Wednesday Nov 3rd. Sign up HERE for "Unaccompanied Minors: Changing the Narrative & Taking Action".

Pennsylvania projections in support of the Build Back Better Plan: Our team projected in three cities in Pennsylvania last month, in support of the Build Back Better Infrastructure Plan. Shout out to Phil for deploying his excellent skills, to advocate for a better future for all.

End Michigan's Secret Death Row - Rally in Michigan: Last week, outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, a coalition of organizations, community members, and activists rallied at Michigan's state capitol to advocate for the release of incarcerated people serving long-term to life sentences in prison and to support their families. Watch a great video with highlights at www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwHlidQmdN4

Hyper Local Organizing: Locally, we helped with the Fix It Cafe last weekend and are keeping the Vashon Island Time Exchange going! If you'd like info about starting a time bank in your community, contact us.  Learn more about Repair Cafes, including how to set one up in your community HERE. We've also been exploring ways to be good allies of the Puyallup Tribe. Backbone Campaign is located on the ancestral homelands of the sx̌ʷəbabs (Swub Áhbsh) People and their descendants in the Puyallup Tribe. A small group of us is meeting to explore Land Access and to strengthen relationships between current Vashon Island residents and members of the Puyallup Tribe. 

Coming Up

Dandelion Insurrection Book Group: It's not too late to join our upcoming (sliding scale) Bookgroup with Rivera Sun, exploring the novel Dandelion Insurrection.  More info HERE

30-year Anniversary of First Snake River Salmon ESA Listing: Backbone is helping to plan this Anniversary event, Saturday November 20th.  For background on the listing click HERE. More details on regional actions to come.

United Nations Conference of the Parties (UN COP26) - Backbone helped raise the funds for Jacob Johns, indigenous activist and Backbone CSO, to attend COP26 in Scotland.  Jacob will be part of the negotiating team, making presentations, and doing light projection at night!  Stay tuned for pictures and reports from the frontlines of governments debating our future and the Code Red for Humanity.

Pitch In (please) if you can: If this work is inspiring to you and if you think Backbone is making an impact, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. Either donate online HERE or send in a check to Backbone Campaign, PO Box 278, Vashon WA 98070. Donations can also be designated for Solutionary Rail by clicking HERE. Thank you.

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