Spinal Column: August 20, 2019

Backbone has been honored to be part of several actions this summer, to take a stand against the illegal persecution of humans seeking asylum in the US.  

  • Lights for Liberty Action

Backbone Solidarity Brigade members shone lights in 12 cities last month, to light up our demands: shut down the for-profit prisons that are holding immigrants; stop the criminalization of migration; abolish ICE. 

  • Migration is Beautiful

  • Backbone volunteers have spent the summer creating 19 monarch butterflies, to show our support of immigrants, border crossers, and climate refugees (as well as pollinators!) Thanks to Wynne Mentink for designing the prop, and to Laura for facilitating the many art builds it took to create the beautiful flock.

  • End gun violence and white supremacy

Last year, during the 2018 NRA convention, Backbone projectionists lit up buildings, including the Dallas Convention Center itself, with messages such as "NRA Enables Domestic Terrorists."  (In case you missed it, check out this rocking video of that national action.) Today, we are mobilizing our Solidarity Brigade to once again shine lights across the country to stand up to the NRA's complicity in gun violence, the connection to white supremacy and misogyny, and the fierce love with which we must lead to overcome the growing hate that is spreading in this country.  

Climate Strike - #FridaysforFuture

On September 20th, people in over 150 countries across the globe will take action against climate disruption by participating in the youth-led climate strike. Get more info HERE. Backbone is helping to get the word out by organizing light projections in several US cities, with messages like "Support the Youth Climate Strike." Phil just trained a new team of youth in Philadelphia.  If you want to get tooled up and trained in the unique tactic of light projection, let us know! If you already know how to project and either have a light or can rent one and you want GOBOs for the Climate Strike, shoot us an email this week, and we'll get some to you!

Backbone Awards Dinner: Celebrating Heroes & Solutions - September 28th, Seattle

Get your ticket today to what will be an incredible evening - Backbone Awards presented to US Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson for their courageous leadership, as well as awards to 3 relentless activists fighting for the orca, the immigrant children, and for a just future. The evening will feature a plant-based meal crafted by Tom Douglas's chefs, incredible music and entertainment, a silent auction, beautiful props, and inspiration!

Only 100 total tickets are available, and they are going fast.  Purchase yours today - a table of 8 for $600, a half table for $300, or individual tickets for $75/person.  (Ticket includes all food, drink, entertainment.) It all happens at the Palace Ballroom in Belltown, Seattle.

To Co-Sponsor the event or to donate a Silent Auction Item, contact Amy.

Solutionary Rail

Our summer focus for Solutionary Rail has been Outreach - to policymakers, newspapers and the general public. We are grateful to Winona LaDuke who wrote an op ed, the New Iron Horse, about her support for Solutionary Rail.  Will you write a Letter to the Editor about Solutionary Rail?  Check out the toolkit for talking points and tips on getting your LTE published.

The Grassroots Ambassador Toolkit is ready for YOU to use to help spread the word about this innovative plan that will decarbonize transportation and energy - and do it in less than 10 years, if we can build the political will.  

Thanks to our SR Volunteer Team, led by Mary Paterson, we launched "RailBites" - newsbites written for busy elected officials to inform them about electrified freight rail.  Check out RailBite #1 on Electrification, RailBite #2 on Safe Rail Working Conditions RailBite #3 on Higher Speed Rail vs High Speed and Ultra High Speed.  SIGN UP to utilize this easy tool with your policymaker, so they can be better informed about transportation options and the real solution that is Solutionary Rail.

The next Organizing Call for Solutionary Rail will be Wednesday, Sept 4th, at noon (pacific)/3pm (eastern).  Register for the call to learn what's next and how you can get involved.

End Corporate Rule - August 28th, Seattle

Many of us are engaged in today’s challenging issues, such as climate change, supporting immigrants and refugees, ending white supremacy, native sovereignty, fair trade, affordable housing, endless warfare, universal healthcare, and many others. With so many issues demanding attention, it’s easy to lose sight that corporate power is the systemic force behind them all.

To highlight the connection between corporate power and these critical issues, Move to Amend is organizing events across the US to speak about ways that corporate constitutional rights impact the issues we care so deeply about and how corporate constitutional rights are not only dominating our elections, but working to overwhelm our basic rights.  

At the Seattle “Free the People from Corporate Rule" Rally,  Backbone ED Bill Moyer will speak on Solutionary Rail, August 28th at noon, on the plaza outside the Jackson Federal Building, 915 2nd Avenue. More info is HERE. Look for Backbone's giant "We the People" and "We the Corporations" banners. Contact us if you can help with setting these props up and helping with their deployment!

Call your Senators: Say NO to #45's Trial Run to Weaken NEPA

The Executive Branch's Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) has announced that they will be coming out with new rules for the National Environmental Policy Act. This expected weakening of NEPA will threaten the future of our environment, health, and well being for all species. While those changes have not yet been announced, there is an attempt right now to test those waters - and we need to push back. Our friends at the Moving Forward Network have alerted us to the dangers woven into the Senate Transportation Reauthorization Bill. The bill includes a provision that circumvents NEPA as it relates to consolidation pipelines. (Consolidation pipelines transport LNG from point of extraction to point of distribution.) The Transportation Reauthorization Bill (TRB) says these pipelines wouldn't need to go through the NEPA analysis.

Reach out to your members of Congress - particularly on the Senate side, but both chambers need to hear from constituents on this - and let them know you oppose any provisions in the TRB that circumvents NEPA. MFN Executive Director Angelo Logan says this is a test to see how much push back they get on a NEPA rollback. Let's make sure they hear a resounding "NO!" Call your Senator (at their District Office during this August Recess) and tell them that NEPA is not negotiable, and we are counting on them to protect NEPA in all legislative and administrative actions.

Orca and Salmon

Backbone recently debuted our new prop, a life size replica of orca mother Tahlequah, the J pod Salish Sea resident who alerted us to her pod's drastic conditions last summer. (At a recent film screening of Dammed to Extinction, orca researcher Deborah Giles explained that for 17 days, as she carried her dead baby across a thousand miles, every time Tahlequah needed to take a breath, she would have to decide to drop the calf, surface to the water to take a breath, then dive down and retrieve the calf once again.)

To learn more about how the Southern Residents are faring, check out Seattle Times' Reporter Lynda Mapes excellent series, Hostile Waters.

Backbone plans to deploy more Human Orca Murals in the fall. If you want to organize one in your community, let's work together to make it happen!

In Gratitude

This summer Backbone has focused on building systems to streamline our artful activism work and planning for next steps for Solutionary Rail. In September we'll resume our weekly Art Builds in our Vashon Island Warehouse - check out backbonecampaign.org for the calendar.

We are so grateful to everyone's generosity for pitching into our Summer Fundraising Campaign - thank you for helping keep this creative, solutionary work growing.  We couldn't do this without you, and special thanks to our Lumbar Club members who support these actions every month by making a small monthly donation.  It all adds up and enables us to deliver creative props that get attention at actions across the country!

Forward Together!

Team Backbone - Bill, Amy, Phil, Iris, Laura, Rob

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