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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2021

Advisory Council meets to support the movement for Community Rights and Ecosystem Rights, and the work of the Virginia Community Rights Network

Press Contact: 
Heidi Berthoud: 434 979 9732, Heidi@vacommunityrights.org

       
Buckingham, VA   Preparing for a new phase of activism, 10 environmental leaders from across Virginia came together for a virtual gathering to support and advise the movement work of the Virginia Community Rights Network (VACRN).  Hailing from 6 counties across the Commonwealth, the gathering provided an opportunity to look at the condition of the democratic process in the United States today and how it impacts our social, economic and natural environments. Participants engaged in an exploration of colonized thinking, exploitation and commodification of our natural communities, and ourselves.

This work supports communities to urge their municipal governments to pass new laws, known as Community Bills of Rights. These laws elevate the rights of people and the land, water, and air which nourish them, above corporate rights, state preemption and other barriers. These impacted communities work to protect their local areas against “legalized harm” to their communities and environment.

Queen Shabazz, Founder United Parents Against Lead, Coordinator Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative and VACRN Advisory Council member commented: " As we move Virginia towards a Community Bill of Rights state, we uphold the rights of all to live in peace to breathe clean air, drink unpolluted water, grow food in uncontaminated soil and be safe from governmental harm.  What better way to achieve these than by self-governance?"

Chad Oba, President of FoB and VACRN Advisory Council member says: “After 6 long years of fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Buckingham compressor station, we are now faced with yet another assault on our water, air and land, this time by metallic mining. We are partnering with VACRN and CELDF to write a Community Bill of Rights to assert our rights to protect ourselves and our environment from chemical trespass of toxic material associated with industrial metallic mining. We want the corporations to know that they do not have the right to trespass on us or our county!”

Heidi Berthoud, President of VACRN, issued this statement: “The process of community rights-based solutions that challenge a system designed to exploit us is what is needed here in Virginia. This is about our families’ and the planet's physical life and death. VACRN is fully committed to protecting the rights of ecosystems which, when recognized and upheld, will in turn protect and enrich us all. Over 200 communities in the United States have adopted Community Bills of Rights. All municipalities in Virginia need to understand their right to self-government in order to safeguard their communities.”

For more information: 
Virginia Community Rights Network  https://vacommunityrights.org/
Our partner: Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund  https://celdf.org/

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Heidi Dhivya Berthoud – President
Virginia Community Rights Network
434.979.9732
heidi@vacommunityrights.org
vacommunityrights.org

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