A People’s Story: Resilience, Remembrance, and Reclamation

Published 1:45 pm Monday, January 17, 2022

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ST. JAMES, LA – There have been no more uncertain times in our community: issues of social justice, untimely weather events, climate change, and the untold stories a global pandemic. In many ways, COVID-19 showed the world what we have experienced for generations in historically disadvantaged communities along the Mississippi River. Rise St. James is steadfast in its commitment to protect the environment, expanding economic opportunities, and protecting our natural and cultural heritage.
The theme for Rise St. James’ Black American History campaign is A People’s Story: Resilience, Remembrance, and Reclamation. The program will focus on Black American History in the River Parishes and include a day-event featuring a national keynote speaker on Saturday, February 19, 2022 (save the date) in St. James Parish. Further details to come.
“We’ve been through a lot over the last two years, it’s time for restoration and healing in our communities. We want everyone to know, both young and old, that the world is bigger than our trauma.” Sharon Lavigne, President, Rise St. James
Public health is infrastructure; toxic pollution, the pandemic, and Hurricane Ida exposed the dire need to rebuild stronger, healthier, and more resilient communities. In addition, the need for a diversified economy has never been more important.
A People’s Story: Resilience, Remembrance, and Reclamation is a multi-media campaign designed to instill pride in our heritage, support data-driven decision making, and evolve our social connections. Some of the programming throughout February will include a land acknowledgement, education about global warming, a creative arts / essay contest, ecofriendly career showcase, and various research initiatives such as our economic development survey, everyone is invited to participate.
About Rise St. James
Led by Sharon Lavigne, 2021 Goldman Prize Recipient North America, Rise St. James is a faith-based grassroots organization that is fighting for environmental justice as it works to defeat the proliferation of petrochemical industries in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Nicknamed “Cancer Alley” for the above-average rates of cancer there, the area is home to a high concentration of polluting industries. Despite this, the state has plans to expand this chemical corridor with dozens more factories. The group is currently fighting to prevent Formosa Plastics from building a massive multibillion-dollar plastics plant in the parish.