Filed under: Action, Climate Change, Community Organizing, Disaster, Southwest
Brief outline of responses to the recent wildfires in California and the role of PG&E.
PG&E has failed the people of California. The company has been giving billions of dollars to investors through dividend payments and payouts to politicians instead of doing the necessary repairs for its aging fire hazard infrastructure. Millions of people have recently been left without power, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by this negligence.
There are growing calls to take PG&E from private investors, motivated by profit, and make it publicly held.
Similar to years past, something else arose, before the ash and smoke cleared – communities rooted in justice, coming together to meet the needs of those most impacted in an ethos of mutual aid.
For some, like migrant laborers and domestic workers, evacuation wasn’t an option. In 2017, North Bay Organizing Project and allies formed UndocuFund and distributed nearly $6.5 million to nearly 2,000 families who lost homes, possessions and earnings in the fires. Now, they are again seeking donations to do similar work for undocumented families affected by the Kincade fire. Donate here if you are able.
And they aren’t the only ones responding in a spirit of mutual aid and promoting a communal recovery. Friends in DSA and young people from the Sunrise Movement, have been organizing actions and mutual aid responses. Check out and add your info to a form to give or receive assistance here, or in Spanish, here. And help North Bay DSA combine disaster relief with public pressure on PG&E by donating here.
Also for the Kincade fire, there is a free legal hotline. Call 707-542-1290 or 888-382-3406 for help with insurance claims, property loss, landlord-tenant issues and more. A similar free legal hotline is in place for the Los Angeles County Fire and Saddleridge Fire: 800-870-0732.
The power shutoffs were a disaster in and of themselves. And a small collective of disability justice advocates, Disability Justice Culture Club, rose to the occasion to meet the needs of people with disabilities in their community. To send some funds their way, click here.
The number of families impacted by the recent fires is still currently unknown, the threat of more catastrophic fires is still present and PG&E power shutoffs are expected to continue for years to come. There is evidence though, as Naomi Klein lays out in a recent article in The Intercept, that a shift in policy towards a just recovery is possible and may be in its beginning stages.
As the smoke clears, and communities again rebuild from the ruins, we know there is a long road ahead. We are grateful we don’t have to walk it alone. To read more about Disability Justice Culture Club, Undocufund, 805 Undocufund, The Sunrise Movement, DSA, and other comrade organizations in this movement of movements for a just recovery, check out the co-conspirators section on our website by clicking here.