Deep Roots United Front Solidarity Statement
“Deep Roots United Front stands in solidarity with Kat Yang-Stevens and the recent essay they wrote about a combination of personal attacks and smear campaigns waged by several prominent, white local organizers and male identified activists in Ithaca, NY, occupied Cayuga Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Territories. Deep Roots United Front is an organization whose membership is made up entirely of indigenous people and people of color. As people of color we recognize that the lethal dominant culture is waging war on all life, destroying cultures, traditions, stories, and communities deeply rooted in the Earth. Through the colonization of our minds, bodies, and spirits, we have continuously been stripped of our lands and inflicted with violence and poverty.
Many of us are all too familiar with the stories and dynamics so eloquently written about and analyzed by Kat. We, as well as many PoC in this country, have experienced much of the same treatment Kat wrote about. Ongoing and unchecked oppressive dynamics in organizing spaces, like the dynamics Kat describes, were part of the catalyst that pushed us to come together and form Deep Roots United Front.
White supremacy, colonialism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism exist in all activist spaces. Refusing to address these issues through tactics like silencing, dehumanizing, and discrediting the experiences of people of color and otherwise marginalized folks who experience these forms of discriminatory behaviors embedded in every day life—often in the form of microaggressions, small acts that make up the cultural fabric of white supremacy—results in spaces that actively perpetuate, uphold and reinforce white supremacy and colonialism as systemic forms of oppression. Kat incessantly reiterates and teaches about this through their workshops and writings.
We in Deep Roots United Front have worked alongside Kat building cross movement and cross racial solidarity and supporting indigenous sovereignty and self determination. We know that Kat has dedicated their life to addressing all systemic forms of oppression and to addressing intra-movement racism. They struggle in earnest to build consciousness around these issues in order to remove barriers that prevent effective coalition building. It is disturbing to see the lengths that some activists will go to preserve oppressive power dynamics in organizing and “radical” spaces. Things like ‘colonization’, ‘white supremacy’, ‘patriarchy’, ‘classism’, ‘heteronormativity’, ‘cissexism’, etc. are not just terms to be thrown around and made into “buzzwords”, they have deep meanings that help us as POC and indigenous peoples to articulate the very real violence that we—and marginalized communities world-wide—face every day from the dominate culture.
In addition to standing in solidarity with Kat Yang-Stevens, we also call on activists in the Stop Tompkins County Jail Expansion Coalition – Tompkins County and other Ithaca organizations, to take action with Joanne Cipolla-Dennis to address white supremacy and her perpetuation of it through her actions of utilizing the privileges she has as a white person to send people of color to jail (libel and slander are Civil Suits not Criminal). Finally, if these activists are as dedicated as they claim to justice and liberation for all, their actions need to reflect this by being able to take constructive criticism, own their privilege, and stop behavior that perpetuates the systems they claim to stand against. Failure to do so reveals complicity in further silencing and marginalization of Kat and disingenuous commitments to ending mass incarceration perpetrated against communities of color.”
Deeds Not Words.
Deep Roots United Front.
About Deep Roots United Front:
As people of color we recognize that the lethal dominant culture is waging war on all life, destroying cultures, traditions, stories, and communities deeply rooted in the Earth. Through the colonization of our minds, bodies, and spirits, we have continuously been stripped of our lands and inflicted with violence and poverty.
Our liberation will not come through politicians, political parties, or governments. No one will come and rescue us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Holding the wisdom of our ancestors, our people have survived centuries of oppression through daily acts of resistance. Now is the time to reclaim those stories. Time to end the conflicts that plague our communities, and join together in mutual struggle for liberation.
We will take action to protect the land and her children. We will support and participate in creating survival programs to increase the resilience and autonomy of our communities.
For a United Front! Deeds not Words!