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This week as people prepare for the Climate Marches, we’re welcoming Making Contact’s new Community Storytelling Fellow for Indigenous Climate Leadership: Isabella Zizi!
Isabella is a member of the Northern Cheyenne, Arikara, and Muskogee Creek tribes and the founder of Earth Guardians Bay Area. At 22 years old, she is the youngest member of Idle No More SF Bay.
In Isabella’s words: “I’ve been active in the native community for a few years now educating those about indigenous sovereignty, sacred sites, and issues around climate change locally and globally.”
Isabella’s involvement in environmental activism began on August 6, 2012, when a huge explosion erupted at the Richmond Chevron refinery, near where her family has lived for decades. The explosion caused over 15,000 residents to flee to the hospital due to respiratory problems, itchy eyes, and irritated throats caused by the black smoke that covered the town. Since that day, Isabella has been tirelessly organizing in her community.
She has committed the past four years to organizing with Idle No More SF Bay Area and their Refinery Corridor Healing walks. Those monthly public walks start at one refinery town and connect to the next, each month from April to July. They bring attention to the health risks posed by the refineries ringing the bay and they envision a just transition to a clean and safe energy future with an economy that supports everyone. Members of Idle No More SF Bay conduct prayers at each refinery and toxic sites along the way. Prayers for the waters are conducted by Native American women at the beginning and end of each walk.
The next walk is May 20th and Isabella will be all set to record it for her Storytelling Fellowship. Laura Flynn will be co-producing and skills-sharing with Isabella and we look forward to releasing their piece this summer. Special thanks to the Christensen Fund for supporting our fellows who are Indigenous leaders.
We are so excited to have Isabella join our Making Contact team and we can’t wait to hear what she creates!