Demonstrators outside of the Skagit County Administrative Building on April 30th display a community art project that urges the County to take action against the development of new oil-by-rail facilities along the coast.
Carol McRoberts, 71, gestures to the crowd on Wednesday morning while singing with the Seattle Raging Grannies about the dangers of recent oil-by-rail proposals at refineries in the region. Concerned community members from around the region demonstrated outside of the Skagit County Administrative Building, where the Northwest Clean Air Agency was having a public hearing about the renewal of Shell’s Puget Sound Refinery pollution permits. When told that they would be allowed to sing if there was enough time, McRoberts spoke up and said, “There will be enough time!” McRoberts has been a peace activist for 40 years, and has been involved with the Seattle Raging Grannies for over 15 years. After singing outside for the crowd, the Raging Grannies also used their 2 minutes of allotted time during the public hearing to sing another song:
“The future looks bleak,
Unless we can keep,
Fossil fuels down where the belong!
Keep those trains far from us,
Or better yet don’t let them bust!
Our climate’s worth more,
Lets show them the door,
Keep the oil in the ground evermore!”
Raging Grannies is an international organization—their website can be found at http://www.seattleraginggrannies.com/.
Ramon Torres, 30, rallies a crowd of farmworkers and students in opposition to Sakuma Farm’s H-2A guest worker permits outside of the Skagit Public Utility District building on Monday. Torres is the president of Familias Unidas por la Justicia (Families United for Justice), a Latino community group composed of farmworkers that are involved in a labor dispute with Sakuma Bros. farm. Torres and over 300 farmworkers at Sakuma Berry Farms went on strike 9 months ago, demanding a living wage, an end to basic human rights violations including wage theft, racist and abusive treatment in the field, and lack of benefits, among other things. Shortly after negotiating some small pay raises with the farm owners, the workers went back on strike. Ramon claims the owners went back on their agreement, and Familias Unidas is calling for a boycott of Sakuma berries until they receive a legally binding contract that addresses their demands. “We are going to continue fighting until we have a contract,” Torres said. “This contract is going to benefit our families, and these families, well we the Latinos—if we don’t do anything ourselves nobody is going to do anything for us. We have to raise our voices.”
Stephen Watts, 49, stands outside his truck at a bank in downtown Bellingham. Watts, originally from Kent, WA, now works as a mobile paper shredder. “I’d rather be soakin’ up some rays in the Bahamas, sippin’ a Mai Tai,” Watts said.