At BMWC we see movement building and leadership development as crosscutting work that is integral to the success of our overall goals and ongoing efforts. A key aim, as evidenced by our other programs, is to build a strong regional environmental justice movement led by indigenous communities and organizations. In addition to our regional partnerships, we also strongly prioritize youth and young adult participation in our work as a form of leadership development. Our youth leadership development efforts have gone through many forms throughout the years. At first it focused on annual youth summits that brought together hundreds of youth in the summer to get an introduction to environmental justice issues and organizing skills. In 2009 we recognized a need to go beyond the introductory phase of leadership development and created the Southwest Indigenous Leadership Institute (SWILI), which ran for two years. More recently we’ve focused on developing ways to engage youth in BMWC’s no coal and restorative economy work directly. All of our programs train youth by taking on many interns, apprentices, and volunteers who work outside regenerating the land as well as in the office. We also include youth in our delegations to various events and support them to attend various trainings to build their skills.
Our other key aim is to connect to larger environmental and social justice movements by engaging in strategic national and international alliances that will reflect and therefore build power for our work and Indigenous communities. We recognize that we must work collaboratively and across wide-ranging perspectives to effect long-term and lasting positive change at any level. National movement building also allows us to connect to and learn from other communities like ours. We currently serve on the Steering Committee of the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) and are members of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ).
Movement Building & Leadership Development Partners
Many of our key regional partners are listed elsewhere in our website. Below is a list of are our key national partners:
Indigenous Environmental Network
Indigenous Peoples’ Power Project
Climate Justice Alliance
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
East Michigan Environmental Action Committee
Southwest Workers Union
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Communities for a Better Environment