Interdependence & Solidarity: HEAL’s Statement on the Recent SCOTUS Decisions

By Navina Khanna, Executive Director, HEAL Food Alliance

The slew of recent SCOTUS decisions – that grant more rights to guns than people with uteri, that exempt power plants from regulation, strip tribal Nations of their sovereignty, and protect police over people – are a sobering reminder that the systems that govern us were never designed for life to thrive. 

These systems are rooted in stolen land, stolen labor, stolen lives — designed to confer profit and power to a select few, to maintain white supremacy above all else, to affirm patriarchy, and to limit our imaginations to the confines of cisheteronormativity. These systems will continue to reinforce and reward their own status quo. 

Though the laws of the land are fatally flawed, we remember our allegiance to the laws of Mother Earth, our reverence for life, and our solidarity with each other. Throughout time, Black, Indigenous, and immigrant communities of color have developed networks to sustain and support each other, and it has always been the case that queer communities help liberate our minds, hearts, and vision for radical transformation.

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” 
– Angela Davis

We know that many of us are exhausted and grieving, but we also know that the promise and potential of a thriving future lies within our communities. The time is now for us to create the future that we believe in – a future that nourishes and sustains all of us and our planet. 

So, where do we go from here? 

Yes, electoral politics matter. 

We’re in a representative democracy, and we wouldn’t be here if the folks who represented us – now and over the last several years – were folks who aligned with our values. Find candidates who are fighting for justice and a livable future, and donate, text bank, phone bank, or door knock for them. Can’t do any of those things? Bake brownies or cook a meal for volunteers – they will appreciate it more than you know. 

But electoral politics aren’t everything. 

The SCOTUS decisions are the result of decades of organizing from the far right. While this moment is urgent, it’s part of a marathon. Breathe. Cook a nourishing meal; get your hands in the soil. Check in on your friends. Make art together. Take it to the streets.  Nurture yourself and your community. 

Find your political home.

adrienne maree brown defines political home as “a place where we ideate, practice and build futures we believe in, finding alignment with those we are in accountable relationships with, and growing that alignment through organizing and education.”

This fight isn’t about new lone heroes, it’s about grounding into community and building power with our people. Trust and follow the leadership of the people who have been doing the work,  like organized formations led by Black, Indigenous, and other frontline women and gendernonconforming folks. Find the doulas and the farmers who are caring for our communities. Identify the skills you can offer in support of their leadership. 

Organize locally. 

When SCOTUS sided with fossil fuel corporations to restrict the EPA’s power to limit emissions at power plants, they laid the foundation for limiting any federal agency’s ability to impose restrictions on corporations that are abusing the environment or working people. As we face another summer of drought, heat, storms and fires, our nation’s highest court is tearing down desperately needed regulations on corporate polluters – without them, it’s likely that the US won’t meet its climate targets, and without the US, we won’t meet them globally.

Here’s the good news: The Supreme Court’s fossil-fueled attack on the Clean Air Act does nothing to undermine Biden’s authority to follow through on his climate promises using executive action, nor does it stop our municipalities from leading the way. Right now you can reach out to your city or town officials to pass an equitable climate action plan. (see this example from Oakland, CA). 

Some cities and states are also leading the way by becoming abortion-safe sanctuary cities

Want to learn more about how to organize  in your own community? Look out for applications for HEAL’s School of Political Leadership this fall. 

Practice abolition.

In Vega v. Tekoh, SCOTUS  ruled that police can’t be sued for not advising detained suspects of their right to remain silent during an interrogation. The ruling shields officers from civil liability if they fail to read Miranda rights, potentially reducing their incentive to comply.

And, when SCOTUS overturned Roe v Wade, they undermined the sovereignty, power, and bodily autonomy of people with uteri. In many states, having or performing an abortion will become a punishable offense. 

Our fight for justice requires that we dismantle the carceral state and invest resources in pathways to real public safety like healthcare, housing and food. 

Support access to abortions.

Reproductive justice is not separate from our fight for labor justice or land justice. It’s about the sovereignty and decision-making power of those whose lives and bodies are most burdened; it’s about trusting the wisdom of those on the frontlines. Access to safe medical care, including safe abortion care, is an essential part of a thriving future for all of us. 

Learn the history of treaty rights and the current struggles of Indigenous peoples where you live.

Unless you’re Indigenous to Turtle Island, you’re living on stolen land. SCOTUS’ Castro-Huerta decision overturns nearly 200 years of Supreme Court precedent recognizing the right of tribal nations to self-govern without being infringed by the states. Before greedy power-holders use this precedent to further erode tribal governments’ authority, connect with folks who are organizing for #LandBack, cultural restoration, food sovereignty, and thriving economies in their traditional territories.

Our existence is an act of resistance. Our people have always found a way to turn to and support each other. In a world that tries to divide us, and tell us that our success is dependent on someone else’s oppression, uniting for our collective liberation is a radical act.