BENEFITING: CAMPAIGN EARTH
EVENT DATE: Jun 27, 2014
Juan Parras wrote -
BACKGROUND ON THE HEALING WALK:
In 2009 people from the Athabasca region gathered for the first Healing Walk.
At the time, no one knew what the Healing Walk would evolve into, or that three years later, in 2013, over 500 people from across Turtle Island and other parts of the world would have joined us on a walk we were taking to pray for the land, the people, and a future where the story we tell will be much different than the story we have worked so hard to tell today.
This year we gather for the final Athabasca region Healing Walk. We do this not because the problem has been solved, or because justice has been served, or practices of honour and integrity have been taken up in the place of destruction and mistreatment. We do this not because our people have stopped dying from the chemicals that are now inextricable from the landscape.
Rather, we do this because the story of the Athabasca region is only one small piece of the immense scope of this issue, these practices, of the land that's being abused, and of the people who are being so brutally mistreated.
It's time for the Healing Walk to shed light on other communities, other extraction practices, other bodies of water, and other places that have been sacred since time immemorial.
In order to tell the story properly, we have to tell the whole story. In order to stop the destruction, the healing has to start everywhere.
WHY I WANT TO GO:
Help us raise funds to send delegates from the Texas Gulf Coast to the 5th and final Athabasca Healing Walk. We hope to bring stories and support from refining communities living in the Petro-Metro along Houston's Ship Channel that stretch from Segundo Barrio to Galveston Bay engulfing communities of color along the way.
ABOUT JUAN PARRAS:
JUAN PARRAS, executive director of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS), was born in Big Spring, Texas, in 1949. Following his high school graduation from St. Anthony’s Seminary in San Antonio, he took courses both at St. Mary’s University and the University of Houston.
Juan Parras dedicated his professional life to fighting in-justices, first with Harris County social services, then with AFSCME, a national public services employee union. He later used his unionizing skills to provide organizational support for the community of Convent, Louisiana, in their fight for environmental justice.
Eventually, Green Peace hired Parras, a move which he believes was the organization’s first permanent Latino appointment in the nation. He worked with them on the “Toxic Campaign” against polyvinyl chloride (PVC) before bud-get constraints ended his job. From there, he did community outreach work for the Texas Southern University – Environmental Law and Justice Center, which led to the founding of TEJAS.
Parras, who resides in Segundo Barrio, sat down with UH-Oral History of Houston director, Natalie Garza, in August 2009 to talk about his work. To read the full article click here: