On May 5, 1862, the attacking French forces thought that the people of Puebla, Mexico would welcome the French and would even force the Mexican Militia to lay down their arms once the French made a show of force. They thought that they were facing a submissive population, but they were wrong. Despite arriving to find an undermanned and underfunded militia they found a determined force that was ready to do battle to defend their tierra. The rest is history.
Today, May 5, 2015, over 150 years later, we are again engaged in a different kind of fight against highly funded highly supported industries attacking our tierra. And again they think that we will retreat when they show their force. That we won’t defend our cherished lands and natural resources, and will just allow these interests to take our public lands to drill, frack, and pollute them. Fortunately, they have miscalculated again.
We are standing up and we will Defend our Tierra - this time with the power of advocacy and with the existing laws that are in place to avoid the land grabs that embolden polluters.
Dirty energy interests are coming to drill on our public land, and that can pollute the land and harm the wildlife that lives there. We must remain vigilant and participate in the public land use process that oversees this activity from the very beginning of the land use planning comment period, through the leasing and permitting process.
We have a voice in this process that needs to be heard.
We also have other tools at our disposal. The Antiquities Act allows the President to create national monuments from public lands to protect them. It has been used to protect areas of special significance to the Latino community such as the Cesar Chavez National Monument and the San Gabriel Mountains. Its use is coming under attack by Congress and we must defend it.
We can also be proactive in creating new parks, protected forests and wildlife areas through the use of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF provides funds and matching grants to acquire and protect land and water to create protected areas that provide a recreational benefit to the Latino community. The LWCF needs to be fully funded by Congress and it needs our support.
Join us in this effort and let’s be the heroes of our own generation’s “Cinco de Mayo” as we stand up and #DefendOurTierra now!