Jessica Munger

How I've supported Move to Amend

  • Move to Amend Statement of Disassociation from CELDF

    It is with deep regret and sadness that Move to Amend has decided to disassociate with Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) as a coalition partner and organizational co-sponsor of the national symposium “The System Won’t Save Us”, that is planned for April.

    We would like to first be clear that we deeply support the numerous current and former CELDF staff members who have spoken out, and in many cases resigned from their positions over a culture of transphobia. We also deeply support the communities across the country who have, and are working to enact a Community Bill of Rights in the pursuit of establishing local sovereignty and Rights of Nature.

    We believe the numerous and consistent allegations we have heard, and so it is out of that support that we felt we had no choice but to make this very difficult decision.

    We had already been aware of one staff resignation over these issues, as it was someone we had gotten to know during the planning process for “The System Won’t Save Us” national symposium. We also learned the majority of the CELDF staff contingent we were working closely with also shared those views about the organizational culture, which were outlined clearly in the resignation letter (along with a generous offer to continue working with CELDF’s leadership to address and work through these issues).

    When it became national news that the resistance to the mining operation at Thacker Pass in Nevada was being splintered due to one of the groups, Deep Green Resistance, holding deeply and violently transphobic views (that they keep at the fore of their ideological underpinnings) – we also learned that some members of CELDF leadership had relationships with members of this group. This was concerning to us. And it was concerning to some of the CELDF staff we had gotten to know. It also led to another resignation.

    CELDF has now put out two statements related to Thacker Pass. The first statement does not name Deep Green Resistance but does outright condemn transphobia. It was a good statement. 

    The second statement, however, acknowledges the allegations of transphobia from “current and former staff members” but claims they are “false and unfounded.” This can only be interpreted as claiming these current and former staff members are lying. When we asked about the process for that statement being released, we learned it was not run by the communications team. Which promptly led to another resignation – the communications team staff member who wrote the initial statement.

    We attempted to create space to address our concerns with these members of CELDF leadership on several occasions in hopes we could continue moving forward in coalition, and were met with denial and defensiveness and what appeared to be an unwillingness to admit or confront these issues. Our understanding is that numerous CELDF staff members have resigned since the fall, which signals there is a problem in the organizational culture that is making people feel unheard and unsafe. 

    Move to Amend has always held the position that our cause means nothing if we are not actively working for the liberation of the most marginalized, and we prioritize solidarity organizing with those groups. In 2015, we began a process of requiring deep political education for our National Team as well as our local affiliate groups. Our Movement Education Program looks at movement history, racial, class and gender justice, and ends with the creation of an internal democracy plan and a local solidarity organizing plan. We knew that mandating political education would lead to some groups leaving. And many did. But that is a loss we were willing to absorb to prune and advance our organization with the analysis and principles we believe are crucial for the health and power of any genuine justice movement.

    Transphobic culture is everywhere. Our firm belief is that if queer and trans folks – and their allies – are claiming that there is a covert transphobic culture of microaggressions and dismissal of concerns, as well as a tolerance of overt transphobia in their organizational relationships, then it is valid. It is not the place of cisgender-heterosexual people to “disagree” and frankly outrageous to say it’s “false and unfounded” – this only confirms to us the many claims of dismissal expressed by current and former staff members.

    Move to Amend remains committed to working with the individual current and former CELDF staff members we have formed relationships with over the years, and will continue to support and lift up the work of community Bills of Rights. 

    We still deeply respect the mission and accomplishments of CELDF. That is why we hope that they choose to commit to doing the introspection and work that will lead to a healthy culture change within the organization, so that members of marginalized groups can feel safe and proud to belong to it.


    Move to Amend National Team 

  • signed up on Toward a People's Constitution 2020-11-05 13:24:12 -0800

    Toward a People's Constitution

    On October 2020 we held a participatory People's Movement Assembly (PMA) with over a hundred people from across the country who came together to discuss why and how we need to democratize the United States Constitution. 

    The 2020 People’s Movement Assembly was a catalyst -- the beginning of something big -- and we invite you to sign up below to stay up to date on all things related to this project!

    During the 2020 PMA we collectively identified that:

    • We are in a moment of converging crises - Climate collapse, global uprisings against state violence and police brutality, and a global pandemic when most are without access to healthcare.

    • What's happening now is rooted in the values defined in (or missing from) the US Constitution - An undemocratic and ultra-powerful judicial branch, lack of human rights protections, no right to vote, and a whole lot of racist language just to name a few.

    • Bold, systemic change is needed - We have to know our power and be able to think outside of what we’ve been told is possible. It’s going to take courage, audacity, and a whole lot of learning and conversations to make it happen. But the only thing we have to lose is our chains. 

    • We have to have a vision and a plan - We learned that when constitutions around the world are re-imagined (on average other countries rewrite their constitutions every 19 years!) they’re more democratic when the Movement has a clear vision of what they want in their constitution. We have been building this vision for over ten years, and we continued it this weekend. 

    • People want a constitution that protects human rights, not just property rights. We like a lot of what’s in the Bill of Rights, (with some changes and exceptions), but the rights should extend further. People want a right to healthcare, housing, rights of nature, gender equity, a right to vote, and a whole lot more. 

    • We don't have to start from scratch. We can get over American exceptionalism and take inspiration from the constitutions of other countries, the UN Declaration on Human Rights, and the 2nd Bill of Rights proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    We have a lot of political muscle to build to be prepared to democratize the constitution. We’re not proposing Move to Amend are the ones to do it alone, nor that it should be done right now. But there are people who want to restrict rights and create room for more authoritarianism, and they’re planning for a constitutional convention. We need to have a plan too. If we don’t, things aren't going to turn out well.

    We’re moving forward on this work, we’re creating a strategy, and if you liked the 2020 PMA, there’s a lot more where that came from. Sign up below to stay up to date on the latest news and future People's Movement Assemblies and our Toward a People's Constitution program.

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Jessica Munger

Jessica Munger

Large mammal living on the North Coast of California organizing to amend the US Constitution, and dancing as often as possible.
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