You Made Justice Possible in 2022!

10/26/2022A personal letter from the directors of the Romero Institute, the Lakota People's Law Project, and Let's Green CA! Thanks to all who support Native and environmental justice. The fight continues!

The Fruits of Your Friendship in 2022

To our dear friends:

Your partnership with the Romero Institute has propelled a barrier-breaking movement this year that has made the world a better and more just place. This letter to you summarizes accomplishments we’ve made together in 2022 to overcome systemic injustices through our five projects — the Lakota People’s Law Project, Let’s Green CA!, the RICO Project, our Special Media Project, and our Strategic Investigations Project — each of which has been made possible by your generous love and support.

We sincerely hope that you will invest further now, as much as you can, in our ambitious plans for 2023 and help us build momentum on our victories in 2022. We need to raise $100,000 to immediately recruit more critical staff for each one of our projects, and with your help we can hit the ground running in the new year. Now: read on, and let's celebrate our work together!

The Lakota People’s Law Project: Mobilizing the Native Vote and More

Thanks to the support of members and friends like you, this year our Lakota People’s Law Project team helped change the game in South Dakota, where racism is deep and pervasive. We won a lawsuit as a plaintiff against the State, holding it accountable for repeated violations of the National Voter Registration Act. Now, new oversight processes will ensure the state abides by federal law, and Native people will find it much easier to cast their ballots in South Dakota.

Then, to get more Lakota voters to the polls in the lead-up to this year’s midterm elections, Lakota Law partnered with Standing Rock and others to create Oceti Vote Fest, a first-of-its-kind weekend of culture, music, games, and voter empowerment in Rapid City, S.D. Native voices must continue to be heard loud and clear in the halls of power, so please help us press this campaign forward into 2023 as we rapidly approach the watershed election of 2024.

Lakota Law’s work for Native and environmental justice didn’t stop there. To counter an attack on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by conservative states and Big Oil lawyers, Lakota Law’s legal team submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court. Powerful and persuasive, it is written to articulate the studied perspective of former S.D. Sen. James Abourezk — who wrote the original ICWA law and also sits on our advisory board.

And when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers selected a member of the American Petroleum Institute to oversee the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for DAPL, it put the fox in charge of the henhouse and created a dire conflict of interest. Lakota Law immediately responded by creating a video with Janet Alkire, Chairwoman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, calling on justice advocates to stand with the tribe and protest the flawed EIS. This action-inspiring video was emailed to half a million people and shared with 300 groups. The partnership with Standing Rock also spawned our “Dakota Water Wars” video series, which details the threat from DAPL and lends an historical perspective to the fight to protect water. The fight continues!

Let's Green CA!: Passing SB 1230 into Law in California

Let’s Green CA!, with your help and assistance from our allies at the Dolores Huerta Foundation, made California history in 2022. Of the 4800 bills introduced in the state this year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed just 997 into law — including a key piece of our Electrify California Plan! Our bill, SB 1230, passed with flying colors (and bipartisan support!) through the California Assembly and the Senate before earning his signature.

SB 1230 will make it possible for low- to moderate-income people and communities to access financial incentives for electric vehicles, paving the way for large-scale, equitable participation in the clean car revolution. Transportation makes up 40 percent of California’s carbon emissions, and all our citizens must have an opportunity to participate in the solutions.

Simultaneously, the Let’s Green CA! team is working in alliance with environmental justice organizations and labor groups — including building trades councils and multiple IBEW locals — championing workforce and environmental justice standards at each of California’s Community Choice Energy agencies. We’re also facilitating an ongoing home electrification public health and education campaign in vulnerable Central Coast communities, in partnership with the Diocese of Monterey, Central Coast Community Energy, and EVs for Everyone. We even made national news for our work turning a local health center into a resilient, sustainable community hub!

Please invest in impactful green solutions now, and together we will develop and pass new legislation that overcomes the many barriers keeping affordable, accessible electric vehicle charging capabilities out of low- to moderate-income communities.

The RICO Project: Dissecting Big Oil's Criminal Racketeering

Our dynamic RICO Project, described here by Danny Sheehan, has assembled thousands of documents revealing the racketeering and corrupt organization crimes of Big Oil throughout the world, including criminal fraud, assassination, mass murder, arson, kidnapping, torture, extortion, and forced servitude. Most importantly, this report exposes how fossil fuel giants knowingly lied to the world about their driving role in the climate crisis. We are now deep into the research of their crimes in California, where we will first surface this legal challenge.

RICO pierces the veil of liability protection for leaders in a corporation. Instead of just financially fining a company for crimes, RICO laws can put CEOs, key stockholders, Board members, and financiers in prison for their crimes. Please help us hold these corporate criminals accountable.

The Special Media Project: A Deep Dive Into Our Archive of Social Justice Media

With your support, our Special Media Project has researched, investigated, and categorized deeply revealing archives of nearly half a century of our legal wins on behalf of social and environmental justice. The 12 highlighted lawsuits and campaigns include the Karen Silkwood nuclear case, the Iran-Contra scandal, the Greensboro justice case against the KKK and American Nazis, and the first American Sanctuary case. We’re now working with a professional media production company in Los Angeles to develop programs that will shed light on the real Deep State while detailing the path toward overcoming it and creating a positive, green future.

The Strategic Investigations Project: Working to Unmask the Economic Drivers of Climate Change

Our Strategic Investigations Project has been researching the role of the Great Reset, the World Economic Forum, and the Council for a More Inclusive Capitalism, all of which are trying to maintain the current, extractive and supply side economic system of global corporate capitalism, the ultimate driver of the climate crisis. We are analyzing economic shifts necessary to attack the climate emergency and prevent the rapid extinction of precious species and ecosystems on our planet. We must challenge greed and unmask the individuals and groups determined to prevent the changes necessary for a thriving, just future for humanity.

Over the past 45 years, we have never failed to engage with strategic focus on the frontlines to create systemic impact. You and other generous supporters have always made that possible, and I’m filled with gratitude for your deep friendship. I promise you that every dollar you contribute now will be used to create solutions to the climate crisis and inequity — and challenge corporate and government power structures that fuel them. Please invest in our strategic, rubber-to-the-road work for 2023. We won’t let you down.

Thank you, always, for your strength and courage, your determination and resilience. Together, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before, refusing to bend in the face of tremendous adversity. Let’s continue to heed their example, meet each moment with our best, and create the future we want to see for the next seven generations.

Our hearts are one,

Sara Nelson, Executive Director, The Romero Institute

Daniel Sheehan, President & Chief Counsel, The Romero Institute

Chase Iron Eyes & Daniel Paul Nelson, Project Co-Directors, Lakota People’s Law Project

Benjamin Eichert, Project Director, Let’s Green CA!


Your Support Makes Justice Possible

You can change the world — and now is the time to do it. We must tackle the climate crisis head on, while we still can. That’s why your gift today is so important. Your generosity empowers the Romero Institute to win justice for Native communities and enact timely, tangible solutions for our planet. Thank you for standing with us!