Background of the DSA
In 2017 activists, community leaders, Indigenous youth and elders from around the world gathered at the Tamera Peace Research and Education Center in Portugal – in solidarity to what was initiated by the #NoDAPL movement at Standing Rock and to resist fossil fuel extraction in Portugal. This initial group has evolved in both form and function. As the circle broadens in terms of people, lineages, cultures and geography, there is also a widening of intellectual and spiritual exchange; vision- building; global north-south and south-to-south community building; and building on shared strategies for systemic change.
Through three annual gatherings (2017, 2018, 2019) we have witnessed the emergence of an evolving practice of sacred activism in service of global system change. As leaders of Indigenous communities, social movements and systemic alternatives, we are coming together in a planetary community of trust and solidarity and for deep healing, as we are learning to be in practice together. The alliance is still in its formative stage, and this upcoming year is crucial to the cohesion, resonance, and deepening solidarity of the group.
Prayer in Action
Beyond our annual gatherings, we have collaborated on a series of projects together over the past three years. This includes our successful resistance against offshore oil drilling in Portugal. We organized and carried out aerial art actions in 2017, and 2018, bringing in international solidarity and spiritual support, which were critical in stopping the fossil fuel expansion off the Portuguese coast. We built on this national momentum to bring awareness to lithium mining and its impact in Serra da Estrela and Portugal at large (August, 2019). This action received wide coverage in the national media and was crucial to amplifying the popular resistance.
Internationally, we supported a joint action led by artivist John Quigley in Mount Sinai, Egypt to mark 100 years after WW1 and to send a global peace message (November, 2018). We have also supported the Rojava community and Kurdish resistance during the recent incursion of the Turkish military. You can view the publication of our joint statement in The Guardian: “We stand in solidarity with Rojava, an example to the world” (November, 2019).
Through the alliance, various self-organized culture-to-culture exchanges have occurred, building solidarity amongst the network. For example, one of our Brazilian elders visited the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó to help with critical accompaniment work (February, 2019). Also, Tamera’s youth group organized a visit to Standing Rock to connect with their youth community (November, 2019).
We have also collectively published a book entitled “Defend the Sacred: If Life Wins, There Will Be No Losers” (Verlag Meiga, 2019) in English, Portuguese and German, with contributions from various members of the alliance.
Finally, after our August 2019 alliance gathering at Tamera, we collectively hosted a conference with over 300 activists from around the world. Some of the key topics included: the role of sacred activism in global systems change; the climate crisis as a calling for regenerating ecosystems and spiritual transformation; and building communities of trust.
Since then, DSA has initiated a Solidarity Fund, shared prayer and ceremonies simultaneously in different lands and continued to plan for a next gathering, hopefully in the fall of 2021.
We are currently engaging in a call for partnerships among key allies and sponsors to support the 2020 DSA gathering, and the emerging process of global community building, existing projects & local community needs, and to support some of the working group functions within the alliance.
There are also emerging local, regional and international collaborations in our alliance as we are birthing ideas for shared actions and projects. In addition to funds for our ongoing engagement as an alliance, we are seeking support for our annual gathering, building a website, on-going webinars & knowledge sharing, and for the needs of ongoing projects of alliance members (i.e. a Solidarity Fund).
You can learn more about Defend the Sacred here >