|On Saturday, October 5th, community leaders, academics and activists from across the state will gather in La Crosse to honor Al Gedicks.
Al Gedicks will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ), during the organization's 13th annual awards reception, at the Hmong Cultural and Community Center at 1815 Ward Ave in La Crosse, starting at 5 pm on October 5th. Ho-Chunk Nation President Jon Greendeer will emcee the event, which will include traditional Hmong food and other refreshments.
Al Gedicks is widely known and respected for his decades of research, writing, organizing and advocacy in support of indigenous rights and against destructive mines, in the Midwest and around the world. He is a professor emeritus of environmental sociology at UW-La Crosse and the author of the books Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations and The New Resource Wars: Native and Environmental Struggles Against Multinational Corporations.
Al also serves as the Executive Secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council (WRPC), a statewide group concerned with the impact of metallic mining on the state's precious water resources, tourism and dairy industries, and on the many Native American communities near potential mine sites.
Working with WRPC, Al documented the Flambeau Mining Company's pollution of the Flambeau River and a tributary, and sought to hold the Flambeau Mining Company legally responsible. He and WRPC are very involved in the continuing debate over the open-pit iron mine proposed for the Penokee Hills in northern Wisconsin, which would threaten the Bad River Watershed, including wild rice beds sacred to the Bad River Ojibwe Tribe.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is also being given to mark the tenth anniversary of the grassroots victory in defense of the Wolf River and against the Crandon mine. Al was a vital part of the unprecedented alliance between Native Tribes, sports fishers and environmentalists that stopped the Crandon mine. The Mole Lake Ojibwe and Forest County Potawatomi bought the Crandon site in October 2003, to ensure that it will never be mined.
At the October 5th awards reception, WNPJ will present its Peacemaker of the Year and Dennis Bergren LGBTQ Advocacy Awards to:
The October 5th awards reception is free and open to the public, though tax-deductible donations to WNPJ are appreciated. Previous to the reception, WNPJ will hold its member assembly from 1 to 4:30 pm at the Hmong Cultural and Community Center, which will feature a panel discussion on challenging U.S. militarism and is also free and open to the public.
Key Jackson of Madison, who works with the Educational Justice Coalition to further racial, queer, abled, migrant, educational and housing justice for students across Wisconsin, will receive the Peacemaker of the Year - Youth Award;
Babette Grunow of Milwaukee, who has engaged in Latin American solidarity for decades and is active with community groups including Peace Action WI, WI Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba and WI Bail Out the People Movement, will receive the Peacemaker of the Year - Adult Award;
Pat Popple of Chippewa Falls, a life-long central Wisconsin resident who became a tireless advocate for citizen rights and the environment in the face of the exploding frac sand mining industry, will receive the Peacemaker of the Year - Senior Award; and
Sharon Whitney of Madison, who has volunteered with PFLAG-Madison since her son came out in 1993, with a focus on education and outreach, will receive the Dennis Bergren LGBTQ Advocacy Award, named after a former WNPJ Board member and founder of the LGBT Books to Prisoners Project.
WNPJ is a statewide coalition of more than 150 member organizations, founded in 1991 to facilitate activities, cooperation and communication among Wisconsin organizations and individuals working toward the creation of a sustainable world, free from violence and injustice.