Testimony of a Community Organizer

CELDF’s Consulting Director, Tish O’Dell, submitted her testimony, “Am I an Activist?” to the 2024 Spring Activism Peace Chronicle publication. Tish has been involved in community rights and Rights of Nature work starting in her own community of Broadview Heights, Ohio, which led to the adoption of Ohio’s first Home Rule charter amendment creating a Community Bill of Rights banning fracking and recognizing Rights of Nature. She has since gone on to work with dozens of Ohio communities on anti-fracking, anti-pipeline, right to a livable climate, fair and free elections and water privatization issues. Today, Tish works with communities all over the country and internationally.

Here’s an excerpt from Tish’s testimony, “I recently helped to organize a Truth and Reckoning event for Nature and the Great Lakes. We invited people to give testimony from lived experience and knowledge about various topics related to our current culture and how each impacts the Great Lakes and Nature as a whole. We heard from a Catholic nun, a college professor, a medical doctor, a journalist, an environmental lawyer, a former EPA contractor as well as many others including Indigenous people, college students, and community members too. It was an impactful day, listening to their truths, hearing about their part in the system and culture that we have all been born into, and ultimately how to reckon with those truths.”

“Am I an “activist”? If anyone would have asked me this question a year ago, I would have quickly replied “yes”. Ask me today and I might say no. We live in a time where there is more chaos and less order than when I was a younger woman or at least that is how it seems looking back and through the lens of my personal reality. Maybe reading this, some of my words will resonate with you, maybe they won’t. And that’s ok. That is one of many recent lessons I have learned.”

To read Tish O’Dell’s full testimony, click here.

Learn more about the Truth and Reckoning event hosted by CELDF in October of 2023, and listen to the many testimonies given on CELDF’s YouTube Truth & Reckoning Playlist.

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