[Events] Community Rights US and Free Jessica Reznicek

[Events] Community Rights US and Free Jessica Reznicek

Editor’s note: Neither of the events are being organized by DGR. We stand in solidarity with both of these and encourage our readers to get involved in these if possible.

Community Rights US to reorganize as Association

The following is a message from Paul Cienfuegos, the Founding Director of Community Rights US, regarding some news about his movement and virtual book talks on April 1 and April 17. You can join the event here.


Greetings to all of our thousands of loyal supporters!

The Community Rights US Board of Directors has come to the decision that we no longer have the capacity to continue our work to build the Community Rights movement across the US at anywhere near the scale or scope we had always envisioned. For some time now, we have been struggling to sustain a Board large enough to maintain the critical focus of our organization. We haven’t generated sufficient volunteer energy to support our project work. We’ve been unsuccessful in our grant writing efforts, and our ongoing fundraising efforts with our human supporters have not generated sufficient funds to maintain paid staff. And so it is with some sadness, I’m announcing that last month was our final month of existence as a formal non-profit tax-exempt organization.

On the good side, at least three members of our existing Board (including myself) will continue to meet monthly to discuss next steps for our work. We have absolutely no intention of vanishing into thin air. We just won’t exist as a non-profit corporation anymore. We plan to restructure ourselves as an Association.

So if you have been meaning to make a tax-deductible donation to us for awhile now, we’re sorry but it’s already too late to do so! But a NON-tax-deductible donation is still very much welcomed, by donating to me at my Patreon account here. Monthly donors will have access to a wide variety of provocative writings, talks, and interviews that I’ve done over these past years, and will continue to do albeit less frequently. Thank you for your continuing support!

And as soon as we launch our new Community Rights US “Association,” we’ll let you know how to make donations there too!

I have been taking leadership in the Community Rights movement since 1995. As the founder of Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (California) in 1995. As the co-founder of Community Rights PDX (Oregon) in 2012, the Oregon Community Rights Network in 2013, and Community Rights US in 2017. That’s 28 years of sustained organizing and teaching and consulting and cheerleading efforts! And to be totally transparent with you, I am feeling deeply exhausted, and don’t have the same level of energy that has propelled me for so many years.

I have a strong desire to shift my priorities towards a lot more play and rest and reading and spacious friend time and deep nature and quiet time. I am extremely proud of the contributions I have made to this national movement, and to many other social movements in the decades prior to 1995.

Last year, I wrote and published my first-ever book, How Dare We? Courageous Practices to Reclaim Our Power as Citizens. Our board and small staff have been working hard to promote the book to media, bookstores, thought leaders, and activist groups. I could not have asked for a better support team from our board and staff!

I have been having a ton of fun and gratifying experiences promoting my book to audiences of every political stripe. On February 2nd, I came to the Midwest for a month-long book tour at bookstores and libraries to ten mostly rural communities (in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota) where I spent six intensive and truly wonderful years teaching and consulting up until covid crashed everything.

And if you haven’t already purchased my book for yourself, a family member or friend, or for your public library, now is a good time to do THAT also. Thank you! My book is now available directly from your local bookstore, as well as all the other mega-corporate stores. The paperback is the very revolutionary price of $17.76. The e-book is a steal at just $1.99. And I can offer you bulk discounts if you contact me directly.

I’ll be offering two virtual book talks in April (see poster above): Saturday, April 1 at 12 pm PST and Monday, April 17 at 6pm PST. Use this LINK to join and feel free to invite others who might be interested in learning more about our approach.

Community Rights US will continue to publish occasional newsletters to share our latest endeavors as we re-imagine ourselves as an “Association” that continues to promote the Community Rights movement, which I continue to believe is this nation’s best hope and political, legal, and culture-shift strategy to reclaim our power as citizens, as my book title states!

We will continue to maintain our incredible WEBSITE that is chock full of resource materials. As well as our substantial AUDIO FILES on PodBean, including all of my two years of weekly radio/podcast commentaries. And also our Youtube HOMEPAGE with many talks, interviews, and more. Please continue to utilize our extensive resources.

We want to thank each and every one of you for your support over these past 5+ years since our founding in 2017. We couldn’t have done it without you!

And last but certainly not least, I want to thank all of the people who made this organization run over these wonderful last 5-1/2 years…

Board members (past and present): Forest Jahnke (WI), Carla Cao (FL), Bryan Lewis (OR), Evelina Avotina (OR), Steve Luse (IA), Joan Pougiales (WI), Jenny Krol (MN), Heather Tischbein (WA), Mark Dilley (MI), Teresa Cisneros (OR), and myself Paul Cienfuegos (OR).

Staff (past and present): Kelly Brown, Eva Riversong, Jen Forti, Michelle Martin, Curt Hubatch, Davi Rios, Tyler Norman, Jimmy Dunson, and Abigail Harris.

Thank you all SO SO MUCH!

Fires, Floods and Terrorism Charges: The escalation of state repression during the climate crisis

The following is a message from Free Jessica Reznicek campaign.


It has been a year since our last webinar “USA v Jessica Reznicek, fighting the criminalization of water protectors”. During this time as Jessica Reznicek sat in prison, over 42 forest defenders in Atlanta have been charged with domestic terrorism, Department of Homeland Security & Ohio Police linked environmentalist Erin Brockovitch to the potential for ‘special interest terrorism’, and the federal government approved the massive oil infrastructure Willow project in Alaska.

As the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report issues a final warning that “swift and drastic action” can avert irrevocable damage to the world, Utah becomes the 19th state to pass a draconian “critical infrastructure” bill where protesting fossil fuel infrastructure can lead to several years in prison. Jessica’s case is not isolated and unfortunately we are truly seeing that what happens to Jessica happens to all of us.

On Tuesday, April 4th at 7:00 pm CDT we are hosting an international webinar to highlight how this frightening trend of human rights abuses is not just sweeping the United States. We will talk with land defenders worldwide who have been targeted by their governments or industry for trying to protect life on Earth. We have an incredible lineup from around the world and we hope you can join us. Our strength is in our solidarity.

Please find the info below and register here!

As global temperatures rise and make record-breaking floods and fires daily headlines, national governments repeatedly protect the corporations that fuel the climate crisis and incarcerate those who challenge them. Around the world the communities that attempt to protect and preserve their environment are increasingly met with terrorism charges, assasination, and egregious human rights abuses. In this international webinar we will explore the questions:

Does protecting clean water or taking climate action make you a terrorist?

What are the implications of governments labeling their population terrorists for political action?

Our panelists include organizers from the youth climate movement in the Philippines, the Palestinian liberation movement, the climate justice struggle in Germany, the Indigenous land defense movement in Honduras, the Campaign to Free Jessica Reznicek, and Stop Cop City in Atlanta GA.
The panelists will discuss their experiences with criminalization and how the growing repression of land defenders affects us all.

  • Marlon Kautz, Atlanta Solidarity Fund. #StopCopCity in Atlanta, GA.
  • Sandra Tamari, Adalah Justice Project. Palestinian Liberation Movement.
  • Michèle Winkler, Grundrechtekomitee. German Climate Justice movement.
  • Alab Ayroso, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines. Youth Climate Movement in the Philippines.
  • Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres, COPINH-Indigenous land defense in Honduras.
  • Friends of Jessica from The Campaign to Free Jessica Reznicek.


Eco-Terrorist or Water Protector? Jessica Reznicek Appeals Terrorism Charges

Eco-Terrorist or Water Protector? Jessica Reznicek Appeals Terrorism Charges

Oral arguments for a federal appeal in the high profile case of environmental activist Jessica Reznicek will be heard by the 8th circuit court of appeal on May 13. In a defining moment for the climate justice movement and for all civil rights, the court will decide whether or not to uphold a “domestic terrorist enhancement” that an Iowa court applied to Reznicek’s prison sentence. Reznicek is expected to argue that the terrorism enhancement was both illegally and unjustly applied.

In 2016, Jessica Reznicek took action to stop the construction of Dakota Access Pipeline by dismantling construction equipment and pipeline valves. In 2021 she was sentenced to 8 years in prison with a domestic terrorism enhancement.

Under normal conditions Jess would have been sentenced to 37 months, but the terrorism enhancement resulted in a sentence of 96 months. She was also ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution to Energy Transfer corporation.

The appeal is supported by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), National Lawyers Guild, Water Protectors Legal Collective, and the Climate Defense Project. “If Jessica Reznicek’s acts can be punished as terrorism,” says an amicus brief filed by CCR, “the United States will have moved so far past the international consensus as to be operating in a completely different realm.”

  • WHAT: Oral arguments for federal appeal, U.S.A. v. Jessica Reznicek. Case # 21-2548
  • WHO: United States Court of Appeals- 8th Circuit, DAPL activist Jessica Reznicek
  • WHEN: Friday, May 13 at 8:30 CST
  • WHERE: St Paul, Minnesota United States Court, Courtroom 5A. Closed to the public in person. Listen in by calling 1-888-363-4749 Code 4423562. Jessica Reznicek is 5th on the docket.

In 2017 Jessica Reznicek and a partner from the Catholic Worker Movement publicly claimed responsibility for acts of vandalism against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In February, 2021 she pled guilty to a single count of Conspiracy to Damage an Energy Facility. In June, 2021 an Iowa judge imposed a “terrorism enhancement” at the prosecution’s request and sentenced Reznicek to 8 years in prison with restitution of over $3 million to be paid to Energy Transfer LLC. No one was injured by Reznicek’s acts of civil disobedience.

Although federal courts have ruled the Dakota Access Pipeline was constructed illegally, excessive punishment for people like Jessica, who tried to stop it, is on the rise – and scrutiny is growing of fossil fuel industry influence in the process. Wrote Jessica in a 2021 statement to the court, “I am not a political person. I am certainly not a terrorist. I am simply a person who cares deeply about an extremely basic human right that is under threat: Water.”

To support Jess’s legal case, visit https://supportjessicareznicek.com/.

Photo: Occupy Des Moines – Day 113: Jess Reznicek Arrested, by Justin Norman. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

1st letter from political prisoner Jessica Reznicek

1st letter from political prisoner Jessica Reznicek

Free Jessica Reznicek

BREAKING: As Joe Biden talks of being a climate leader at #COP26 in Glasgow we received our first letter & update from #JessicaReznicek for the people. Jessica is a climate / water protector political prisoner in the U.S. who was labeled a terrorist just months ago by the US government for her nonviolent action against #DAPL. She asked we share this with all of you!

By Jessica Reznicek


Hello Dear Friends!

I am reaching back out to you to express gratitude for your love and support. These are without doubt difficult times, but your kindness helps to soften the blow. The human spirit certainly is resilient and with your prayers and friendship I am able to overcome obstacles much more gratefully.

A few updates in my world: Through the help of many supporters I am excited to say I have sent out my admissions form to the University of Colorado and in January plan to be enrolled in B.S. Sociology program.

I’ve been approved to volunteer at snow shoveling this coming winter. I’m so happy to very soon be getting outdoors more!

In 2 weeks I’ll be completing a tutoring program and will soon be tutoring my fellow inmates in GED classes, creative writing, empowering women courses and more. Great opportunity for me given so many obstacles.

I am making progress in being accepted into the PAWS program. I am currently being recommended to fill a position that will be opening in January. The new puppies will be arriving at the end of December.

As for hobbie I’m drawing a lot and learning to play the piano. Super peace-giving pastimes.

Anyway, I love you all. I truly do. I am human, so it would be dishonest to not share the other side of things. I’m battling depression and at times still in shock about where I am and for how long I’ll be here. One day at a time! Thank you again for your prayers and love, Peace, Jessica Reznicek”


Please continue to share Jessica’s story as her appeal & petition move forward!


“Water Protectors not Terrorists. Free Jessica Reznicek” T-Shirts

#FreeJessicaReznicek  #COP26Glasgow

Banner image: Tony Webster/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

UPDATE on Jessica Reznicek’s case! SIGN THE PETITION “Protecting Water is Never Terrorism: Repeal Terrorist Enhancement!”, and Free Jessica WEBSITE LAUNCH!

UPDATE on Jessica Reznicek’s case! SIGN THE PETITION “Protecting Water is Never Terrorism: Repeal Terrorist Enhancement!”, and Free Jessica WEBSITE LAUNCH!

Update from July 23, 2021

Contact: freejessicareznicek@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/freejessrez
Website: Supportjessicareznicek.com
Featured image photo credit: Christina Yurena Zerr

Since sentencing Jessica has remained on house arrest at the Des Moines Catholic Worker, with her cat Noni who has offered constant comfort and solidarity. The United States Department of Justice has notified Jessica Reznicek that she is scheduled to report to Waseca, MN Federal Correctional Institution on Aug 11th at 2pm. Our hearts are filled with feelings of love and gratitude from all the requests to write letters of support to Jessica. Once she is in prison we will launch a letter writing campaign with all the information and directions on how to do so.

The 8th Circuit United States Court of Appeals has set a preliminary deadline of August 19th for an appeals brief to be filed. The appeal will be focusing on Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger’s misuse of terrorism enhancements at Jessica’s sentencing.

Despite federal authorities use of ‘terrorism’ language to describe Reznicek’s actions, no person was harmed by her actions, nor was she technically convicted of any terrorism-related crime. In plain language, there are already laws on books to punish people for arson, and without the domestic terrorism enhancement Jessica would be looking at less than half of the 8 year sentence she has wrongfully received.

ADD YOUR NAME TO THE PETITION: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protecting-water-is-never-terrorism-repeal-jessica-rezniceks-terrorist-enhancement?source=direct_link&

In the meantime, Jessica remains upbeat and heart-strong as she is receiving enormous amounts of support, solidarity and love from folks around the globe. She is currently exploring ways to earn her bachelor degree while in prison through prison correspondence education programs. For more information on Jessica’s case and to continue to support Jessica visit our website: supportjessicareznicek.com

If you are on organization that would like to add your name to the petition or support team fill out this form: https://forms.gle/EVP17qvNmgp5AYRRA

Thank you for your support!

Love and solidarity,

Jessica and the Jessica Support Team

Update from August 11, 2021

Jessica Reznicek self surrenders for an unjust sentence: appeal and petition move forward.

Contact: freejessicareznicek@gmail.com

Waseca, MN– Today water protector Jessica Reznicek self-reported to the Waseca Federal Correctional Facility to begin serving her 8 year prison sentence for the actions she took to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Jessica spent the week leading up to her imprisonment emotionally preparing with her spiritual community. When asked how she felt she said:

“Today I feel sad to be saying my final goodbyes to loved ones. I am strengthened, however, knowing that I’m still standing with integrity during this very important moment in history, as there truly is no other place to be standing at a time like this.”

Jessica’s harsh sentence was the result of a domestic terrorism enhancement that federal prosecutors are increasingly using against water protectors and climate justice activists who endanger the fossil fuel industries profits. Jessica is still actively pursuing an appeal. Her lead attorney Bill Quigley gave an update: “The legal team is working hard on this appeal to challenge the length of the sentence and to reverse the terrorism enhancement. A number of environmental organizations have agreed to consider signing onto amicus or friend of the court briefs supporting Jessica. The deadline for filing briefs is currently August 19 but we expect that will be pushed back at least a month.”

Jessica and her support team are asking the public to sign this petition to take a stand against the criminalization of water protectors. So far over 5,600 have signed along over 50 organizations including Veterans for Peace, MN350, National Lawyers Guild, CODEPINK, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, About Face: Veterans Against the War, and Center for Protest Law and Litigation.

A statement from the support team read “It is important to highlight this moment. Only days ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their most dire report yet, calling it a code red for humanity. We’re in a moment when scientists, indigenous people, and global ecosystems sound the alarm, and over a dozen state governments in the US introduce critical infrastructure bills targeting pipeline protestors under the guise of “national security”. A moment when the sheriffs and police in Minnesota arrest over 600 people fighting to stop the Line 3 pipeline and charge 100 with the new critical infrastructure laws and dozens more with felonies. A moment when a federal judge orders Jessica Reznicek to pay 3.2 million in restitution to a fossil fuel corporation responsible for building a world that humans cannot survive in, a moment when, today, Jessica reports to prison to start an 8 year sentence labeled a terrorist by Joe Biden’s Department of Justice. What happens to Jessica, happens to all of us! In this moment we must unequivocally tell Joe Biden protecting water is never terrorism. Acting on clear directives from climate science with direct action is never terrorism. ”

When life on this planet is under attack, as Jessica says “there truly is no other place to be standing at a time like this.”

Add your name to the Petition:


For more information on Jessica’s case and to continue to support Jessica visit our website: supportjessicareznicek.com

If you are on organization that would like to add your name to the petition or support team fill out this form: https://forms.gle/EVP17qvNmgp5AYRRA


Is Jessica Reznicek A Terrorist?

Is Jessica Reznicek A Terrorist?

By Paul Deaton in the Blog for Iowa.

Jessica Reznicek, a 39-year-old environmental activist and Catholic Worker from Des Moines, Iowa, was sentenced in federal court June 30 to eight years in prison for her efforts to sabotage construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

In November 2016, Reznicek and Ruby Montoya, a former preschool teacher, set fire to heavy construction equipment at a pipeline worksite in Buena Vista County, Iowa.

Over the next several months, the women used oxyacetylene torches, tires and gasoline-soaked rags to burn equipment and damage pipeline valves along the line from Iowa to South Dakota. Their actions reportedly caused several million dollars’ worth of damage and delayed construction for weeks.

Continue reading this article in the Blog for Iowa