Our Power Festival Showcases Green Organizations

Photo Essay • Denis Perez

Nicholl Park became an environmental awareness hub during the third annual Richmond Our Power Festival on August 12.

The event, organized by Richmond Our Power Coalition and Asian Pacific Environment Network, gave residents exposure to environmental organizations, cultures and messages.

“The Our Power festival is about celebrating the resilience of Richmond residents as a frontline environmental justice community,” said campaign coordinator Ratha Li.

The festival is held annually around the date of the 2012 Chevron refinery fire.

“We want to go in a direction where our air quality, democracy, and standard of living is not compromised,” said Lai.

Oakland resident Gurinder Wadhwa said it was an opportunity for his kids to be exposed to different organizations working to make Richmond a healthy and sustainable community.

“I want them to understand [that] their environment and their health are connected,” he said. 

The festival opened with a blessing ceremony by Danza Teokali, Idle No More SF Bay, and a Baci ceremony by Laotion elders. The event featured diverse performances from Native American speakers, Aztec ceremony dancers and RYSE Center singers and more cultural performances.

The groups performed on a stage powered by bicycle-generated electricity, showing off clean energy initiatives.

Urban Tilth unveiled its own clean energy bike that was attached to a blender, offering free smoothies to participants who pedaled to crush the ice.

Lai estimated that there were about 30 organizational booths and 20 activities scheduled throughout the day.

“Every year it gets bigger and next year we will grow more,” he said. “I think the festival showcases the community growing and working together and making new traditions based on valuing communities, health and environmental sustainability.”

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