FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oak Flat, Arizona
For more information, contact:
Rev. Carol Rose 520-559-9578
Rev. Dr. John Mendez, civil rights leader, retired pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), and clergy activist with the Poor People’s Campaign, will join other people of faith in prayers to save the sacred land of Oak Flat from destruction by a proposed copper mine.
The November 4 “Prayer Rising” will bring together the prayers of Apache leaders and people of various faiths and spiritualities to protect the air, water, land, and spirit of this sacred place.
The U.S. government’s plan to turn over Oak Flat to Resolution Copper threatens Apache religion, identity, and the earth itself. The company has already drained millions of gallons of water from Oak Flat’s underground aquifers, and plans to drain billions more in a state under decades-long drought conditions. Resolution Copper’s foreign parent companies – Rio Tinto and BHP – have left a long legacy of human rights abuses and environmental devastation in their wake.
For the Apache, allowing Resolution Copper to turn Oak Flat into a two-mile wide sinkhole is akin to destroying Mt. Sinai, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Grand Mosque of Mecca, or the Bodh Gaya, the site where the Buddha achieved enlightenment.
As Rev. Dr. Mendez says, “The Apache religion…should be seen as a gift to all other religions in that it may be the only way to save our planet by calling us all back to the whole meaning of creation and to the sacredness of it all. If we recognize the sacredness of it all, we will respect it. We must struggle for that oneness, for the sacredness of all life.” (Navajo Times, October 18, 2021)
In that spirit of oneness, hundreds will gather on November 4 at Oak Flat and from their communities around the world to raise prayers of repentance for the sins of greed and infinite expansionism, songs of blessing for our Mother Earth, and rituals of commitment to protect this sacred land.