Bob Sheldon founded Internationalist Books in 1981. More than 20 years after his tragic death, Bob’s memory endures through the friends, family and community that knew him, the work he did, and the project he began that has continued for decades to bring people together and inspire political action in North Carolina. His example shows us that living a life of conviction creates something that can outlast our own times. We award the Bob Sheldon Award each year in his memory to celebrate collective resistance and groups or individuals whose work nurtures our communities and our commitments to justice.
This year, we have chosen to give the Bob Sheldon Award to the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL). BREDL is a regional, community-based, non-profit organization whose founding principles are earth stewardship, environmental democracy, social justice, and community empowerment. As BREDL celebrates their 30th anniversary this year, we want to honor their rich history of supporting people in defense of the environment and environmental justice. We applaud their style of organizing to support local, autonomous organizing. BREDL chapters work to oppose a range of threats to the environment and human communities across the Southeast, and we encourage everyone to learn more about their work and 30th anniversary celebrations at their website: www.bredl.org.We are especially grateful for BREDL’s work in recent years in the fight against fracking in North Carolina. We are inspired by the work that BREDL is doing to support and grow grassroots resistance with their local chapters, educational materials, speaking tours, thorough research and tenacious monitoring of legislative and industry developments. We believe our communities can work together to defeat fracking before it begins here, and we think the work of BREDL is invaluable to that effort.
We are happy to celebrate this anniversary with them and are proud to honor them with the Bob Sheldon Award. We look forward to presenting and celebrating this award together at the Internationalist Cabaret, at the Nightlight at 405 W. Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill at 9 pm on February 28th.
In the nomination process for this year’s award, many people shared that they wanted to find a way to highlight the ongoing struggles for justice after the death of Jesus “Chuy” Huerta. We felt there was no clear way to acknowledge only one individual or group out of a dynamic and evolving community response to the tragic loss of Chuy and a larger movement against the police. What we want to offer the family is not an award for the tragedy they have been through, but our committed and continuing support. We ask that as people celebrate Bob Sheldon’s memory this year, they find ways to support the Huerta family and the struggle for justice in Durham.