The state of New York is building a massive, green-energy-powered industrial park in Genesee County—the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP). The Genessee Economic Development Center, which is responsible for the development, says its mission is “to facilitate local economic growth and development which fosters investment and job creation for the benefit of our residents and children.”
But Indigenous communities have opposed the project, saying they were not properly consulted. Robin Wall Kimmerer, writer and distinguished teaching professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, has called WNY STAMP a project of “habitat destruction” in a story she wrote for YES!. Kimmerer spoke with YES! Racial Justice Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about Indigenous opposition to the project.
Sonali Kolhatkar is currently the racial justice editor at YES! Media and a writing fellow with Independent Media Institute. She was previously a weekly columnist for Truthdig.com. She is also the host and creator of Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. Sonali won First Place at the Los Angeles Press Club Annual Awards for Best Election Commentary in 2016. She also won numerous awards including Best TV Anchor from the LA Press Club and has also been nominated as Best Radio Anchor 4 years in a row. She is the author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence, and the co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women's Mission. Her forthcoming book is Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (City Lights, 2023). She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. She reflects on her professional path in her 2014 TEDx talk, “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host.” She can be reached at sonalikolhatkar.com