Sat 22 Jul 2023

Heaven at The Masquerade

Doors 7:00 pm / $28 ADV / All Ages

Join us for a special evening ft. activists Chris Smalls and Steven Donziger in conversation and featuring special guests, presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and Jessica Burbank! Presented by Little Secret. Special guest performance by Mariah Parker. Hosted by Black Kids, The Bakery, Frances Fisher, Brewing Union of GA, and Locate S,1!


Union organizer Chris Smalls and human rights attorney Steven Donziger both did the impossible – they slayed multinational corporate Goliaths. This summer these two ground-breaking activists are launching a multi-city speaking tour – Brooklyn, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and Denver – to share their stories and challenge audiences with a new way of thinking about politics. Proceeds from their speaking tour will go toward benefiting the Amazon Labor Union and Donziger-Amazon Defense Fund.

Chris Smalls took on Amazon – and won. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Smalls led a worker walkout protesting the lack of safety measures for employees at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York. Smalls was fired that same day for his actions. After his dismissal, Smalls founded the Congress of Essential Workers and launched a campaign to form a union at the warehouse. Despite Amazon deploying illegal union-busting tactics and launching a smear campaign against Smalls, two years later they made history by winning the vote to unionize. Named by Time magazine as one of 2022’s “most influential people”, Smalls now serves as president of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU).

Steven Donziger took on Chevron – and won. Twenty years ago, human rights lawyer Steven Donziger was asked by the indigenous rights group Frente de Defensa de la Amazonía to visit a region in Ecuador known as the “Amazon Chernobyl” to help them win compensation from oil giant Texaco (now Chevron) after decades of toxic pollution from oil drilling operations. Declaring it looked like an “apocalyptic nightmare,” Donziger filed suit against Chevron, ultimately winning a $9.5 billion judgment in an Ecuadorian court.

Chevron retaliated against Donziger by filing a civil SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) against him in 2011 in the United States. When the judge ordered Donziger to surrender his computer and cell phone, he refused, citing attorney–client privilege. In response, Donziger was charged with misdemeanor contempt of court for his refusal and imprisoned for six months and then detained under house arrest, making him the only attorney in U.S. history to be jailed on a misdemeanor contempt charge. Today, Donziger is fighting to have his rights restored, continuing to push for Chevron to pay their $9.5 billion judgment in Ecuador, and protecting other activists like him who fight for human rights.

While Chris Smalls (34 years old) and Steven Donziger (61) are from different generations and hail from different backgrounds, they both have successfully taken on – and defeated – two of the largest corporations in the world, but at great personal cost.

Chris and Steven will share their successes (and failures) and pioneering organizing strategies to leverage resources and form powerful, citizen-led alliances to hold corporate perpetrators of environmental crimes and human rights violations fully accountable.