Family Ties: Personal Reflections from Break Free PNW

Break Free PNWA mother-daughter duo, Maya Rommwatt and Carole Romm, give their accounts of Break Free PNW and what it meant to them.

“I joined Break Free PNW as a local organizer here in Portland initially to help plan transportation to and from the area. A week later circumstances outside of my control allowed me to step into the role of lead logistics organizer for Break Free PNW. I had the immeasurable task of planning the transportation, housing, food, and well-being of hundreds of people. Behind-the-scenes organizing work isn’t very glamorous, but I managed to meet and work with several hundred volunteers who helped make Break Free PNW run smoothly. Volunteers took time out of sexier activism to cook for others, help transport folks across Fidalgo Island, staff the info table and medic tent, and set up and break down infrastructure. We couldn’t have pulled this off without their help.

Break Free PNW was a local effort that echoed similar actions all over the world. Our strength is sustained and amplified by the efforts of volunteers, seasoned activists, and folks who are new to the climate justice movement. My work with volunteers at Break Free PNW was shelter in an increasingly urgent cause.”

by Maya Rommwatt


“Because I have foot problems, I rode out in a van to the gathering site for the march. Thus I was there when the marchers arrived. The Swinomish, who were singing and drumming, led the march. What a powerful and inspiring presence they were. I stood near a circle of four young people who sang and drummed as the rest of the procession arrived. I could feel their strong spirit and the strength of their enduring bond to the land, and it evoked in all of us a spiritual connection to the water and the land we were there to protect.

When the Lummi arrived in their canoe, that feeling of deep spirituality grew among us who were gathered there. Many hands helped lift their beautiful hand-crafted boat over the rocky bank, as the Lummi were welcomed to the land of the Swinomish. And we were uplifted to join them in a sacred effort to save their land–and all of our lands.”