Communities of Color ‘Front and Centered’ this Earth Day

Communities of color are leading a new environmental movement in Washington State – a movement in which equity for people on the frontlines of environmental injustice is centered.

People with lower incomes and people of color get the brunt of the fossil fuel economy, suffering from a deadly combination of local pollution on top of social and economic disparities.  Communities of color are also hit first and worst by global warming and the disruptive forces of a climate change on our homes, the communities we live-in, and our jobs.

Yet, when it comes to the transition away from extraction and pollution, the issue of justice and the leadership and ideas of the people most impacted are often forgotten, ignored or sidelined.

We call on climate advocates, decision-makers and all people in Washington State to make communities of color, indigenous people, and people with lower incomes and wealth, in the Global North and Global South, ‘Front and Centered’ this Earth Day – and every day moving forward.  Here is just a small sample of what communities of color are already doing to lead the way:

On Earth Day, A New Proposal Provides a Groundbreaking Model for Climate Justice

On Earth Day, A New Proposal Provides a Groundbreaking Model for Climate Justice

Today, the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy released a new model for climate policy.

Our People, Our Planet, Our Power—Community Led Research in South Seattle

Our People, Our Planet, Our Power—Community Led Research in South Seattle

Seeking to put these principles of climate justice into action at the neighborhood level, last year Puget Sound Sage and Got Green partnered on a community-based participatory research project (CBPR). We interviewed 175 people predominantly people of color, people living in Southeast Seattle and people with low incomes. We also interviewed 30 organizations with the goal of determining collective environmental priorities.

Farmworkers Lead the Way To Climate Justice

Farmworkers Lead the Way To Climate Justice

We at Community to Community (C2C) have been in solidarity with the Boycott Driscoll’s campaign led by Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) since 2013. We believe that movements are most successful when led by the most affected. It’s not often, if at all, we see a union that is led by indigenous people, FUJ union members are Mixteco and Triqui people and they are dramatically shifting the ways in which we think about farm worker organizing. We have learned from Cesar Chavez and the California farm workers’ strategies on winning contracts using the boycott and in WA State we are continuing that legacy. FUJ is making history not only in taking on a corporate giant but in the ways...
First Ever Black Earth Day in Tacoma

First Ever Black Earth Day in Tacoma

As I really honed in on what I wanted the event to accomplish it became clear that I wanted a space that gives Black People an opportunity to come together with each other in honor of our mama earth and in celebration of Blackness. We are people of the Earth, yet for many reasons, including the historical trauma of American chattel slavery, many of us have wounded relationships with the Earth. This wound impacts how we live and grow as people. Black Earth Day is one of several ways that we are working to organize in the neighborhood towards health, well-being, and freedom.

Latinos Fight Oil Trains in Vancouver WA

Latinos Fight Oil Trains in Vancouver WA

The would-be oil terminal’s fence-line community is Fruit Valley, where many of Vancouver’s Latino residents live. Nearly half of neighborhood residents live below the poverty level, compared to 18.7% of Vancouver residents in general. This community faces economic and linguistic barriers to health care and other resources that would be necessary to protect themselves from chronic negative impacts to air quality or to respond in the event of an oil spill or explosion. The state council that reviews applications like this recently released a review of the proposed terminal, called the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, and found that residents of this neighborhood would be among the...
Environmental Justice Critical to AAPI Political Engagement

Environmental Justice Critical to AAPI Political Engagement

Cultural, linguistic and social barriers hinder the AAPI community’s full participation in our democracy. Someone may come from a country without the right to vote and explaining the concept of voting and how it works takes time and sensitivity. They may have been persecuted for expressing their political beliefs, or where voter intimidation is common, suffered personal trauma. Creating specific and targeted civic engagement strategies that are inclusive, accessible and reflect the diversity of languages and cultures that make up the AAPI population are essential. In addition to addressing systematic barriers to full participation in our democracy, AAPIs must be engaged on the issues...

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