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