HEAL Act stands out in a 2021 legislative session,
fight for just transition off fossil fuels rolls on
“We need a Just Transition away from digging, dumping, and burning fossil fuels.” says Yolanda Matthews, Climate Justice Organizer at Puget Sound Sage and Co-Lead of Front and Centered. “Climate justice won’t be won by listening to big oil, but instead by listening to those in the field, working in the industry, living in high pollution areas, and marching in the streets demanding real change.
“Good policies are made when there is robust engagement with those communities that are most impacted by climate change and pollution. HEAL is an example of that,” says Rosalinda Guillen, Executive Director of Community to Community and Co-Lead of Front and Centered.
We lift our hearts: #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
And yet, demand more accountability and justice:
#MakhiaBryant and #DaunteWright
“…This country is a house. This world, a village. If we are to become a civil community, let us come in unity. Rise up out of the blue. Rise up into the light. Rise up out of the water. Rise up into the sun. Rise up, through the love. Rise up, reach for freedom. Know you are good enough to end the rage, to turn the page. To stand up with pride. To stand up with peace. To lift your voice. To open your eyes. To rise.” – 4/21/21 – Poet, Kwame Alexander, Reflections on the Guilty Verdict
In Washington and across the country, a person’s race, even more than their income, is the most important factor that determines how their health is impacted by climate change and pollution. As highlighted by the frontline voices in our report, Community Report on Environmental Justice, environmental justice (EJ) can be achieved by directing the focus of state agencies to the communities most impacted. The findings of our community report, which helped inform the landmark Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act, offer a firsthand account of how human health is impacted by pollution and climate impacts, and how it can be improved by government focus.
Note: This is a living document, please check back for updates, additional resources, and opportunities to get involved.
The people of Washington state, and Black, Indigenous, and people of color in particular, are facing tremendous challenges as we enter the 2021 legislative session to survive, let alone to thrive. But with this crisis comes unique opportunities to not just cope, but to accelerate systemic change, a Just Transition away from extractive economy toward our vision of climate and environmental justice.
We can make permanent, temporary measures to keep people’s homes connected to electricity, even as we transition off fossil fuels. We can make our transportation and land-use systems align with our needs, like healthy air and water, a secure place to live near transit, and community self determination. We can invest in the green infrastructure communities require to get off oil, gas, and coal and meet our state climate goals. In this pursuit, we can put justice at the center through a new Health Environment for All (HEAL) Act building on the just released Environmental Justice Task Force report.
— JOIN US —
VIRTUAL COMMUNITY BRIEFING
APRIL 9, 2021 – 1:00 PM
Our View from the Frontlines:
What are the Gaps Between
Policy and Practice During this Pandemic?
We seek a Just Transition away from an extraction-based economy to one centered on ecological restoration, community resilience, and social equity, fueled by regenerative resources and cooperative work, governed by deep democracy, and a culture of caring and sacredness.
We envision a Just Transition to a future where our communities and the earth are healed and thriving, our people have dignified work, and our government values, respects, and represents us. We are working for sovereignty and self-sufficiency for our communities so that future generations can thrive. We strive to make racial inequities on all issues a thing of the past, and to ensure that people of color and indigenous people are at the forefront of building equitable, democratic systems and policies that work for their communities. We are working for a future where all communities are healthy, safe, and resilient, and where everyone has equitable access to the building blocks of opportunity and prosperity like a healthy environment free from ecological destruction, affordable housing, and good careers based on safe work with livable wages.
Just Movement Community Report –
Transitioning Transportation in Washington State
Transportation makes up 40% of Washington GHG pollution and is a core contributor to the disproportionate impacts of pollution in Washington State, the most overburdened communities being disportionately communities of color. These impacts literally take years off our lives. Through Front and Centered statewide listening sessions and surveys, Washington’s communities of color named air quality and health, and increasing the quantity and quality of public transit as priorities for action.
While we are winning small battles to shift our economy off extractive resources, we are losing communities to displacement, life expectancy to air pollution, and our future to climate change. Our new report, Accelerating a Just Transition in Washington State: Climate Justice Strategies from the Frontlines, is intended to provide solutions that will allow us to break from business as usual and achieve policies that prioritize equity.
Climate impacts us wherever we live, work, study, and play in Washington State. The compounding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic further reveal that the systems we have created to deal with daunting challenges related to health, the economy, and justice are neither sustainable nor equitable. The measure of health impacts and available remedies during the COVID-19 crisis follow a similar pattern to climate and environmental injustices.
This year was a near breaking point for our frontline communities.
Front and Centered invites you to see, hear, and feel how we look back at 2020 with perspective, and look forward to 2021 with possibilities.
Thank you for all you do to keep the intersection of racial equity and environmental justice front and centered.
Front and Centered, a coalition of over 60 grassroots organizations based in and led by communities of color, has created a Frontline Response Fund to provide immediate and direct assistance for our grantees working to respond to the crisis throughout Washington State due to the financial, social and health impacts of COVID-19 and wildfires.