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Communities of Color Unite for Climate Justice

Leaders of color at climate justice summit

At the Day Break Star Indian Cultural Center on November 6, Communities of Color for Climate Justice gathered together from across Washington State to discuss climate change and its impacts. This was the first statewide environmental justice meeting of color of color advocates.  Panelists discussed how climate change impacts people of color and how leaders of color elevating solutions from their communities.

A panel lead by Tony Lee, Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Network discussed possible solutions underscoring the need to build partnerships and establish deeper understanding across previous boundaries. Don Sampson, the current Climate Change Coordinator for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and Executive Director of the Institute for Tribal Government at Portland State University, delivered the afternoon’s keynote. Sampson emphasized an increased responsibility and need for partnership between tribes and the government. The meeting also highlighted the need for community engagement in order to build the collective power necessary to impact climate change and create a healthy future for all communities.

By the end of the day the summit participants had established a number of goals, which included strengthening voices and building strategies for communities of color, educating citizens about the impacts of climate change, and using effective models of advocacy.