On May 8th, Front and Centered member organizations, community of color-based organizations, and leaders of color from across the state will be meeting in Seattle to strategize how we move forward on climate change and Initiative 1631: The Protect Washington Act. The gathering is the first formal step of how we organize around and in parallel with the ballot measure and continue building an equitable environmental justice movement.
We will be sharing our collective work to date—discussing voter of color engagement strategies and how we ensure communities of color are at the center of solutions to address pollution and climate change.
The event is part of the organizing efforts being spearheaded by newly-hired Community Action and Organizing Director Nat Morales.
“Over the years, I’ve been hired, or invited to a table, or asked out for a coffee to ‘pick my brain’ about how I—a brown, queer, immigrant—think white-led organizations could do better, how I recommend they engage our communities better, who I recommend they talk to in community,” said Morales about what spurred them to join the Front and Centered team. “It happened often enough to make me take a step back and reevaluate where I spend my energy, power, self-acceptance and patience. And how I’m able to invest that time, energy, and love into fighting for environmental justice for our community, which has historically been disproportionately affected by corporate polluters leaving their mess in our backyards.”
The work Morales will be focused on in the immediate future will be organizing Front and Centered membership around gathering enough signatures for I-1631—also known as the Protect Washington Act—to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative needs over 300,000 valid signatures from Washington voters, which means we need your help.
Now is the time we come together to fight for our survival, our justice, and our existence. Over the course of the next few months—through organizing, signature-gathering, and having conversations about what matters most when it comes to environmental justice in our communities and what we need to get there—we will need to tap into our unshakable strength.
This moment has been a long time coming. For the past three years, Front and Centered has been thinking about and organizing for this initiative and beyond. Our focus has been on how we leverage our collective power and inherent subject matter expertise in our communities to say loudly and clearly what we’ve been telling white-led organizations our entire existence.
“It’s been only about a week since I stepped into my new role at Front and Centered, and I can already tell there is something special happening with this coalition and this campaign,” said Morales. “I stepped into this new role because this is where I want to spend my time building up and supporting community and where I have an opportunity to live out the personal values passed down from my abuelas and community, not just in everyday life, but in my nine-to-five as well.”
I-1631 represents the brilliance of our people. It ensures our families remain healthy and our communities thrive—while cleaning up our air we breathe and the water we drink. It holds the largest polluters accountable and directly benefits the communities most affected. Join us in making this future a reality. Signature gathering is already fully underway.