Chispa Newsletter June-August 2018

Oct 5, 2018

As we cap off Hispanic Heritage Month, Chispa is celebrating the many ways Latinx communities contribute to and help lead conservation and climate justice efforts across the country.

A Warm Welcome to Our New National Director!

Chispa is excited to welcome our new national director, Fernando Cazares!

Fernando was born in Michoacán, Mexico and migrated to South Central Los Angeles, CA in 1990. He studied Public Policy at Occidental College in Los Angeles and received a Masters Degree in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning from Princeton University. He has spent 15 years working within local government, Congress, and electoral campaigns. In 2013, he built Latino grasstops support for the Clean Power Plan and, most recently, he provided technical assistance advancing climate resilience investments by municipal and nonprofit stakeholders. In his free time, Fernando likes to watch and play soccer (he even went to the 2018 World Cup in Russia!) and enjoys salsa/Latin dancing.

Here is Fernando’s message: “I am excited to work with the Chispa family and channel our collective vision to grow engagement, leadership and power within communities of color, especially around environmental, racial and climate justice issues across the country.”

Celebrating La Madre Tierra During Latino Conservation Week

This summer, Chispa joined communities across the country in celebrating Latino Conservation Week (LCW) by enjoying the outdoors with friends and family. Protégete took a team of volunteers to Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Chimayo Sanctuary, where Coloradans got to experience firsthand the landscapes and wildlife they fight so hard to protect. Chispa Nevada hosted a picnic at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park with other community partners, while Chispa Maryland learned about clean up efforts as they sailed down the Anacostia River.

Check out what Chispa Maryland director Ramon Palacio-Calvo had to say about LCW.

Taking the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños Fight to the National Governors Association

More children ride school buses every day than other form of public transit. That’s why more than 125 parents, children, activists, and supporters of the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign joined A People’s Convening: Rally for Clean Air, rallying and marching at the National Governors Association (NGA) summer meeting in Santa Fe. There, we called on governors to prioritize children’s health by investing Volkswagen settlement funds in electric school buses.

During the NGA events, Chispa families met with with Governor Jay Inslee of Washington. A New Mexico mother and Juntos organizer, Martha Favela, shared her family’s struggles with respiratory problems because of diesel pollution. Governor Inslee thanked Martha and Chispa for leading the fight for electric school buses and shared with us why he chose to invest Washington’s Volkswagen settlement funds in electric school buses: his three grandkids. We thank Governor Inslee for listening to our families and for supporting a #CleanRide4Kids.

Growing Our Team

Our family continues to grow! Chispa Connecticut graduated another six promotores at Waterbury City Hall, where State Representative Reyes welcomed our newest community organizers. Chispa Nevada also hosted a graduation for dozens of promotores in Las Vegas.

Saving LWCF

One of America’s best parks program is at risk. Chispa continuously pressed Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) before it expired on September 30th. Chispa Arizona spent a day exploring the wonders of Grand Canyon National Park and Slide Rock State Park to draw attention to the many cherished parks projects LWCF has funded over the years. Chispa AZ also hosted a cafecito with Representative Raúl Grijalva and community members, discussing the critical need to #SaveLWCF. Meanwhile, Chispa Nevada hosted a community fiesta with more than 50 Nevadans to celebrate the ways the LWCF has helped the state’s Latinx community enjoys the outdoors.

Chispa Nevada, Chispa Arizona, Chispa Maryland, and Juntos: Our Air, Our Water also teamed up with the Hispanic Access Foundation to host screenings of “Land, Water y Comunidad,” a documentary highlighting the Latinx community’s connection to LWCF in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and Albuquerque.

Holding Senators Accountable to People, Not Polluters

In response to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s announcement that former Arizona U.S. Senator Jon Kyl will replace late Arizona Senator John McCain, our friends at Chispa Arizona said it best: “Governor Ducey has let down every Arizonan who wishes to breathe clean air and drink clean water.” During Kyl’s previous time in the Senate, he repeatedly put polluters over people, voting time and time again against regulations to reduce pollution and siding with his friends in the gas and oil industry. He even voted to continue subsidies for the oil industry! As he assumes his post, Chispa Arizona and its partners across the state will hold Kyl accountable to the clean air and clean water Arizonans demand.

Stopping Kavanaugh

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Chispa spoke out against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the highest court on the land. Confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court would put communities of color at risk on numerous fronts — immigrants’ rights, environmental justice, access to health care services, just to mention a few. Chispa Arizona Senior Organizer Teo Argueta spoke passionately about the need to reject any nominee that doesn’t serve our communities.

Chispa Joins GreenLatinos for Advocacy on the Hill

Chispa also participated in GreenLatinos Advocacy Day and Forum in Washington, D.C., meeting with several members of Congress and sharing why communities of color care about public lands, clean energy, and clean air and water for our children.

Protesting the Rollback of Clean Car Standards

Chispa Nevada mom Emily Zamora published an op-ed in Univision explaining how the Trump administration’s rollback of clean car standards will hurt children like her son William, who suffers from asthma. Chispa supporters throughout the country joined rallies and press conferences criticizing the Trump administration’s decision, which will result in increased air pollution and cause corresponding lung and heart diseases.

In Solidarity With the People’s Climate Movement

Communities across the country joined the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice events this past September, and Chispa participated by rallying, planting community gardens, hosting art and healing exhibitions, and marching for environmental and worker justice. Chispa Connecticut remind us that during this time, we can’t forget the people of Puerto Rico, who continue to suffer the aftereffects of Hurricane Maria.