Celebrating the Enduring Legacy of Black Activists Who Birthed the Environmental Justice Movement
Feb 24, 2023
Across the globe, political violence and climate change-fueled extreme weather are leaving people no choice but to abandon the places that they call home. The inhumane treatment of Haitian people seeking refuge from political violence and natural disasters — both made worse by climate change — is simply unacceptable and must end now. In the near term, the Biden administration can care for refugees by providing asylum and ending expulsions through Title 42. In the long term, tackling the climate crisis is a moral obligation.
September marked the end of Congress’ August recess and the beginning of the House markup process of the Build Back Better Act — a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact transformational climate legislation that centers on jobs and justice. Thanks to your support, LCV is continuing unabated with our unprecedented advocacy and organizing campaign to pass this Act.
As part of our campaign efforts this month, we publicly called on Congress to pass the “Climate Test” by putting the country on a clear path to cutting climate pollution in half by 2030. In partnership with a coalition of 19 other environmental and public health organizations, LCV sent a letter asking Congress to create new clean energy tax incentives, transition the U.S. to 100% clean electricity, and substantively invest in communities of color and low-wealth communities that are too often on the front lines of the climate crisis.
LCV is so committed to ensuring that Congress enacts game-changing climate action that we also announced that our affiliated political committee, LCV Action Fund, will only consider endorsements for senators and representatives who support the necessary provisions and a final reconciliation package that enable the U.S. to cut its carbon pollution in half by 2030. The decision speaks to the once-in-a-generation opportunity lawmakers now have to enact historic progress on climate, jobs, and justice.
And now, here is LCV’s Top 5 for September:
1) LCV’s Chispa Honors Latinx Heritage Month
This month marked the start of Latinx Heritage Month (LHM), which runs from September 15 through October 15. LCV’s Chispa kicked off LHM with the launch of a new website — check it out here. As part of LHM, and under the theme of “Celebrando Our Power,” Chispa is highlighting the work of each Chispa state affiliate and releasing exciting content each week that encourages people to take climate action. Additionally, Chispa National Communications & Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez spoke at an event held by Maryland Sierra Club, Chispa Maryland, and Eco Moms to celebrate Latinx leaders and discuss how environmental injustices disproportionately impact Latinx communities. Stay up to date with all of Chispa’s Latinx Heritage Month activity on Twitter.
2) LCV Statement on Wrap-up of Build Back Better Act Committee Markups
Throughout September, LCV and our state affiliates conducted activities both inside and outside D.C. to keep pressure on key House committee members and chairs to include ambitious provisions on climate, justice, and jobs as they marked up the Build Back Better Act. On September 15 —Speaker Pelosi’s deadline for the committee mark-up process and a critical milestone for moving the Build Back Better reconciliation package forward — LCV released the following statement from Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld:
“We applaud Democratic committee chairs, members, and leadership for prioritizing the transformational legislation we need for climate, clean energy, justice, and jobs during the committee mark-up process. We are thrilled to see so many climate, conservation, and environmental justice provisions included that are critical to cutting climate pollution in half by 2030. We urge Congress to pass the Climate Test and swiftly finalize, pass, and send the Build Back Better Act to President Biden, which will create a more clean, just, and equitable future for all. Communities across the country are experiencing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, and this is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to address it in a way that also addresses racial and economic inequity and rewards work not wealth.” Read the full statement and see LCV’s priorities for each House committee here.
3) ICYMI: Rally For Climate Action Outside the U.S. Capitol
LCV, Climate Power, and Climate Action Campaign (CAC) hosted a rally for climate action outside the U.S. Capitol with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), Senators Ben Ray Luján (NM), Tim Kaine (VA), Tina Smith (MN), Martin Heinrich (NM), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and Representatives Peter DeFazio (OR-4) and Sean Casten (IL-6). The event was moderated by LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld and highlighted the urgent need to pass the Build Back Better Act with ambitious investments in an equitable clean energy future. Watch the full recording here (VIDEO).
Related: LCV’s Tiernan Sittenfeld spoke with the National Journal about how Congress must address both climate and inequality via the reconciliation process. (Article behind paywall.)
4) HUGE VICTORY: “Most Equitable Climate Bill in America” is Signed into Law in Illinois
This month, thanks in part to the work of LCV’s Clean Energy for All campaign and our state affiliate, the Illinois Environmental Council, the Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) passed in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly. After years of education, movement building, and advocacy, the legislation was quickly signed into law by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker a few days after its passage. CEJA — which is being hailed as the “most equitable climate bill in America,” — is a set of bold and ambitious climate policies that center racial and economic justice, and it makes Illinois the 13th state to commit to 100% clean energy. Read the full press release from the Illinois Environmental Council, LCV’s state affiliate.
5) LCV’s Climate Action Watch Party
To highlight the need for climate action now, LCV hosted a virtual Climate Action Watch Party with a star-studded roster of speakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Connie Britton, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), and former U.S. Representative and LCV Board Member Donna Edwards. Event speakers underscored the urgent need to address the climate crisis at the speed and scale that science and justice demand, and LCV provided attendees with an Advocacy Tool Kit to help them take action immediately after the event. (You can too!)
In case you were unable to attend the full event, check out some of the most powerful and inspiring moments from the Climate Action Watch Party, including: