Celebrating the Enduring Legacy of Black Activists Who Birthed the Environmental Justice Movement
Feb 24, 2023
“I’m very surprised. I actually really enjoy it,” says Cynthia V, an LCV member volunteering with LCV’s 2022 GreenRoots program. Though she is “terrified about losing our democracy and our women’s rights,” she says working to elect some of LCV Action Fund’s 50 endorsed climate and environmental justice champions has given her hope.
Cynthia V. with her family. Cynthia is second from the left, with flowers on her dress.
“I’ve never volunteered before, but I decided that I was going to volunteer because I feel like I need to do my due diligence and everything I can to make sure that this election goes in our favor,” Cynthia says. Since its launch, Greenroots volunteers like Cynthia have reached hundreds of thousands of voters by knocking on doors, making phone calls, waving signs, text banking, and letter and postcard writing.
The stakes for climate, justice, and democracy have never been higher in a midterm election year. Cynthia, a grandmother to five granddaughters and recent retiree, feels drawn to climate action because she wants to help improve the quality of life for younger generations. It’s also especially important to her, as a Mexican American and Native American woman, that people in her communities understand how powerful their vote really is.
“I read an article that said the Latino community is going to be the one to decide who wins the midterms, because there is such a large Latino community now throughout the whole country. A lot of my people – I’m Mexican American – a lot of my people don’t know that. And I want them to know that. Just like Black women changed the tide –I think it was in Alabama or Mississippi, several years back — Our people need to know that their vote is going to count. That’s key.”
This cycle, Cynthia is pouring her energy into Arizona’s Senate race, where Mark Kelly is running against Blake Masters. Masters sits on LCV Victory Fund’s 2022 House and Senate Dirty Dozen list of the worst anti-environmental and anti-democracy candidates.
When making phone calls, Cynthia makes it personal by talking to people about what’s at stake for their families. Not having enough food, not having enough money, not being able to pay for tuition, and not having access to reproductive healthcare are all struggles she deeply relates with. She wants everyone to know that no matter what they are going through, their voices count in this election.
“A lot of our people don’t feel as though their voices are going to be heard. When I get on the phone and talk to people, [for example], I find that women take to heart what you say as a woman to a woman. I have convinced a couple of ladies that they need to get out to vote – that they need to take their husbands with them, their children with them – and tell them what is at stake.”
Cynthia is now one of 2,000 LCV members who have collectively made tens of thousands of calls to eligible voters across the country on the importance of getting out to vote this November. People in Cynthia’s life also see how she is not only empowering others, but feeling empowered herself.
Her husband, she recalls, said to her: “I see what you’re doing. Something about this work is fulfilling what you need inside of you.”