This Black History Month, LCV and the entire environmental movement are celebrating Black leaders who are at the forefront of advancing environmental and climate justice. These leaders include the barrier-breaking officials within the Biden-Harris administration who are among the first African Americans to serve in their roles, as well as local Black leaders of the Conservation Voter Movement who are building power for their communities through grassroots organizing.
All of these leaders are making history right now by pushing for transformative environmental and climate policies that center equity, invest in Black and Brown communities historically overburdened by pollution, and deliver cleaner air and water for all. As our nation confronts the interconnected crises of climate change, racial injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic inequality, these leaders’ experience, influence, and activism are vital to our movement’s ability to secure a healthy, safe, and just future for all.
Here are LCV’s Top 5 Stories of February 2021:
Earlier this month, LCV released our 2020 National Environmental Scorecard, a nationally recognized yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of members of Congress. The new Scorecard reveals a stark contrast between the approaches that the House and Senate majorities’ leadership teams took on environmental progress and the crises plaguing our nation, and it includes votes that reflect LCV’s belief that these struggles are intertwined and must be addressed together. For the first time, the 2020 National Environmental Scorecard includes racial justice-related votes in Congress on removing public monuments to racism and policing and criminal justice reform.
While the diverse, pro-environment majority in the House of Representatives prioritized climate action and relief for communities on the front lines of the crises, the Republican-controlled Senate blocked progress at almost every turn. In fact, the 2020 Scorecard can tell this story using only two numbers: the House majority’s leadership received a 2020 average score of 100%, while the Senate majority’s leadership received an average score of 8%. Read more here.
Using data from the National Environmental Scorecard, LCV released a new report that examines the environmental records of members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), collectively referred to as the Tri-Caucus. The report details how members of the Tri-Caucus were champions of strong environmental policies that address environmental injustice, helped chair a record number of hearings about climate change, and led on many of the critical pro-environmental bills during the 116th Congress.
“Members of the Tri-Caucus have championed important pro-environment legislation rooted in justice and equity that has set the stage for the 117th Congress and the Biden administration to act swiftly and boldly — LCV applauds their history-making leadership and vision,” said LCV Legislative Representative Darien Davis.
This is the fourth year that LCV has published a report on the Tri-Caucuses environmental leadership.
Read the full 2020 report, titled “These Votes Have Impacts” here.
On February 4, the Chispa family celebrated the much-anticipated launch of the Chispa Florida program with a Facebook Live! event that featured a performance by Orlando-based Puerto Rican musician Nohemy and Florida state legislator Carlos G. Smith, who highlighted the importance of lifting up environmental justice work and the leadership of the Chispa Florida and Florida Conservation Voters team. Local community partner organizations also joined the virtual event, during which the Chispa Florida team discussed their commitment and plans to build grassroots power and ways to get involved.
“We are looking forward to building power and building community leadership in a state where Latinx communities are so key,” said Chispa National Director Johana Vicente. “We know that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues, and we also know that we are leaders in this movement. We are excited to continue building the base of leaders who are going to make an impact and have a say in decision making for a clean energy future.” Watch the Chispa Florida launch event in full here.
As part of a larger effort to encourage the Biden administration to take swift, ambitious action on climate, LCV and Climate Power launched a television ad supporting President Joe Biden’s early action on climate and environmental justice via his executive orders. The ad, which will air on cable TV, recognizes President Biden’s historic actions during the first days of his presidency to restore America’s leadership on climate, including centering environmental justice, transitioning to 100% clean energy, and creating high-quality, good-paying union jobs.
“We’ve already seen the single biggest day for climate action in more than a decade, and this is only the beginning for President Biden and Vice President Harris,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. “This is our moment.” The television ad comes on the heels of a digital ad campaign launched by LCV last month to call for bold action on the climate crisis from the Biden administration. Watch the ad, titled “Our Moment”, here.
In case you missed it: On the day before the Inauguration, LCV released our initial policy priorities for the new Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and newly designated Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
To hold our elected leaders to their campaign promises and pass the ambitious legislative agenda needed to build a more just, equitable, and healthy society, we’re going to need your help. Start by checking out the policy priorities we are calling on President Biden and Congress to enact.
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