“Each of them is a tireless warrior that I deeply admire,” says Guadalupe when asked about the community of women she fights alongside. Guadalupe is a volunteer with Chispa Arizona, a program of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) that focuses on organizing the Latinx community in Arizona to increase their political power and fight for environmental justice.
“I love Chispa because it has a great variety of members — children, young people, and adults. But the majority of activists in Chispa are women.”
A week ago, Guadalupe joined other activists for the March for Clean Air, an event in which Chispa AZ participated where several members of the community came together to demand that the EPA regulate harmful soot air pollution at stricter, safer levels. In her testimony, Guadalupe explained that diesel trucks and other industries release extremely small particle pollution into the air which causes allergies, asthma, and many other respiratory illnesses that harm her family and community. She also explained that Latino, Black, and Asian communities are exposed to higher concentrations of these health-harming pollutants.
Guadalupe’s home of Phoenix, where she has lived happily for 20 years, was recently named the eighth most polluted city in the country for air pollution by the American Lung Association. “Our health is being affected. We hold the highest number of premature deaths caused by respiratory diseases. My message to the EPA is this: our communities have already suffered too much. Phoenix deserves better. We deserve to live healthier lives.”
Guadalupe has a strong community behind her as she fights for the future she envisions. “The women of Chispa are also leaders in their homes. Single mothers, some of them raising children with disabilities. Dreamers of change for the better. Workers. Idealists. Shapers of strong communities. Friends with strong values!”
Guadalupe’s community is also growing – Chispa AZ’s newest activist is 8 year old Yaretzi. Check out a video of Yaretzi talking about how she is advocating for cleaner air below.
The message that Guadalupe wants to give to other people is: “Unity is strength. Only together can we achieve great change. I know that there is a desire out there to improve, but nothing happens on its own. We have to act, inform ourselves, lose our fear, and fight alongside our legislators so that our laws reflect our desires. I ask that you join in and be a part of the change, first in yourselves, in your homes, and then in your communities and with us – whether that’s with Chispa or with any organization that reflects your thinking. Go out and act and make your voice heard. Make your vote count!”
Follow @chispaarizona on Instagram for more stories about strong women fighting for environmental justice.