Racial and Environmental Justice Leaders: we must invest in our communities and pass full Build Back Better Act

Sep 17, 2021

Nick Abraham,, 206-833-7021

Since President Biden first introduced his Build Back Better agenda, environmental justice leaders and racial justice organizations across the country have called on Congress to pass bold climate action. In op-ed pieces, at events, and in statements they have repeatedly made clear that climate disasters and a legacy of pollution brought on by environmental racism are devastating frontline communities. Which is why they have called for passing Justice40, ensuring at least 40% of these investments go to communities hardest hit by pollution and climate change and centering at-risk voices in the legislative process to ensure we all share the benefits of a new clean energy economy.

  • Roseann Bongiovanni, Executive Director of GreenRoots a Boston based environmental justice organization in a joint piece with Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley in Boston Globe:

“The same investments and coordination must be made to address the climate crisis. Bold climate investments at all levels of government are not optional, and they must be made now. We must finally make investments that center people over profits, and communities like Chelsea, East Boston, and other Black, brown, and predominantly immigrant neighborhoods must be prioritized.”

  • María Revelles, Executive Director of Chispa Florida, a community-based organization that aspires to build the power of low-income, Latino, and communities of color throughout the state of Florida calling for bold climate action and passing Build Back Better Act in El Nuevo Herald (both Spanish and English version):

“If there is a population in Florida directly impacted by global warming, it is Latinos, for whom the impact of the increase in temperatures is not only a concern for the future, but also a reality of the present.”

  • Deborah Dicks Maxwell, President of the New Hanover County NAACP and serves on the boards of directors of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Foundation and Cape Fear River Watch highlighting urgent need for Congress to act in Wilmington Star News:

“President Joe Biden’s Justice40 Initiative seeks to correct long-standing inequities in pollution impacts by targeting 40% of clean energy and clean water investments toward communities that have historically borne the brunt of pollution and climate change. Congress can change the future for our communities by making needed investments to clean up toxic chemicals, replace every lead water pipe in the nation, lower power bills by weatherizing homes, and create family-sustaining jobs.”

  • Alicia Scott, Just Energy Manager for Partnership for Southern Equity and Brionté McCorkle, Executive Director for Georgia Conservation Voters in the Atlanta Voice:

“Marginalized communities stand to benefit in ways most of us have only dreamed were possible. Biden’s agenda also presents an opportunity to repair our broken infrastructure, while dramatically cutting power bills for those communities with the greatest energy burdens, many located in Georgia. The Build Back Better Act is finally the type of legislation that can truly create a more equitable energy future for all.”

  • Thoai Nguyen, CEO of SEAMAAC, an immigrant and refugee rights advocacy organization based in South Philadelphia, alongside Josh McNeil, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania highlight need for climate action and investments in frontline communities in Philadelphia Inquirer:

Because of a legacy of systemic racism and exclusion, it is crucial that our community, and others that have been on the front lines of environmental injustice, receive the direct benefits of these investments. At least 40% of the total investments to fight climate change should flow to low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color, as the current plan stipulates.”

Stacey Abrams, Founder of Fair Fight Action: “We can’t wait any longer. I’ve been waiting for over 30 years to see us reach this moment. If we claim our power and we do our part, we will invest in a future that sees us and serves us all.”

Ashley Renne, an environmental activist and sustainability expert: “The climate crisis is bankrupting families that can’t afford to fix their homes from floods and fires. It’s hurting all of us. It’s putting people’s lives at risk. Farmers’ crops are wilting. Workers are having to suffer through sweltering temperatures, and kids? Kids are having to fight through diesel fumes just to get to school. That ain’t life.”

Daniel Blackman, an environmental justice and public health advocate: [The Build Back Better Act] is a once-in-a-generation type of bill. This can lift people out of poverty, it can help us to fight climate change. This is literally the first generation that can end poverty, but the last generation that can end the climate crisis.”