I spent last week and this weekend listening and bearing witness to the powerful, unwavering public outcry across the country demanding an end to systemic, institutionalized police brutality and racism after the murder of George Floyd on May 25. It's felt gutwrenching, infuriating, and sometimes hopeful--but it hasn't felt new, as tragedies like this are horrifically common in American life.
It's heartening to see sustained activism and protests spreading across the nation and world, from my hometown in Mississippi to New Zealand and beyond, working and starting to seed some change. I know that my response is utterly insignificant set against the millions of black Americans for whom these injustices have made up their lived reality for far too long, and for whom this change is long overdue and as yet insufficient.
We have so much more to do, and actively integrating racial justice and climate action must be part of that work. I am personally resolved to spend every day of my career fighting for a more just society, and that includes our work at the Climate Collaborative. Because collective action can work, racism is antithetical to the CC's core values, and it's antithetical to true progress on climate change.
As you likely know, climate change already disproportionately impacts people of color. BIPOC writers have been writing on this for years and sharing solutions on how we can all become more effective anti-racist climate activists. Today I want to share a few great pieces of writing on climate justice issues that I've read this past week:
- First, for anyone looking to dive into how these issues are inherently connected, the New York Times has published a very useful summary of articles and resources on the links between racism and the environment.
- Second, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post on how we cannot decouple systemic racism and climate action, titled "I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet."
- Third, we know we have to do more than vocalize support. Holiday Phillips' Medium piece on why "Performative Allyship is Deadly" was a must-read for me, on why statements of support for the protests--and condemnations of police violence--are not enough right now and need to be bolstered by substantive action. It's been heartening to see many companies in our network step up and share their plans of action.
The Climate Collaborative won't be an exception. We will keep listening and learning, keep working to give our community concrete pathways to get activated on climate justice issues. We are a project partner of OSC2, who launched the JEDI Collaborative this year with the goal of breaking down systemic barriers to inclusion for all people. Our partner ASBC is hosting a meeting tomorrow on confronting racism, and has a sign-on letter to Congress demanding they act to end systemic racism, which any company can add their name to. You can see other actionable ways to be part of the solution here. There will be more coming on this front, and we will be sharing those opportunities with you.
We want to hear from all of you as we continue building this work into our policy advocacy and our core programming, and we know we can't do it alone. Please feel free to reach out and share your ideas and feedback.