Below are some of the movement allies who have counseled, advised, and supported the Donors of Color Network in launching the Climate Funders Justice Pledge. They are just a few of the hundreds of justice organizations run by, serving, and building power in communities of color in the fight against climate change.
Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies Ethnicity, USC
Dorceta Taylor, Professor of Environmental Justice, Yale School of Environment
Denise Fairchild, PhD, President/CEO at Emerald Cities Collaborative
Professor Shalanda H. Baker, Northeastern School of Law
Professor Ana Baptista, The New School
Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy
Mijin Cha: Occidental College & Cornell University
Founded in 1991, the Asian Pacfic Environmental Network (APEN) works to build the power of Asian immigrant and refugee communities. People have a right to a clean and healthy environment in which their communities can thrive, and APEN brings organizers together to develop an agenda to bring fundamental changes for environmental, social, and economic justice.
Executive Director Miya Yoshitani says, “Our vision is clear: To be accountable to the working-class communities of color leading the fight for our families, our neighborhoods and our environment where we live, work, and play. To embrace solutions that come directly from the frontlines.”
The core of APEN’s work is bringing together Asian immigrants and refugees in Oakland and Richmond, CA to advance solutions to the issues that matter most to them. At the state level, APEN organizes in communities that politicians and political parties often ignore, and are helping to establish groundbreaking policies that put working-class communities of color first. In the 2000s, Chinese workers organized at the A.X.T. electronics factory in Fremont, where owners knowingly exposed workers to arsenic dust at 21 times the legal limit. APEN helped those workers to win compensation and lifetime health screenings and a court ruled that the company must comply with workplace health and safety requirements.
The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) is a non-profit, public interest law firm and justice center with a mission to advance structural shifts toward climate justice and ecological equity in communities of color on the frontline of climate change, and provide a Southern perspective on issues that have national impact and global influence.
GCCLP began as a program of Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Inc. in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita more than a decade ago. Since then, GCCLP has become a national leader in climate disaster recovery by serving thousands of residents throughout Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida through its disaster legal services, community programming, and human rights-based training.
To advance the work needed in impacted regions towards climate and racial justice, in 2019 GCCLP launched Gulf South for a Green New Deal (GS4GND) in partnership with over 200 organizations across the Gulf South. Colette Pichon Battle, Executive Director of GCCLP, says, “With the Gulf South for a Green New Deal initiative, Gulf South communities identify and develop the solutions needed for recovery and the transition to a healthier, more just economy and a collective vision for a sustainable future.” GS4GND is a formation of both policy development and organizing towards creating a Green New Deal inclusive of the Gulf South.
MISSION: Indigenous Environmental Network is an alliance of Indigenous Peoples whose shared mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by respecting and adhering to traditional Indigenous knowledge and natural law. Established in 1990 within the United States and in recent years working globally, IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous Peoples to address environmental and economic justice issues. IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.
APPROACH: IEN accomplishes this by maintaining an informational clearinghouse, organizing campaigns, direct actions and public awareness, building the capacity of community and tribes to address EJ issues, development of initiatives to impact policy, and building alliances among Indigenous communities, tribes, inter-tribal and Indigenous organizations, BIPOC organizations, faith-based and women’s groups, youth, labor, environmental organizations, and others.
Keep It In The Ground Campaign Organizer Dallas Goldtooth says, “Our work is a balancing act between fighting against extractive systems and fighting for regenerative ones to take its place. Furthermore, a transition to 100 percent renewables doesn’t necessarily guarantee that poor and working-class communities will have access to basic needs. When we talk about a just transition, we are talking about a future in line with the principles of Indigenous and human rights, social justice and environmental justice.”
MISSION: Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) is a coalition of 74 urban and rural frontline community organizations and supporting networks in the climate justice movement. Formed in 2013 to create a new center of gravity in the climate movement and comprised of Indigenous Peoples, African American, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, and poor white communities who share legacies of racial and economic oppression, CJA mobilizes to move away from extractive systems of production, consumption and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative, and equitable economies.
APPROACH: CJA members work to address climate change’s impacts and are vital communities in a growing movement that is both demanding bold action by government and industry to confront climate change and organizing a Just Transition on the ground toward sustainable, resilient, regenerative economies. Through their dual strategy of stopping the bad while building the new, they address root causes of climate change, generations of environmental and climate injustice, and inequitable access to resources to implement Just Transition solutions.
Steering Committee Co-Chair of CJA Elizabeth Yeampierre says “Climate change is the child of a history of colonialism, slavery, and extraction of frontline communities — thinking you can fight it without justice is an affirmation of patriarchy and white supremacy.”
To discern whether a proposed climate solution works for frontline communities, workers, and the planet, utilize the 4 basic questions in the People’s Solutions Lens – Who makes the decisions? Who benefits? What else will this impact? How does this build or shift power?