Dr. Robert Bullard and The City Project on Climate Justice

February 27th, 2015

Dr. Robert Bullard visits The City Project offices Ariel Collins, Dayana Molina, and Robert Garcia and Kelsey Williams from One Justice.

Dr. Robert Bullard works with The City Project on climate justice. He has worked with us on other initiatives, and included our work in his books, conferences, and Environmental Justice Summit II.

Dr. Bullard is the author of eighteen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity. He has served as a technical advisor on hundreds of civil rights lawsuits over the past three decades. Among his many honors, Professor Bullard was named by Newsweek in 2008 as one of 13 Environmental Leaders of the Century, and in 2014 the Sierra Club named its Environmental Justice Award after him.

Photo: Dr. Robert Bullard visits The City Project with Ariel Collins, Dayana Molina, and Robert García and Kelsey Williams from One Justice.

Environmental Justice for All: A Conversation with the Community L.A. Feb 27

February 26th, 2015
Environmental Justice Conference Banner

When Is It?
Friday, February 27, 2015
Registration/Breakfast – 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Conference Program – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Where Is It?
The Center at Cathedral Plaza
555 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2707

Who Should Attend?
Environmental Justice Activists, Community Advocates, Health Professionals, Academic Researchers, Government Officials, and any other stakeholders who want to improve our region’s air quality.

What Will Be Discussed?
This day-long forum will highlight ways in which public agencies can better collaborate with local communities and improve coordination in responding to residents’ concerns. Participants will engage in direct dialogue with stakeholders from impacted communities, academic researchers, health professionals, and others focused on the need to protect and improve the region’s air quality.

Conference Program and Speaker Bios

National Monuments Celebrate a Diverse Nation. Including Latinos. NY Times Editorial?

February 26th, 2015

A historic industrial district in Illinois, a weed-choked gulch in Hawaii and a stretch of riverine Colorado wilderness, home to eagles and bears. These three dissimilar . . . places are the newest national monuments, established this month by President Obama, to be protected forever by the federal government from development and destructive neglect.

The best-known is the Pullman National Monument in the Chicago neighborhood built by the Pullman Company, whose railroad-car employees [and the first labor union led by African Americans in the AFL-CIO] helped build the African-American middle class and laid the foundations of the Civil Rights Movement. The Honouliuli National Monument, outside Honolulu, [celebrates the fragility of Civil Rights and] protects the site of a vanished, nearly forgotten internment camp that held [innocent] Japanese-American civilians [including US citizens],  along with thousands of foreign prisoners, during World War II. The Browns Canyon National Monument lies along a rocky stretch of the Arkansas River Valley rich in wildlife and popular for rafting, hiking and fishing.

Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Mr. Obama have used their authority under the Antiquities Act to set aside places like these. Many of the earliest monuments, established soon after the law was enacted in 1906, protected ancient American Indian settlements in the Southwest that would otherwise have been looted and returned to dust.

Through those places and more recently protected ones — like Pullman, Honouliuli and the African Burial Ground National Monument, created in 2006 on the site of an office tower in Lower Manhattan [and the César  Chávez National Monument in 2012, the first National Monument to a Latino born after the 1700s]— the [US] public gains a richer understanding of a history that is too often overlooked, distorted or misremembered. Other monuments in fragile wilderness areas and vast, mostly pristine expanses of ocean, protect the American future.

Interesting: The New York Times Editorial, as good as it is, ignores the César Chávez National Monument — the first National Monument to a Latino born after the 1700s — in discussing history that is too often overlooked, distorted, or misremembered.

Our world is a better place because César Chávez decided to change it.” – President Barack Obama at César E. Chávez National Monument dedication 2012.

chavez obama 2012108

Photo by Sam Garcia, age 16

I am a Civil Rights Attorney. I am an immigrant. I was born in Guatemala and came to the US when I was four. I took my 16 year old son Sam to the dedication of the César  Chávez National Monument by President Obama. A moment like this had never before happened. For Sam, moments like this will be as natural as day and night, seeing a person of color as president and monuments honoring people of color. Without César Chávez this moment would not have happened. Without Barack Obama this moment would not have happened. Without the Civil Rights Movement, none of this would have happened.

Monuments are not only about the past. When he dedicated the San Gabriel National Monument, President Obama recognized that too many children, especially children of color, don’t have access to parks where they can play, breathe fresh air, experience nature, and learn about their environment. This is an issue of social justice, health, and economic vitality for all. Green justice is about working with communities to open up parks and our heritage to everybody — young and old, Latino, Asian, Native American, black, white — to make sure everybody can enjoy these rights.

The struggle continues . . .

Robert García, Founding Director and Counsel

El cambio climático es un asunto de derechos civiles, así como de salud, economía y medio ambiente

February 23rd, 2015

In English

Climate is a civil rights issue as well as a health, economic, and environmental issue. A successful climate movement will address the rights of communities of color and low income communities directly.

El cambio climático es un asunto de derechos civiles, así como de salud, economía y medio ambiente. Un movimiento climático exitoso debe abordar directamente los derechos de las comunidades de color y de escasos recursos.

NYC People's Climate Justice March El Agua Vale Mas que el Oro
Robert García y Ariel Collins*

Encuestas recientes muestran que los latinos son mucho más propensos a ver el cambio climático como un asunto extremadamente o muy importante para ellos personalmente. Los latinos se encuentran entre los mayores partidarios de la acción para frenar el cambio climático, más dispuestos a pagar un aumento en los costos de los servicios a cambio de energía limpia y son los votantes verdes más leales. Estos consistentes resultados de las encuestas derrumban el mito de que el medio ambiente es un lujo que no preocupa a las personas de color y de escasos recursos y por el cual no están dispuestas a pagar. Sin embargo, ecologistas convencionales, organismos gubernamentales, funcionarios públicos y medios de comunicación frecuentemente segregan a la comunidad latina. Los resultados de dichas encuestas podrían tener implicaciones importantes para la campaña presidencial de 2016, ya que ambos partidos tratan de ganar votos de la comunidad hispana, el segmento de la población de mayor crecimiento.

Una de las razones por las cuales los hispanos pueden estar preocupados por el calentamiento global es que una gran proporción de la población hispana vive en áreas mayormente afectadas por la contaminación y la vulnerabilidad, como veremos más adelante.

De manera desproporcionada, el cambio climático afectará a las personas de escasos recursos, lo que agravará la brecha económica. El cambio climático empeorará una serie de problemas de salud que son particularmente complejos para muchas comunidades latinas. También, amenaza los lugares de origen de muchos latinos de manera más dramática que a las comunidades en los EE.UU. La respuesta oportuna a los retos del cambio climático puede crear nuevos empleos, mejorar la salud de las personas, reducir los costos de calefacción y refrigeración y disminuir el daño causado por la producción de combustibles fósiles. Una gran cantidad de servidores públicos han ignorado el problema durante tanto tiempo que el cambio climático es ahora una grave emergencia que requiere de acción inmediata por parte de todos los niveles de gobierno.

Podemos impulsar la economía y promover la salud, el medio ambiente y la justicia igualitaria al mismo tiempo.

Encuestas recientes sobre los latinos y el cambio climático

New York Times / Stanford / Resources for the Future (2015)

El cambio climático es motivo de creciente preocupación para los hispanos. Los hispanos son mucho más propensos que los blancos a ver el calentamiento global como un problema que les afecta personalmente. También, son mucho más propensos a apoyar políticas públicas destinadas a frenar el cambio climático como pueden ser impuestos y normas para reducir la contaminación por gases de efecto invernadero.

El 54% de los hispanos encuestados calificó el calentamiento global como extremadamente importante o muy importante para ellos, en comparación con el 37% de los blancos no hispanos. Un 67% de los hispanos dijeron que se verían perjudicados personalmente en cierto grado si no se hace nada para reducir el calentamiento global, en comparación con la mitad de los blancos no hispanos.

El 63% de los hispanos dijo que el gobierno federal debe implementar medidas a gran escala para abordar el calentamiento global, en comparación con el 49% de los blancos no hispanos.

Investigadores latinos afirman que los hispanos son más propensos a estar preocupados por el impacto del calentamiento global fuera de los Estados Unidos, especialmente en América Latina, México y el Caribe. Sequías y tormentas más fuertes pueden provocar inundaciones o escasez de alimentos y agua en dichas regiones.

El presidente Obama ha propuesto invertir 3 mil millones de dólares en un Fondo Verde para el Clima para ayudar a que los países en vías de desarrollo se adapten al cambio climático. Dos tercios de los hispanos encuestados dijeron que el gobierno debe invertir en los países en desarrollo para ayudar a reducir el daño causado por el calentamiento global. Dos tercios de los blancos no hispanos dijeron que Estados Unidos no debe invertir recursos. Ver Climate Is Big Issue for Hispanics, and Personal, por Coral Davenport, NY Times, 9 de febrero de 2015.

Según un sondeo anterior realizado por el New York Times, Stanford y Resources for the Future, una gran mayoría de la opinión pública estadounidense, incluyendo la mitad de los republicanos, apoyan las acciones gubernamentales para frenar el calentamiento global. Ver Most Republicans Say They Back Climate Action, Poll Finds, por Coral Davenport y Marjorie Connelly, The New York Times, 30 de enero de 2015.

Encuesta de Washington Post-ABC News (2014)

Tanto los hispanos/latinos estadounidenses (69%) como los afroamericanos (71%) son más propensos que los blancos no hispanos (50%) a indicar que el cambio climático es un problema muy serio que enfrenta el país.

Los estadounidenses hispanos / latinos (75%) están más dispuestos que los blancos no hispanos (68%) y que los afroamericanos (69%) a decir que el gobierno federal debe limitar la liberación de gases de efecto invernadero en un esfuerzo para reducir el calentamiento global.

Los estadounidenses hispanos / latinos (70%) están mucho más dispuestos que los afroamericanos (51%) – y un poco más que los blancos no hispanos (61%) – a permitir que el gobierno regule los gases de efecto invernadero, incluso si eso significa un aumento de 20 dólares por mes en el recibo de la luz. Ver Chris Mooney y Peyton Craighill, Why do black and Latino Americans support climate action so much more than whites?,  Washington Post Wonkblog (1° de diciembre de 2014).

Public Religion Research Institute (2014)

Casi 6 de cada 10 latinos (58%) creen que el cambio climático está ocurriendo y que los seres humanos somos los causantes del mismo, una opinión compartida por menos de la mitad (42%) de los blancos no hispanos.

Los latinos son el grupo étnico más preocupado por el tema. Más de 7 de cada 10 latinos (71%) están algo preocupados o muy preocupados por el cambio climático, mientras que menos de la mitad (43%) de las personas blancas no hispanas expresan una preocupación similar. De hecho, los latinos tienen el doble de probabilidades que los blancos no hispanos de estar muy preocupados por el cambio climático (46% vs. 23%).

Los latinos son mucho más propensos que los blancos no hispanos a creer que la ciencia detrás del cambio climático es un tema resuelto. Casi 6 de cada 10 latinos (57%) afirman que los científicos generalmente coinciden en que la tierra se está calentando debido a actividades humanas. Entre los blancos no hispanos, sólo el 45% cree que existe un consenso científico sobre el cambio climático.

Casi dos tercios (65%) de los latinos nacidos fuera del país afirman que la tierra se está calentando debido a la actividad humana en comparación con la mitad (50%) de los nacidos en los EE.UU. Ver Are Transnational Ties Leading Latinos to Express Greater Concern about Climate Change? por Daniel Cox y Juhem Navarro-Rivera, Public Religion Research Institute (24 de noviembre de 2014).

Una de las razones por las cuales los hispanos pueden estar preocupados por el calentamiento global es que una gran proporción de la población hispana vive en áreas mayormente afectadas por la contaminación y la vulnerabilidad

CES POC 20140915

Presione el mapa para una imagen mas grande. 

Como se ilustra dramáticamente en el mapa:

  1. En las comunidades más afectadas por la contaminación y la vulnerabilidad (el 10% más alto en el puntaje del CalEnviroScreen), el 89% de los habitantes son de color; sólo el 11% son blancos no hispanos. A nivel estatal, el promedio de personas de color de la población es del 58%.
  2. En las comunidades menos afectadas por la contaminación y la vulnerabilidad (el 10% más bajo en el  puntaje del CES), sólo el 31% de los habitantes son de color; un 69% son personas blancas no hispanas.
  3. El 64% de las personas de color viven en las comunidades más afectadas por la contaminación y la vulnerabilidad (el 50% de los más altos puntajes del CES); sólo el 31% de los blancos no hispanos vive en esas áreas.
  4. Sólo el 36% de las personas de color vive en las comunidades menos afectadas por la contaminación y la vulnerabilidad (el 50% de los más bajos puntajes del CES); el 69% de los blancos no hispanos vive en esas áreas. (Los puntajes del CalEnviroScreen representan una combinación de los niveles de contaminación y la posible vulnerabilidad de la población ante los efectos de la contaminación.)

Las mismas comunidades en las que vive una cantidad desproporcionadamente mayor de personas de color y de bajos ingresos son las más afectadas por la contaminación y la vulnerabilidad y tienen el peor acceso a los espacios verdes. Ver Invest Cap and Trade Funds to Benefit Underserved Communities and Communities of Color, (The City Project, 6 de octubre de 2014).

El financiamiento para la acción climática

Existen obstáculos estructurales para financiar la justicia climática. Estudios demuestran que mientras más comprometida esté una fundación con el medio ambiente, es menos probable que financie programas de justicia social. Aún y cuando las entidades financiadoras del medio ambiente invirtieron 10,000 millones de dólares entre 2000 y 2009, sólo el 15% de dichos recursos benefició a comunidades marginadas y sólo el 11% se destinó a promover la justicia social. Para ayudar a abordar estas preocupaciones, un estudio indica que las fundaciones deben invertir al menos el 25% para promover la justicia social —esto es, la promoción de políticas y mecanismos de organización comunitaria que logren cambios estructurales que beneficien a las personas menos favorecidas política, económica y socialmente, y que construyan sobre las bases creadas por el movimiento de los derechos civiles. Ver Sarah Hansen, Cultivating the Grassroots: A Winning Approach for Environment and Climate Funders  (febrero de 2012, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy). Green 2.0, en el informe The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations, encontró que aunque las personas de color en la actualidad conforman casi el 40% de la población de Estados Unidos, no han alcanzado el “techo verde” del 16% en las principales organizaciones ambientales. Green 2.0 trabaja con fundaciones y organismos ambientalistas para ampliar la diversidad. De acuerdo con otros estudios validados por expertos, tanto el sector gubernamental como el sector no lucrativo en el sur de California, invierten menos en parques y recreación en comunidades negras y latinas. Las personas deben movilizarse y muchas organizaciones deben trabajar juntas en un movimiento democrático sostenido para construir una economía verde. Ver Theda Skopcol, Naming the Problem: What It Will Take to Counter Extremism and Engage Americans in the Fight against Global Warming, preparado para el Simposio sobre la política de Estados Unidos en la lucha contra el calentamiento global (enero de 2013).

Podemos impulsar la economía y promover la salud, el medio ambiente y la justicia igualitaria al mismo tiempo

Los líderes del Senado de California han emitido un paquete de leyes transformadoras para combatir el cambio climático que contempla la protección de la salud pública y el medio ambiente, estimula la innovación y la inversión en energía sostenible y empleos verdes y fortalece nuestra economía. California está poniendo el ejemplo en mejores prácticas para abordar el cambio climático.

El movimiento climático

El movimiento climático debe aprender de las lecciones  - y de hecho formar parte – del Movimiento por los Derechos Civiles. El Movimiento por los Derechos Civiles continúa hoy en día y no se limita a la presencia del Movimiento en las calles. La marcha en protesta por el cambio climático en septiembre de 2014 en la ciudad de Nueva York es un paso en la dirección correcta.

La revolución por los Derechos Civiles se basa en múltiples estrategias para promover la dignidad humana, la justicia igualitaria, la democracia justa y la superación de la discriminación. La revolución de los Derechos Civiles incluye el trabajo que realizan innovadores abogados de derechos civiles dentro y fuera de los tribunales, los fallos judiciales reformadores de tribunales valerosos, la organización comunitaria desde las bases, la legislación desde el Congreso y los estados, la acción presidencial, la implementación por parte de organismos administrativos y nosotros, el pueblo, que a través del derecho de voto manifestamos nuestro mandato en apoyo de los Derechos Civiles.

El Movimiento por los Derechos Civiles ha inspirado, influenciado e incluye al movimiento de justicia ambiental, al Movimiento por los Derechos Civiles Latinos, al Movimiento de los Indios Americanos, al Movimiento de Mujeres, al Movimiento Contra la Guerra, al Movimiento por la Libertad de Expresión, al Movimiento LGBT, y a la justicia en materia de salud. A nivel internacional, el Movimiento por los Derechos Civiles tuvo un impacto en la caída de la Unión Soviética, la Plaza de Tianamen, la abolición del apartheid en Sudáfrica y el movimiento por los derechos humanos. La justicia climática está uniendo a personas de diversos movimientos y naciones. La injusticia en algún lado es la injusticia en todas partes.

La lucha continúa.

Ver el informe sobre políticas públicas titulado Celebrate The Civil Rights Revolution: The Struggle Continues por Robert García y Ariel Collins (The City Project, 2014). 

climate whole world

Fotos: Marcha contra el cambio climático, Nueva York, septiembre de 2014

*Robert García es director fundador y asesor legal de The City Project, así como Profesor Asistente en la Universidad Charles Drew de Medicina y Ciencias. Ariel Collins es Analista de Políticas y es la socia de Justicia Social Juanita Tate en The City Project. Traducción: Border Philanthropies.

Siga este enlace para el reporte El cambio climático es un asunto de derechos civiles.

 

Brilliant Op/Ed by Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz on critical lessons for today’s activists

February 23rd, 2015

Fifty years ago [on February 21, 1965] my father, Malcolm X, was assassinated while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. . . .

People still look to Malcolm as a model for strident activism. They lament the lack of such a prominent, resonant voice in the modern dialogue about race. But they might not like some of the critical things he would have to say about the strategies of today’s activists.

Of course, my father would be heartened by the youth-led movement taking place across the nation, and abroad . . . . And he would appreciate the protesters’ fervor and skillful use of social media to rapidly organize, galvanize and educate. In a sense, his ability to boil down hard truths into strong statements and catchy phrases presaged our era of hashtag activism.

But he would be the first to say that slogans aren’t action. They amount to nothing but a complaint filed against a system that does not care. In his speeches, he did not simply cry “Inequality!” — he demanded justice, and he laid out the steps necessary to achieve it. . . .

Above all, he would bemoan the lack of sustained, targeted activism. . . . Today when people speak about how we must fight racism, the “threat” feels empty. . . .

My father was never one to criticize without also offering a solution. First, he would challenge today’s young protesters to draw upon the nation’s rich history of activism and to appreciate better the contributions of those who have gone before them. What worked in Selma, in Chicago, in Watts — and what didn’t? As it is, today’s protesters often act like they are starting from square one. This disconnect cannot be dismissed as the hubris of youth; it is a symptom of our failure to teach this generation about . . . history and the way our economic and social systems actually function. . . .

He would also recognize that while some things have not changed in 50 years — like police brutality — many have. Minorities have greater access to the system. We have the ability to become law officers and judges, and the ability to register and vote. He would encourage activists to take advantage of this access, to take power inside the system as well as outside it.

Voting, for example, is both action and speech. So is local organizing that emphasizes educational access, economic opportunities and political engagement. Grass-roots work is not flashy, and rarely celebrated on the national media level, but that is where change begins.

Finally, he would emphasize that he was never one man acting alone. Malcolm didn’t create black anger with his speeches — he organized and gave direction to it. A modern hero alone won’t bring us a magic solution. The key to creating change is a critical mass of ready and angry people whose passion doesn’t ebb and flow with the news cycle.

Read the rest of this Op/Ed by Ilyasah Shabazz in the New York Times (emphasis added) . . .

Celebrate The Civil Rights Revolution: The Struggle Continues by Robert García and Ariel Collins (The City Project 2014)

Great Wall of Los Angeles Restoration 2011

SPARC Great Wall of Los Angeles Civil Rights Panel Restoration 2011

 

 

Rudy Giuliani: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

February 23rd, 2015

Rudy Giuliani: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Rudy Giuliani bobble head

Rudy Giuliani’s accusation that President Barack Obama does not love this country requires no further response. Nevertheless, President Obama has in fact demonstrated his patriotism, his love for this country in his words, and his love through his commitment to public service — including, of course, as President of the United States. We are reminded of the words of attorney Joseph Welch to Senator Joe McCarthy during the Army McCarthy hearings in 1954: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Robert García served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, first under John Martin and then under Rudy Giuliani.

 

 

Culture Clash Chavez Ravine: An L.A. Revival. How does a city choose which dreams come true?

February 22nd, 2015

chavez ravine tcp.jpg

The poster from the 2003 premiere of Culture Clash’s Chavez Ravine at the Mark Taper Forum hangs in the The City Project’s offices. Herbert Siguenza, Ric Salinas, and Richard Montoya reimagine the play for Culture Clash’s 30th anniversary at the Kirk Douglas Theater through March 1, 2015. Community agitation inspired in part by the history of Chavez Ravine led to the creation of L.A. State Historic Park and the greening of the L.A. River.

President Obama Every Kid in a Park, Transit to Trails, Honouliuli, Pullman, Browns Canyon National Monuments

February 19th, 2015

Since President Barack Obama designated the San Gabriel Mountains Monument in October 2014, the White House has demonstrated a renewed commitment to environmental and green justice.

Every child has the right to the simple joy of playing in the park. Under President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, the National Park Service will give all fourth graders and their families free admission to national parks and other federal lands for a full year. The President also designated new national monuments.

President Obama recognizes that too many children, especially children of color, don’t have access to parks where they can play, breathe fresh air, experience nature, and learn about their environment. This is an issue of social justice, health, and economic vitality for all. It’s not enough to have awesome natural wonders. You have to be able to access them. Green justice is about working with communities to open up parks and our heritage to everybody — young and old, Latino, Asian, Native American, black, white — to make sure everybody can enjoy these rights. Every Kid in a Park will award transportation grants for school children to visit parks, public lands and waters, focusing on schools with the greatest need.

Transit to Trails provides opportunities for park-poor, income-poor communities to learn about water, land, wildlife and cultural history, and engage in healthy physical activity. Transit to Trails increases access to national parks, monuments, and other park lands. Underserved commuities lack close-to-home green space, monuments, transportation, and opportunities to reach recreation and natural resources. Transit to Trails is a best practice to get people to the parks now, and prepare young people to be the stewards of our natural heritage tomorrow. Transit to Trails helps reduce traffic congestion and parking problems, improve air quality, and reduce polluted water run-off into rivers and the ocean by providing accessible public transportation. President Obama agrees with the National Park Service, the California Parks Forward Commission, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), and the US Army Corps of Engineers on transit: The Transit to Trails program by Anahuak Youth Sports Association, The City Project, and Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is a best practice for taking inner city youth and their families and friends on fun, educational, and healthy park, river, beach, and mountain trips.

jewell aysa

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell with children from Anahuak Youth Sports Association and The City Project

We celebrate President Obama designating three new monuments that honor the diverse history of our nation, and promote access to healthy, outdoor recreation for all: Honouliuli, Pullman, and the Browns Canyon landscape and river corridor.

Honouliuli commemorates the fragility of civil rights, and the incarceration of innocent Japanese Americans for three years during World War II. The designation on February 19 comes 73 years to the day after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066. The order authorized the evacuation of over 100,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry, including U.S. citizens, to isolated, fenced, and guarded internment camps. The United States Supreme Court upheld this intentional discrimination against Japanese Americans in Korematsu v United States. A federal district court threw out Fred Korematsu’s conviction 40 years later, concluding that “‘today the decision in Korematsu lies overruled in the court of history.’”

Pullman, on Chicago’s Far South Side, honors the first labor union led by African Americans in the AFL-CIO, which helped build the African-American middle class and laid the foundations of the Civil Rights Movement; development of the first “company town;” and the role of railroads in the nation’s industrial past.

Honouliuli and Pullman, like Manzanar National Monument, are best practice examples to celebrate the nation’s diversity faithfully, completely, and accurately, and to stimulate and provoke a greater understanding of, and dialogue on, civil rights, democracy, and freedom.

The City Project has been working for 15 years to broaden access to parks and open space for inner-city residents and to fight childhood obesity by guaranteeing that students get enough physical education. We are profoundly grateful to President Barack Obama and the National Park Service for Kid in a Park, and for diversifying national monuments.

–Robert García, Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project

160 Manzanar Ten Concentration Camps

The flags from the ten Japanese American internment camps at Rohwer, Serome, Amache, Heart Mountain, Minidota, Topaz, Poston, Giva, Tule Lake, Manzanar

We are all immigrants. Support #ImmigrationAction.

February 18th, 2015

U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s decision to block the Obama plan to defer deportation for about 5 million immigrants here illegally ignores a basic principle of government: For better or worse, the executive branch of government always has discretion as to whether and how to enforce the law. The judge’s lengthy opinion is wrong as a matter of law and, worse, is based on xenophobia and stereotypes about immigrants. It is very likely to be overturned by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and, if necessary, the Supreme Court.

Read the rest of this op/ed by UC Irvine Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Samuel Kleiner in the Los Angeles Times.

President Obama surely knew that his recent executive actions to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation would run into trouble as soon as a 26-state lawsuit opposing the actions landed on the desk of Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen, of Brownsville, Tex.

Judge Hanen — who last month invoked a biblical flood in describing illegal immigration into that community — has spoken out aggressively against Mr. Obama’s immigration policy in the past, saying it “endangers America” and is “an open invitation to the most dangerous criminals in society.” . . .

As expected, the judge on Monday night temporarily blocked the first of several programs Mr. Obama announced in November to offer work permits and a three-year reprieve from deportation to more than four million immigrants who are parents of American citizens and who have no criminal record. . . . What Judge Hanen did was to issue a preliminary injunction that prevents the executive action from going into effect until he can rule on the merits of the lawsuit itself, or until a higher court reverses him. . . .

However the appellate courts come down on the case, Mr. Obama is . . . is trying to tackle a huge and long-running national problem: what to do with more than 11 million undocumented people who are living, working and raising families here . . . . To the contrary, bringing some of these people out of the shadows of illegality would be an economic boon, as noted by the 12 states and more than 30 cities around the country (including Brownsville, Tex.) that are defending Mr. Obama’s actions.

Read the rest of this editorial in the New York Times.

Click here for the Justice Department memo on the President’s authority to enforce immigration laws.

Click here for the letter by 10 leading legal scholars: “While we differ among ourselves on many issues relating to Presidential power and immigration policy, we are all of the view that these actions are lawful. They are exercises of prosecutorial discretion that are consistent with governing law and with the policies that Congress has expressed in the statutes that it has enacted.”

We are all immigrants. The City Project supports President Obama on #ImmigrationAction.

Climate is a civil rights issue as well as a health, economic, and environmental issue

February 12th, 2015

En español

 NYC People's Climate Justice March El Agua Vale Mas que el Oro

Robert García and Ariel Collins*

Climate is a civil rights issue as well as a health, economic, and environmental issue. A successful climate movement will address the rights of communities of color and low income communities directly.

Recent polls show that Latinos are far more likely to view climate change as extremely or very important to them personally. Latinos are among the strongest supporters of climate action to curb climate change, most willing to pay an increase in utility bills for clean energy, and most loyal green voters. Consistent poll findings demolish the myth that the environment is a luxury that people of color and low income people do not care about and are not willing to pay for. The Latino community is nevertheless often marginalized by mainstream environmentalists, government agencies and public officials, and the media. Poll findings could have significant implications for the 2016 presidential campaign as both parties seek to win votes from Hispanics, the fastest-growing segment of the population.

One reason Hispanics may be concerned about global warming is that they disproportionately live in areas most heavily burdened for pollution and vulnerability, as discussed below.

Climate will disproportionately hurt low income people, exacerbating the economic divide. Climate worsens a range of health problems that are particularly problematic for many Latino communities. Climate threatens the original homelands of many Latinos even more dramatically than communities in the US. Responding to the climate challenge can create jobs, improve people’s health, reduce heating and cooling bills, and reduce the damage caused by production of fossil fuels. Too many elected leaders have ignored the problem for so long that climate is now a dire emergency that requires immediate action at all levels of government.

We can grow the economy and promote human health, the environment, and equal justice at the same time.

Recent Polls on Latinos and Climate

New York Times/Stanford/Resources for the Future (2015)

Climate change is of growing personal concern to Hispanics. Hispanics are far more likely than whites to view global warming as a problem that affects them personally. They are far more likely to support policies, such as taxes and regulations on greenhouse gas pollution, aimed at curbing climate change.

Among Hispanic respondents, 54% rated global warming as extremely or very important to them personally, compared with 37% of non-Hispanic whites. 67% of Hispanics said they would be hurt personally to some degree if nothing was done to reduce global warming, compared with half of non-Hispanic whites.

63% of Hispanics said the federal government should act broadly to address global warming, compared with 49% of non-Hispanic whites.

Hispanics are more likely to be concerned about the impact of global warming outside the United States, Latino researchers say, particularly in Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Stronger droughts and storms there can lead to flooding or shortages of food and water.

President Obama has proposed investing $3 billion on a Green Climate Fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change. Two-thirds of Hispanics said the government should invest in developing countries to help reduce the damage caused by global warming. Two-thirds of non-Hispanic whites said the United States should not provide the money. See Coral Davenport, Climate Is Big Issue for Hispanics, and Personal, N.Y. Times, Feb. 9, 2015.

An overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to an earlier poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford, and Resources for the Future. See Coral Davenport and Marjorie Connelly, Most Republicans Say They Back Climate Action, Poll Finds N.Y. Times, Jan 30, 2015.

Washington Post-ABC News poll (2014)

Both Hispanics/Latino Americans (69%) and Africans Americans (71%) are more likely than non-Hispanic white people (50%) to say climate change is a very serious problem confronting the country.

Hispanics/Latino Americans (75%) are more willing than non-Hispanic white people (68%) and African Americans (69%) to say that the federal government should limit the release of greenhouse gases in an effort to reduce global warming.

Hispanics/Latino Americans (70%) are far more willing than African Americans (51%)  — and a little more so than non-Hispanic white people (61%) — to allow the government to regulate greenhouse gases, even if that means an increase in utility bills of $20 per month. See Chris Mooney and Peyton Craighill, Why do black and Latino Americans support climate action so much more than whites?, Washington Post Wonkblog (Dec. 1, 2014).

Public Religion Research Institute (2014)

Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) of Latinos believe that climate change is happening and humans are at fault, a view shared by less than half (42%) of non-Hispanic white people.

Latinos are the ethnic group most concerned about the issue. More than 7-in-10 (71%) Latinos are somewhat or very concerned about climate change while fewer than half (43%) of non-Hispanic white people express similar concern. In fact, Latinos are twice as likely as non-Hispanic white people to be very concerned about climate change (46% vs. 23%).

Latinos are substantially more likely than non-Hispanic white Americans to believe the science of climate change is largely a settled matter. Nearly 6-in-10 (57%) Latinos say that scientists generally agree that the earth is getting warmer because of human activity. Among non-Hispanic white people, only 45% believe there is a scientific consensus on climate change.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Latinos born outside the country say the earth is getting warmer due to human activity compared to half (50%) who were born in the U.S. See Daniel Cox and Juhem Navarro-Rivera, Are Transnational Ties Leading Latinos to Express Greater Concern about Climate Change? Public Religion Research Institute (Nov. 24, 2014).

One reason Hispanics may be concerned about global warming is that they disproportionately live in areas most heavily burdened for pollution and vulnerability

CES POC 20140915

Click on the map for a larger image

As the map illustrates dramatically:

  1. In the communities that are the most burdened for pollution and vulnerability (the 10% highest score under CalEnviroScreen), fully 89% of the people are of color; only 11% are non-Hispanic white people. Statewide, the population average is 58% people of color.
  2. In the communities that are the least burdened for pollution and vulnerability (the 10% lowest CES score), only 31% of the people are of color; fully 69% are non-Hispanic white people.
  3. 64% of people of color live in the most burdened communities for pollution and vulnerability (the 50% highest CES scores); only 31% of non-Hispanic white people live in those areas.
  4. Only 36% of people of color live in the least burdened communities for pollution and vulnerability (the 50% lowest CES scores); fully 69% of non-Hispanic white people live in those areas. (CalEnviroScreen scores measure pollution and potential vulnerability to the effects of pollution.)

The same communities that are disproportionately of color and low income are the most burdened for pollution and vulnerability, and have the worst access to green space. See Invest Cap and Trade Funds to Benefit Underserved Communities and Communities of Color (The City Project Blog Oct. 6, 2014).

Funding Climate Action

There are structural obstacles to fund climate justice. Studies show that the more committed to the environment, the less likely a foundation will fund social justice. While environmental funders spent $10 billion between 2000 and 2009, just 15% of those dollars benefited marginalized communities, and only 11% went to advancing social justice. To help address these concerns, foundations should invest at least 25% to advance social justice—that is, policy advocacy and community organizing that work toward structural change on behalf of those who are the least well off politically, economically and socially, and that build on the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement, according to one study. See Sarah Hansen, Cultivating the Grassroots: A Winning Approach for Environment and Climate Funders (Feb. 2012, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy). The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations report by Green 2.0 found that although people of color are now almost 40% of the U.S. population, they have not broken the 16% “green ceiling” in mainstream environmental organizations. Green 2.0 is working with foundations and mainstream enviros to increase diversity. Black and Latino communities suffer from lower expenditure levels for parks and recreation by both the government and nonprofit sectors in Southern California, according to other peer reviewed studies. People must mobilize and many organizations must work together in a sustained democratic movement to build a green economy. See Theda Skopcol, Naming the Problem: What It Will Take to Counter Extremism and Engage Americans in the Fight against Global Warming, Prepared for the Symposium on the Politics of America’s Fight Against Global Warming (Jan. 2013).

We can grow the economy and protect human health, the environment, and equal justice at the same time

California Senate leaders have released a climate change package that includes groundbreaking bills to protect human health and the environment, spur innovation and investment in sustainable energy and green jobs, and strengthen our economy. California is providing best practice examples to address climate change.

The Climate Movement

The climate movement should draw lessons from — and indeed is a part of — the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement continues today, and it is not limited to the Movement in the streets. The People’s Climate March in September 2014 in New York City is a step in the right direction.

The Civil Rights Revolution is based on multiple strategies to promote human dignity, equal justice, and just democracy, and to overcome discrimination. The Civil Rights Revolution includes creative Civil Rights attorneys working in and out of court; ground breaking judicial decisions by courageous courts; grass roots organizing; legislation by Congress and the states; action by the President; implementation by administrative agencies; and we the people providing a mandate to support civil rights through the right to vote.

The Civil Rights Movement inspired, influenced, or includes the environmental justice movement, Latino Civil Rights Movement, American Indian Movement, Women’s Movement, Antiwar Movement, Free Speech Movement, LBGT Movement, and health justice. Internationally, the Civil Rights Movement had an impact on the fall of the Soviet Union, Tianamen Square, the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, and the human rights movement. Climate justice is bringing people together across movements and nations. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

La lucha continúa.

See the Policy Report called Celebrate The Civil Rights Revolution: The Struggle Continues by Robert García and Ariel Collins (The City Project 2014).

climate whole world

Photos: People’s Climate March, New York City Sept. 2014

*Robert García is Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project, and Assistant Professor, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science. Ariel Collins is a Policy Analyst and Juanita Tate Social Justice Fellow at The City Project.  

Download this Policy Brief Climate is a civil rights issue