Humanity Communications Collective
For Immediate Release: December 2, 2022
Local Officials Asked to Deliver on Environmental Mandates of the Biden Administration in Virtual Press Conference to be Held
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – WE ACT for Environmental Justice will bring community leaders and elected officials together in more than 10 states to raise awareness of the Justice40 Initiative announced by President Biden in January 2021. The initiative will provide billions of federal dollars allocated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and other appropriations that can be accessed to address environmental injustices in disadvantaged communities.
The community tour is under the umbrella of the Justice40rward Campaign, a community-led effort launched by WE ACT to ensure transparency and collaboration between elected officials, municipalities, and those who live in disadvantaged communities that the Justice40 Initiative was designed to support. WE ACT and communities are asking elected officials across the country to ensure the monies and resources mandated to address environmental harms, climate change, and years of disinvestment are quickly delivered to their respective communities.
The community tour kicks off in Houston, TX on December 7, 2022, followed by Austin, TX. In 2023, tours will continue in Anchorage, AK, Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, Baltimore, MD, Oakland, CA and more. Additional cities and states to be announced.
“Engaging officials at every level of government ensures they will be held accountable to historically neglected and disinvested communities and that those on the frontlines of harm understand how to receive these critical resources,” said Co-founder and Executive Director, Peggy Shepard at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “All of us must work together to reimagine and rebuild communities with these once-in-a-generation federal investments.”
According to the White House, the Justice40 Initiative, a whole-of-government initiative, ensures that people living with legacy harms are prioritized in our national transition to greener energy sources, cleaner air and water and economic opportunities.
The investment categories are: climate change, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, remediation and reduction of pollution and the development of critical clean water and wastewater infrastructure.
The selected communities have been impacted by different environmental hazards including; industrial air and water pollution, slow recovery from natural disasters, residential sewer overflows and a lack of culturally competent engagement on these issues and their potential health impacts.
The community tour is critical to raise awareness about these issues. By bringing federal, state and local agencies and elected officials directly to communities, both community activists and government officials can better understand what resources are needed.
Every community deserves to live in a healthy environment, but unfortunately, people living in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods have not been able to fully realize this goal. Harmful policy decisions have made pollution, economic instability and climate change the norm. Coupled with systemic racism, mismanagement of funds earmarked for specific communities, and uneven distribution of green investments among a host of other factors.
“Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.e.j.a.s.) frequently leads “Toxic Tours” through the East End Harris County, where some of the largest refineries and chemical plants surround neighborhoods and spew toxins into the air, soil, and water, ” said Ana Parras, executive co-director and administrator of T.e.j.a.s.
“Thousands of people live, work, and attend schools in the shadow of these facilities. Pictures nor video cannot easily convey the surreal sight of this massive petrochemical industrial complex, nor the thick polluted air. It will, hopefully, make agencies and groups think about the toxic legacy of pollution for communities living along the Houston Ship Channel live with on a daily basis and spark the conversation on co-creating meaningful community solutions that center the most affected at the fenceline,” Parras concluded.
A virtual press conference will be held on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET to learn more about the Community Tour. Speakers include:
- Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
- Ali Zaidi, White House National Climate Advisor
- Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, (CA-14) and Deputy Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
- Susana Almanza, Founding Member and Director, PODER
- Chandra Farley, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Atlanta
Participants must register to attend.
WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in creating sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.