Our commitment to clean air and water comes from our desire for all Pennsylvanians to be healthy and safe.
Yet marginalized communities, including far too many of our Black and Latinx neighbors, not only face the threat of pollution that sickens their communities at a far higher rate than our white neighbors, but also face the daily threat of unjust institutional racism and harassment, violence, and murder at the hands of the police.
We've seen countless people across the country take action in the streets, protesting the murder of George Floyd in a poisonous system that disproportionately targets, beats, and kills Black people in America. We stand among those calling for justice, accountability, and an end to racism.
Communities of color have long led the call for clean air and clean water, yet the environmental advocacy community, including our own white-centered organization, has focused our resources to serve the concerns and needs of white communities. That must and will change.
Environmental protection cannot be separated from a complex and intersectional racist structure. The fossil fuel companies that have profited from damaging our environment are the same ones that continue to benefit from an unjust system of environmental racism and colonialism. Environmental injustice is inextricably tied to racist issues as broad as housing discrimination, economic injustice, educational disparity, access to food, and health (including respiratory illnesses, which in turn make people more susceptible to COVID-19). We will never achieve an equitable future or a solution to climate change if we continue to ignore this.
We pledge to use our resources to lift up and support the work of Black and Brown communities. We will also work to elect leaders who will take immediate action to transform dirty, polluting, racist systems, and we will hold them accountable.
One of the most important things we can do RIGHT NOW is support local organizations working on the frontlines to end racial injustices. If you'd like to contribute, here are some suggestions:
We also ask you to take a look at a slate of potential reforms proposed by the Police Reform Working Group. As those reforms become bills, we will ask you to support them by calling your legislators and urging them to sign on.
If you have additional thoughts on how we can work towards an anti-racist society, feel free to reply back to this email or fill out this form so that we can continue the dialogue. We truly welcome suggestions for how we can help move things forward.
The Board and Staff of Conservation Voters of PA