Climate justice must be anti-racist

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June 01, 2020

Without racial healing and reparations, there cannot be climate justice.
-Sunrise Movement

These words from the Sunrise Movement, that “the fight against climate change exists alongside the fight against white supremacy and colonialism,” are a call to action for GRID and for everyone working toward a renewable energy future. 

The murder of Black people, pervasive and systemic racism, and the toxic and unequal impacts of pollution and the climate crisis are all connected. We are not doing enough to simply be “not racist,” we must be actively anti-racist. 

That is why we stand in solidarity with the people protesting against police brutality, fighting for equity and justice and with Black Lives Matter. It is why we stand for justice for George Floyd, for Breonna Taylor, for Ahmaud Arbery and for the countless other victims, known and unknown.

In a time when intersectionality and allyship seem to be buzzwords, we ask: What does it really mean to stand with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color? What are we doing to authentically build an organization - build a world - that aligns with our core value of equity? How are we challenging ourselves every day to dismantle the system of white supremacy we live in?

Lip-service isn’t enough if we truly want to live our values. We are carving out dedicated time and energy to ask ourselves these hard questions, time for community care and time to truly listen to Black people on the frontlines of racial and climate injustice. 

While we certainly don’t have all the answers, we’d like to share some resources our staff are using to support each other and develop our personal anti-racism practices: 

It’s by no means an exhaustive list and we hope you will learn with us so we can build a just transition together. We acknowledge and make space for the anger, the pain and the grief that is placed disproportionately on our Black staff, partners, and community members. Doubly so as we grapple with the health, safety and economic impact of a global pandemic, which are also disproportionately impacting communities of color, at the same time.

In closing, we want to share the words of GRID’s Clovis Honoré and Irasema Garcia from their recent commentary for the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Let’s take advantage of this resetting of the world’s priorities to build a new future that truly works for everyone -- employment opportunities, business opportunities, communities previously impoverished by systematic discrimination now thriving, and real liberty and justice for all. But we will have to give up white supremacy and unexamined white privilege to do it. The virus has changed the world. Let’s keep making changes for the better for everyone, especially those who were left out of the pre-virus equation. What will you do?