Here at LCV’s Chispa we’re ramping up to engage, elevate and organize Latino communities and leaders in six states and at a national level to build their power in the fight against climate change. As one of the only Latino organizing programs of a national environmental organization, we know that what happens at the local level matters. Chispa helps to ensure that Latino families have a strong voice and the political power to influence the decisions and policies that impact our communities.
Clean Buses for Healthy Niños Campaign
Our children and communities have a right to breathe clean air. Yet, low-income and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by pollution and toxins. That’s why, in April, Chispa launched our Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign in Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, and Nevada, and will soon do the same in New York and New Mexico. Chispa is applying pressure to the governors in these states by hosting actions to engage the local communities in the campaign, while continuing to canvass neighborhoods and organize with community members. We’re calling on governors across the country to put the health of our children and communities first by using the $2.7 billion VW settlement to fund zero-emissions electric buses.
Chispa programs across the country have also been speaking to local press about the benefits of clean, zero-emission buses for their community and their children. In fact, Chispa Maryland’s Latino outreach director, Ramon Palencia-Calvo, was on Telemundo D.C. to discuss the recent severe air pollution warnings, and the need for clean air and zero-emission buses.
However, we’re not just talking to the press, we’re also drumming up support in neighborhoods and meeting with our promotores in the states. This entails collecting stories and spreading the word that kids deserve cleaner air and reduced exposure to toxic air and cancer-causing pollutants. They need electric, zero-emissions buses now! Find out more information here.
On July 13, Chispa Arizona’s official local support for the campaign grew via a partnership from Arizona’s c3 table, One Arizona. The c3 table is integrated by organizations holding 501 c3 non-profit organizations including Puente, CASE, PAFCO, ACE/LUCHA, Planned Parenthood and Center for Biological Diversity.
On July 19, Van Jones, Green For All and Chispa Nevada rallied alongside more than 100 community members today to demand Governor Sandoval invest the state’s VW settlement dollars into electric school buses to replace diesel-fueled buses, which are exposing kids to dirty air and cancer-causing pollutants.
People’s Climate Movement
In April, LCV and Chispa joined the People’s Climate Movement where we marched alongside several dozen families from Chispa Maryland as Creators of Sanctuary, a nod to their work protecting the environment and fighting for immigrants’ rights.
At the event, Johana Vicente, a community organizer for Chispa Maryland, spoke out about her fight for environmental justice and a cleaner planet, and after the event, Katherine Lorenzo, a community organizer for Chispa Nevada, reflected on the inspiration she drew from this shared experience.
Across the country, our Chispa programs also led sister marches in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada and New Mexico to show our solidarity in the fight for a cleaner planet and environmental justice.
Chispa Arizona’s Joshua Knight Closes for Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
At LCV’s Annual Capitol Dinner in June, Chispa Arizona Promotor Joshua Knight closed for former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy where he spoke about becoming involved with Chispa two years ago as a high school student.
He gave a passionate speech about our right to breathe clean air, and divulged his experience growing up in Maricopa County, a place with terrible air quality that has impacted his brother, who suffers from asthma. In fact, he was so engaging that Mustafa Ali from Hip Hop Caucus tweeted, “Powerful closing remarks by 17 year old Joshua Knight fighting for Clean Air & Water!” Watch Joshua’s speech, here.
New LCV Environmental Scorecard Scores the Congressional Caucuses of Color
For the first time, LCV and Chispa released the 2016 National Environmental Scorecard: Report on Congressional Caucuses of Color. This special report—which offers new analysis of our Scorecard data—finds that members of Congress of color are among the strongest supporters of public health and the environment.
Growing Leaders in the Climate Justice Fight
In July, Chispa Maryland graduated their second cohort of 12 Environmental Justice & Action Promotores. Juntos, in New Mexico, celebrated the graduation of 20 promotores. And Protegete in Colorado graduated 22 promotores this month, bringing the number of Chispa-trained promotores to 302 total. These lead volunteers are crucial in building momentum via community organizing in their neighborhoods and engaging their families and friends in the fight for climate justice and #CleanRide4Kids.
Latino Conservation Week
LCV’s Chispa participated in Latino Conservation Week from July 15th-22nd. During this time, we encouraged people to get outside and appreciate what we’re fighting to protect – nuestra Madre Tierra!
During this week, Chispa joined a wide range of organizations and agencies in holding events across the country. From a Facebook Live session at Rock Creek Park, a hike at Lake Mead National park to a Kayak trip at Saguro Lake Ranch, Chispa was in on a week of outdoors advocacy.
#Sigo en París
This summer, the League of Conservation Voters’ (LCV) Chispa program partnered with a progressive coalition of Latino environmental groups and the Center for American Progress in the Sigo en París initiative. Sigo en París, the Spanish-language version of the “I Am Still In” petition, sent a clear message to the international community that people across this country, specifically Latinos, are committed to ensuring that the United States remains a climate leader.
Because of Chispa’s leadership role, we were quoted in local, national and international stories in both English and Spanish.
Nevada’s Fight for Clean Energy
In the 2017 Legislative Session, Nevada lawmakers passed 11 bills that will usher in a renewed era of energy development for the state. All but two were signed into law by Governor Sandoval. These bills ranged in their purpose and intent, however together they will achieve what we have long sought – expanded access to clean energy and its benefits for all Nevadans, a welcome sign for low income and communities of color dedicated to energy conservation and looking for reprieve from high utility costs.
Communities of color across the country are often the most profoundly affected by the costs of climate change, and they know that more clean energy means more local jobs, cleaner air and water, healthier communities and lower power bills.
The Nevada Legislature clearly understands this, too. By choosing to enact policies that will protect the environment, the health and future of Nevadans, the state legislators showed that they are listening to their constituents and groups like LCV’s Chispa, which rallied support around stronger environmental safeguards and lower energy costs with families across the state. The fight does not stop here, Chispa Nevada will continue to organize our community around clean, affordable energy.