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Mobilizing to Tackle Environmental Justice

Over 300,000 people took to the streets in New York City on September 21 to demand action from world leaders gathered for climate negotiations at the United Nations. One thousand community leaders, students, and advocates mobilized by CPD partner organizations joined the largest climate march in history. Click here to see photos from the march.

Loading buses and trains from throughout the country, CPD partners, including the Vermont Workers’ Center, Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, New Jersey Communities United, ACTION United, Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement, Action NC, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change called on world leaders to make and uphold significant environmental justice polices.   

Beyond the importance of the scale of the march, the People’s Climate March signaled an essential turning point in environmental justice organizing by foregrounding the experiences of low-income communities, communities of color, and frontline communities that are most deeply impacted by climate change. CPD partners’ dedicated organizing in these communities amplified a growing narrative that identifies not only the need to cut carbon, but the crucial need to transform the unjust economic systems that are at the root of the climate crisis. 

From Philadelphia, ACTION United engaged Terry King, a leader in the organization’s work to save Philadelphia’s public schools, who spoke for the first time about the oil refineries that sit next to her community and the pervasive respiratory problems faced by her family and neighbors in southwest Philadelphia.

Similar devastating stories on the impacts of climate change came from around the country: Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change members still trying to put their lives together two years after Hurricane Sandy, low-income members from across CPD’s partner organizations sharing stories of the rail cars that – with the rapid expansion of domestic oil production – now constantly run and carry unregulated, highly explosive crude oil next to homes and schools in their communities, and many more. 

CPD partners continued participating in climate justice actions and meetings following the march and returned to their communities dedicated to expanding work that addresses the root causes of climate change, and focused on building critical climate justice organizing that will be necessary to transform this crisis.