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Underlying the unequal toll of the climate crisis and the pandemic are deeply-rooted systems of oppression and extraction, built into the very foundation of the country. The history of Black Americans is that of being commoditized, stolen from our lands, separated from our generational wealth, stacked in the hulls of ship as cargo, and brought to this stolen land on Turtle Island renamed “America,” where we became property, thereby anchoring the generational wealth of white Americans. With this foundation of structural racism that was institutionalized by a systemic set of policies and practices, there are no bootstraps by which to pull ourselves up by. When “a rising tide lifts all boats,” too many of us are not even in a boat to be lifted.
Access to clean air, healthy foods, affordable energy, drinkable water, safe shelter, decent mobility, and sustainable livelihoods are systematically denied for too many in Black communities. There are still circumstances where Black Americans are being accosted and, in some cases, killed, just for normal daily activities or acts of desperation in a system that provides few pathways for a dignified existence for some members of society. An entire race of people must constantly assert our humanity to such an extent that a basic statement like “Black Lives Matter” becomes a rallying cry.
The mission of the Chisholm Legacy Project will propel forward the actualization of community visions for resilient local food systems, microgrids and renewable energy systems with storage, healthy and affordable homes, land reclamation, cooperative worker-owned businesses, and so much more. Black frontline community members will mobilize en masse to demand policy changes for climate justice, testifying in rate cases with the support of movement general counsel, writing and passing ballot measures in the spirit of the Portland Clean Energy Fund, taking elected office with no fossil fuel money in their campaigns, and so much more. The movement for climate justice and the field of climate action will be deeply enhanced with a grounding in racial and gender justice. Black women holding down the movement and their communities will be held.
TCLP is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives.
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