I started this issue as a skeptic of climate change. I didn’t doubt its reality, the human contribution to it, or the threat it represents to the ecological health of the planet but I doubted that this crisis created an organizing moment that could benefit low-income people and communities of color. When Race, Poverty and the Environment covered this topic in 2006, [Clarke] efforts within the United States to organize in response to climate change were scattered and largely led by white environmentalists. We had to turn to a Canadian author to find a succinct description of a framework for green economics. [Milani]
Since then the global crisis has become more apparent and we have seen the development of a much broader engagement in climate justice organizing. Judging from the wide-ranging responses we received to our call for submissions, a movement is emerging.
Over the last five years, same-sex marriage has been a predominant issue in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Fights for same-sex marriage rights have succeeded in a few states, leading some to believe that the gay community is winning its battle for acceptance. But many in the LGBT movements for social justice question whether gay marriage is really the most critical issue for their communities.
This is a particularly pointed question in California where pro-gay marriage groups spent over $43 million to oppose Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage, despite the fact that domestic partnership in California provides almost the same benefits that same-sex marriage would.
A recent study done at Hunter College shows that the majority of LGBT people actually consider economic discrimination to be the No. 1 issue in their lives. And Lisa Duggan, New York University professor of social and cultural analysis has pointed out that queer white men are the most likely to be coupled whereas black lesbians are the least likely to be coupled, thus demonstrating that marriage will benefit gay white men more than queer women of color.
So, why has gay marriage became such a key issue for the LGBT community?
Presented to the BART Board of Directors, May 13, 2010
BART's Draft Public Participation Plan (PPP) is a good first step toward providing meaningful public participation in BART decisions. But it is missing some crucial components. We recommend additional steps be taken to ensure the public input is not empty, but has real impact.
By adopting these recommendations, you will make the public a partner in BART decision-making as well as move the agency towards achieving the ultimate objectives of Civil Rights and Environmental Justice regulations.
BART recently announced an unprecedented community outreach schedule to improve outreach to “minorities and other underrepresented communities.” What BART didn’t announce was that it was only doing this to fulfill a federal funding requirement, not out of concern or moral obligation to the poor and disadvantaged.
Earlier this year, the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) withheld $70 million in stimulus monies because BART ignored civil rights issues, both with its proposed Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project, and as an agency as a whole. From the murder of Oscar Grant, to fare hikes and service cuts to BART’s arrogance over the OAC project, the transit agency has consistently shown disregard for low-income and communities of color. BART’s public meetings are part of their efforts to get back into compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
In the wake of the recent debate over national climate legislation and the disastrous outcome of the House Bill, 380 different organizations sent a letter to California Senator Barbara Boxer, head of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, urging her to draft a Senate bill “that provides the transformational change and greenhouse emissions reductions required to avert catastrophic climate impacts.” But the efforts of these organizations to argue for meaningful legislation have for the most part been ignored.
The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB375), also known as the California Anti-Sprawl Bill, embodies the simple idea that bringing housing and jobs closer together and improving public transit will cut car commutes—and thus help meet the statewide targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions set by AB32.
“Land use-related climate change policies have the potential to be among the most cost-effective and efficient ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” writes Rebecca Carter in her report on climate policies in western states. (See page 59.)
The networked political and financial power of citizens on the Internet played no small part in President Barack Obama’s election, so it is not surprising that his administration has targeted more than $8 billion of the national recovery stimulus for broadband deployment in rural and urban areas on the short end of the “digital divide.” However, much of that money may not reach underserved African-American and Latino neighborhoods, because the cable and telecommunications giants that control up to 90 percent of the broadband lines will get the biggest hand outs. While the Media Democracy Coalition, made up of media activist and consumer groups, is organizing in Washington to ensure that the infrastructure is provided where it’s needed most, a growing number of groups are working at the grassroots to ensure full communications rights, seeing them as an integral part of a twenty-first century vision of community development.
The Search for Authentic Signs of HopeAny discussion of Brownfields revitalization, to be successful, must involve the participation of the youth in urban areas where Brownfields dominate. These youths will eventually be the decision makers for their communities in the future. Therefore, to avoid making today 's solutions tomorrow's dilemma for the youth, it is essential to get their input. Additionally, meaningful employment and career prospects rank among the central question facing young persons - in many ways defining young people's sense of identity& and connectedness to society.