A Call for Racial Justice, Accountability & an End to Violence; Women for Clean Water; and the Importance of our Webinar Series
Welcome to the June 4th edition of Three Things Thursday. I hope this message finds each and every one of you safe and healthy.
Now, onto this week’s Three Things….
1. Our responsibility in promoting justice and fighting racism
On Tuesday, we released an organizational statement on the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless other Black lives lost to racial violence. As we continue to grapple with the challenges before us as a state and a nation, we recognize that each of us–personally and professionally–has a role to play in changing the system and healing the pain.
For me, among the many important responses to the crisis we are facing, three stood out this week. First, a powerful piece by former Maryland Congresswoman/current national LCV Board member Donna Edwards, which was published in the Washington Post. Next, an article by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson who is a marine biologist, policy advisor, and founder and CEO of the consultancy Ocean Collective (among other things). The article is entitled, “I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet.” And, I’ve long been a fan of journalist Leonard Pitts, and his piece this week is entitled, “Why are blacks’ anguished cries of “Enough!” never enough to stop the brutality?”
You may have also noted that all of our past living presidents issued statements related to George Floyd’s death, some also addressing the protests and police violence: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
For those who have not seen the statement Michigan LCV issued this week, I have included it below in totality. You can also find it on our website here.
The staff and board of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Michigan LCV Education Fund are outraged and appalled by the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless other Black lives lost to racial violence. We grieve with families and communities across this nation and call for accountability of those who perpetuate violence under the badge of law.
Police brutality is one of the ways that violence and harassment are upheld, but certainly not the only way.
Historic, systemic and pervasive racism and traumas of colonization and slavery make people of color, particularly Black and Indigenous communities in our country, fear for their families’ health, safety, and lives every single day. Additionally, the current climate crisis and health pandemic are destroying communities of color at a disproportionate and alarming rate.
We, as an organization, work to fight climate change because our polluted air is causing intense pain and suffering — not just to the planet, but to all human beings; largely those from Black and Indigenous communities. We work on drinking water contamination, access and affordability because Flint is just one example in our state of dangerous levels of lead and toxic PFAS chemicals, and too many children, especially in Detroit, can’t drink the water coming out of the taps in both their homes and their schools. All of this is a form of systemic violence against lower-income communities, almost always black and brown.
We have a responsibility to stand with those most affected by racist structures and systems, and work to dismantle anti-Black racism. We recognize the leadership of frontline organizations and individuals, and join with those calling for justice, accountability, and an end to the myriad of violence. We are committed to pushing back on systems that perpetuate racism, advocating for policies that address it, and aggressively working to elect leaders who will address these issues head-on.
For those looking to support this mission, find below a list of resources:
Detroit Justice Center Bail Fund
Brightmoor Food Pantry (Detroit)
2. Celebrating women fighting for clean water
During these trying times, it’s clear that the work we’re doing to elect strong, compassionate leaders who are dedicated to protecting people, public health and justice is more important than ever.
On Wednesday, we held a virtual fundraiser to support the work of Michigan LCV PAC. The event was entitled, Women for Clean Water, and we recognized amazing women in the legislature who have rolled up their sleeves to protect people and planet. Our special guest speakers included:
- State Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak)
- State Representative Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing)
- State Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia)
Senator McMorrow, Rep. Anthony and Rep. Pohutsky all spoke with determination, conviction and passion about the current situation we are facing with COVID-19 and the myriad of challenges to our environment, as well as about their work to address the systemic racial police violence toward black and brown communities.
As Senator McMorrow so aptly stated,
“I am a firm believer that the pursuit of life, liberty and justice can only truly happen when people don’t have to worry every day about their public health.”
These are incredibly trying times. And, here at Michigan LCV, we know we have a job to do. From the White House, the US Senate and key Congressional races to critical races for the state House and Michigan Supreme Court, whom we elect matters. The eyes of the nation are on the State of Michigan this year. I want you to know that the Michigan LCV team has rolled up our sleeves to ensure that smart, strategic, hard working leaders like the ones we highlighted yesterday, are elected to office up and down the ballot. We are very clear that the work we do to make change in the legislature and Supreme Court is intimately connected to the top of the ticket (and vice versa). What happens here on November 3rd will determine the course of our future both in Michigan and across this nation.
3. Our People, Planet, Public Health Virtual Webinar Series continues!
Enormous thanks to those of you who have engaged via our webinar series as we move through/adjust to our work in the era of COVID-19. Tens of thousands of people took time to watch our webinars in April and May, a series entitled People, Planet, Public Health, which we put in place to keep our members and large Michigan LCV family plugged in and connected as we all do our part and shelter at home. We’re truly grateful for the immensely positive response.
As we move into June, I’m pleased to say that we have another great lineup of events in store for you. This month will be largely focused on voter protection, voting rights, and voter registration. The first of those events is taking place next week when Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will join us for an educational webinar on safe voting during COVID-19. We also have a virtual voter registration couch party planned, with live music from Detroit DJs. You won’t want to miss either of them. I have provided more detail below, and you can always view a calendar of events on our website at michiganlcv.org/events.
Monday, June 8:
Lunch with Secretary Benson: What does Covid-19 mean for our elections?
COVID-19 is impacting our lives in a myriad of ways. It’s also having impacts on how we vote and our elections. In this climate, voters need every option available to vote safely, whether by mail or in-person. Our guests on June 8th will be Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision’s Executive Director, Raquel Garcia; and Michigan LCV’s Civic Engagement Manager, Olivia Bradley who will discuss how COVID-19 impacts our elections and answer your questions about how we maintain our civic duty during this time of crisis.
Wednesday, June 10:
Michigan LCV Ed Fund Voter Registration Couch Party
Join Michigan LCV Ed Fund for a voter registration couch party complete with live music from some of Detroit’s best DJs: DJ Nicole and DJ Clif Da Supa Producer. We know that Michigan is a key battleground for this year’s election and it is important, now more than ever, that we register as many Michiganders as possible to vote! Please invite folks you know, especially anyone you may know who is not currently registered. We will be encouraging people to register while part of the couch party!
As I say every week, thank you so much for your trust. You make all of our work possible.
Until next week, please stay safe and healthy…
P.S. Early Tuesday morning (around 1:30am) the Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously to approve the A2Zero carbon neutrality plan! This is a major win for climate justice in Ann Arbor and a sign that public outreach and advocacy does really have an impact. The A2Zero plan was drafted with lots of input from community groups and residents and is a road map to a more inclusive and sustainable Ann Arbor. We know that achieving climate justice means working on racial justice, and the A2Zero plan recognizes that, too. Here is an Mlive article that gives a run down of the debate including one amendment that was adopted to pave the way for the votes on support.