Allison C Bailey / Shutterstock.com
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans in the United States. For over a century it has been a day of celebration and observance for many Black Americans, a recognition of freedom and independence following hundreds of years of enslavement and injustice. It is an especially significant day of remembrance for a very important reason: it was created for the people, by the people.
Though a celebration of progress for many, there remain pervasive issues of equity, justice, and fairness that plague Black Americans. These issues are a reminder of the justice that is often delayed for Black communities. This truth is also evident in the climate change crisis.
This means that addressing racial justice must include addressing the negative and disproportionate effects Black communities face that have directly harmed them. Even today, the impacts of redlining, racist land-use planning policies, and community development investment decisions are evident in Black communities and other communities of color. Black and Brown communities are more likely to be in flood zones, at the center of urban heat islands, and near toxic emitters; and, as a result, particularly in extreme weather events, it is Black and Brown communities that face the worst impacts and are the slowest to recover. This is why true investment and commitment to communities of color is vital. At ISC, we are dedicated to ensuring Black communities and other communities of color have the support and resources needed to develop and implement solutions to climate change. Solutions that amplify the voices of leaders within their communities and support leaders as they share knowledge and capacity-building are key to developing stronger, more resilient communities
We cannot wait another 10 years to address climate change, just like we cannot wait for another second to address racial justice. There can be no more delay. To all who celebrate and observe, we wish you a Happy Juneteenth. i