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Climate justice for Latino Americans means centering policies that achieve environmental, energy, and economic justice together. Latino/a/x households pay disproportionately high energy costs, low-income, Latino/a/x households and communities have so far been left behind in the transition to clean energy, and Latino/a/x workers need a pathway to clean energy jobs. Therefore, we need to invest with justice in clean energy, accelerate the transition to renewable energy (i.e., wind, solar, geothermal and small-scale hydropower), and advance economic equity and opportunity for Latino/a/x workers. This resource further details these problems and policy and political solutions, as related to transit, jobs, fossil fuel drilling, climate adaptation, clean water, voting rights, conservation, and more.
There are some key ways for activists to make their spaces more accessible—to ensure everyone is welcome and encouraged to join movements in whatever way they can. These include: understanding the right choice of location for events/actions; meeting attendee needs; creating space for every identity; employ proper pandemic safety measures. For virtual events and meetings, consider preparation before the meeting and use specific in-meeting tactics. Regarding communications, use clear language and modes of communication that all potential audiences can understand. Write image descriptions. Also, be sure to foster a group culture dedicated to accessibility.
There are some key strategies that grassroots groups can employ to avoid dissolving. These are especially helpful for student-run groups, which can struggle to pass along the group's resources and knowledge to the next generation of student organizers, as many lack a permanence of structure. These strategies include: support and guide new members via training and upskilling; build institutional memory; create a blueprint for group operations; have strong onboarding and outboarding processes; institutionalize involvement; engage with the student association/body; get teachers to support your campaign(s); outline institutions in your school; get support from staff unions; and create solidarity with staff causes. This report describes these strategies in detail. Some specific challenges by student groups have included: divestment organizers were concerned about groups who won and didn’t know where to go from there; groups have been struggling to navigate online organizing; there are ongoing concerns related to general turnover and capacity when students graduate (particularly those who have been members of a group for a while; a lack of support from former members leads to more energy and time needed to restart after a high rate of turnover; anger towards the school administration leads to forgetting about turnover periods, thus the workload for the next semester is larger.
The “Before Action Review” is a series of questions for a team to answer together to improve their collective project. The five questions are: What is our intended result? What are our success measures? What challenges will we face? What did we learn from last time? What do we think will make us successful this time? The “After Action Review” is a similar set of questions to digest together, as a team, after a project attempt: What is our intended result? What were our actual results? What caused our results? What lessons should we take forward for next time? These kinds of collective planning and processing create the conditions for people to develop their: knowledge — information or understanding gained from experience or education; skills — the ability to do something that comes from training, experience, or practice; and wisdom — the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight.
Various climate groups have recently used messages invoking “climate anxiety” to spur grassroots action. Science Moms and Action for the Climate Emergency have joined the Environmental Defense Fund and Climate Emergency Fund in running Facebook and Instagram ads about climate anxiety in recent weeks. A group called RepublicEn has been running Meta ads using conservative messengers like evangelicals, military figures, and elected officials to create a permission structure for Republican voters to support climate action. The dominant narrative about climate change or energy on social media last week concerned a report showing that some of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve was shipped to countries like China. Pages like Breitbart and Tucker Carlson seized on the news to accuse the Biden administration of “treason”, but their content went mostly unchecked by progressive pages.
Building long-lasting grassroots power requires centering concrete issues and the humanity of individuals you’re organizing. Many organizations in West Virginia are cultivating organizers, building organizations that can sustainably organize local communities according to their needs for years to come, incorporating mutual aid, and more, in an effort to win and wield political power. In this article, The Forge contributor Mat Hanson discussed organizational strategies with multiple people involved in grassroots power building in West Virginia: Katey Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia Can’t Wait; Nicole McCormick, a founding member of the West Virginia United caucus and rank-and-file leader in the successful teacher’s strike; Dr. Shanequa Smith of Restorative Actions and the Black Voters Impact Initiative; and Joe Solomon, the co-founder and co-director of Solutions Oriented Addiction Response (SOAR), a volunteer-based organization that advocates for harm-reduction strategies to the opioid crisis.
Online-offline organizing, which the Lab also calls “blended organizing," is organizing that engages participants using in-person and digital touches in concert with one another and mobilizes them to act both online and in-person. This tipsheet provides a detailed account of how advocates can successfully engage and develop their supporters using the organizing pathway model.
Ruptural moments are key to long-term movement victories. Ruptural moments by themselves rarely lead to substantive changes in people’s material conditions or the dismantling of the status quo; they need to be situated within a dynamic movement ecosystem. In a ruptural moment, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets. Second, participants are willing to engage in a huge escalation of risk. Third, ruptural moments open a window into a change in thinking — opening the eyes of a society to the fact that a dictatorship is fragile or that Indigenous sovereignty must be respected or that Black folks have a different lived experience than white folks. In other words, in changing how space or public order works, ruptural moments contest the story of the dominant culture. Movement organizers can create ruptural moments by working for months in a disciplined way to achieve the scale necessary for something major to happen, or by a smaller group of organizers attempting something bold, enabling it to scale as others are captivated by the boldness of the tactic or demand and launch copycat actions or undergird the movement. And sometimes, unexpected events just happen that create ruptures.
Historic Environmental Justice Victory: City of Los Angeles is creating a pathway to phase out existing oil and gas wells
Residents, community organizations, and health care practitioners organized for over a decade to protect the health of residents on the front lines of urban oil extraction in L.A. In January 2022, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to draft an ordinance to prohibit all new oil and gas drilling and to phase out existing drilling operations throughout the City of Los Angeles. This resource is based on an interview with Wendy Miranda (she/they), a community leader with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and resident, about the historic victory. The organizing strategy to get this victory involved various lobbying efforts, rallies, press conferences, petition collections, a wide range of community/organization endorsements, phone banking, and social media outreach. Overall, frontline residents providing public comments and sharing their personal experiences were some of the strongest and most powerful tactics. STAND L.A. will continue to be part of the process to help draft an ordinance and direct the City of Los Angeles on how to lead a genuine community participation process. Miranda shares that this victory is proof that frontline communities can lead the change toward a just, equitable transition to a clean energy future.
To build stronger movements, we need to build up our ambition, be strategic in our discipline, and lead with the process. Movement groups need to center “antimonopoly” thinking and action. These authors work for the organization Liberation in a Generations, which is committed to bringing grassroots organizers of color to the forefront of the antimonopoly movement, especially in policymaking, advocacy, and narrative change. Ambition is a practice, just as — to borrow from Mariame Kaba — “hope is a discipline.” Sometimes we need to hold tight, to execute the strategies and best practices that we know are most likely to lead to winning campaigns; but other times, we need to let go and reach for something else, something that speaks to our ideals — and which might work or might land us on our asses. Process should always put the people with the least positional power first.