Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), both members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are hoping to change the face of climate change by educating Black colleges and universities on its detrimental effects on Black communities, reports The Hill.
The two congressmen are joining the efforts of the Hip Hop Caucus to fight back against a deeply entrenched stereotype that the environment is not an important issue for Black America.
“When you think of environmentalists, people think of, quite frankly, some white person, probably wearing Birkenstocks or something and tying themselves to a tree,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said Friday during a press call.
“Now, I love the Redwoods and vacation there and think they’re a jewel of our nation, but we’ve got to expand the idea of who are the environmentalists,” Ellison added.
Read more from The Hill below:
The Department of Health and Human Services reports that African-Americans are 20 percent more likely than white people to have asthma.
These communities are also more vulnerable to natural disasters, the lawmakers said.
This, in turn, can prevent people from going to work and children from going to school, leading to fewer economic opportunities, they said.
“If you’ve ever wondered about test scores between black students and white students, if you’ve ever wondered about health disparities, if you’ve ever wondered about who gets to make it through the flood and the big bad storm and who doesn’t, you really don’t have to look any further than this issue of climate change,” Ellison said.