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no clean water in jackson mississippi

Seresa McCaskill cleans and refills buckets of water in her front yard in South Jackson, Mississippi, on August 31, 2022. After the water treatment plant pump failure, McCaskill and her husband aren’t sure if they’ll keep getting water pressure and she is stocking buckets of water to flush their toilets in case their water pressure drops. The toxic water has been an ongoing worry for the family and their 2-year-old daughter. | Source: The Washington Post / Getty

The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is being championed as the largest expenditure by the federal government to address climate change and global warming. However, the measure is expected to harm Black communities, which have borne the brunt of America’s inability to address the climate crisis and our rapidly warming planet, despite having contributed the least to this crisis. We must overcome the legacy of environmental racism, and it will take a collective reckoning; something legislation cannot address on its own.

Many of us are feeling enraged at the capitulation to corporate interests, while we watch the temperatures rise, fires rage, snowcaps melt and oceans surge around us. Many are feeling disheartened at the ineffective political process and ready to take matters into their own hands. For those looking for visionary leadership that does not balk at the challenges before us, we introduce you to The Black Hive.

MORE: Understanding Environmental Racism And Its Effect On Black Americans

The Black Hive is the heart behind the Movement for Black Lives’ climate and environmental justice efforts.

Our approach is grounded in what we know to be true: Anti-Black racism is not merely an element of the climate crisis. It’s not simply something that happens as a result of social and political forces. It’s actually because of anti-Black racism that the climate crisis has taken the shape it has. The belief that our communities are expendable is a part of the politics of extractive economies. The neglect of our communities has had an impact around the world.

Diagnosing and naming this problem also shows us a path to the solution. If we ensure global climate justice and environmental resilience for Black people, we will create conditions where the planet can be livable for everyone.

This is the task we have set our minds and hearts to achieve.

We are a cohort of Black climate and environmental justice experts who use our collective experiences and knowledge to assess how climate change and environmental destruction impact Black communities in the U.S. and globally and to organize for a better, safer future.

Black liberation is at the core of our fight for environmental justice.

We are a group of more than 200 organizations and individuals representing Black environmental and climate justice organizers, cultural workers, advocates, and strategists from every region in the United States and we are working to expand to African Diasporic areas across the globe.

The Black Hive serves Black communities who bear the brunt of climate disasters and extreme weather events and whose experiences are exacerbated by other socioeconomic factors like poverty and systematic racism. We bring people together to propose and fight for pro-Black climate policies and practices.

We are not merely here to name the problems — we are here to chart the way forward.

We are creating The Red, Black, and Green New Deal as a blueprint for a sustainable, renewable future in defense of Black lives by taking rigorous and urgent action toward climate and environmental justice. These policies regularly sacrifice Black communities. No more. They leave concessions on the table that will largely impact Black people. No more.

Our policy efforts are focused on water, energy, land, labor, economy, democracy, and health—and investing our time and energy to create equitable climate solutions that center on the concerns of Black communities. We do this through organizing, policy, narrative power, and political education.

Globally, scientists have shown that climate change is the leading threat of our time. At the same time, climate and environmental justice analysts illustrated that Black communities not only suffer the worst consequences of climate change—but are often driven into environmentally unsafe neighborhoods through discriminatory, anti-Black policies such as redlining and are excluded from decision-making conversations about the future of the planet.

No more.

We have released the first National Black Climate Mandate that will inform our organizing and network building and will bottom-line our engagement with law and policy as we highlight the fight for climate justice in the Vision for Black Lives.

We are charting a new way forward and we are inviting you along.

Take our Black climate pledge and join us.

Valencia Gunder, the Founder/Co-Director of the Smile Trust, Co-Founder of The Black Collective and National Co-Lead of the Black Hive at The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL’s Climate Justice Collective), is a community leader branded as the “Modern Day Fannie Lou Hamer” who has also led conversations around climate awareness on topics including sea level rise, emergency preparedness, and climate gentrification, food safety and housing.

Valencia "Vee" Gunder, Co-Director, The Smile Trust, National Co-Lead, The Black Hivel at Movement for Black Lives

Valencia Gunder. | Source: Movement for Black Lives


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