‘That’s why we work so hard to change these dynamics’
I stand with those working so hard, and often risking so much, to dismantle our country’s racist, anti-black underpinnings. The work of tackling climate change is inextricably linked to the work of combating racism in all its forms. We have to rebuild, repair, and heal our social systems and our natural systems alike if we are going to create a future that works for all.
The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others have put into stark relief, once again, the need for real, structural change to put us on a path to equity and justice. On a personal note, I am redoubling my commitment in this moment to listening well, parenting thoughtfully, spending my time and resources intentionally, and supporting climate justice work occurring all over this country.
— Chip, Grist and Fix Founder
1. Your reading list
- Environmental-justice advocate Mustafa Santiago Ali, in Grist: “When we say ‘I can’t breathe’ — whether it is an officer with a knee on our neck or the pollution which continues to take away our breath — that’s why we march and that’s why we work so hard to change these dynamics.”
- Marine biologist and 2018 Grist 50 Fixer Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, in The Washington Post: “Racism, injustice and police brutality are awful on their own, but are additionally pernicious because of the brain power and creative hours they steal from us . . . Consider the discoveries not made, the books not written, the ecosystems not protected, the art not created, the gardens not tended.”
- CityLab staff writer and former Grist justice editor Brentin Mock, on the Influence podcast: “It must be a real luxury and joy for white people to be able to walk around and look at birds and look at flowers and plants and plant trees without ever having to worry about someone calling the police on them.”
- Grist 50 Fixer Alvaro S. Sanchez of the Greenlining Institute, in a new Grist piece on racial and climate justice: “Whether it is a global pandemic, climate change, or policy brutality, people of color — particularly black communities — are always the first and worst hit, and it must end.”
2. Fixers in conversation
Last Monday, Jerome Foster II, an 18-year-old Grist 50 Fixer, joined a protest in D.C. in his high-school graduation suit and Honor Society badge. “It was everyone,” says Foster, who is no stranger to protesting, having helped lead global climate strikes and founded the advocacy organization OneMillionOfUs. “There were men, there were women. Every single race was represented . . . That’s really hopeful for me, that we’ll continue to have this strong coalition of different people that are advocating for this.”
I had the chance the other day to have a conversation with Foster and another inspiring activist: 82-year-old screen legend Jane Fonda. Foster and Fonda spoke about why each of them became active in the climate movement, how they joined forces for the Fire Drill Friday protests in D.C., how activism can provide an antidote to grief and mourning, and what younger and older generations can learn from each other in this moment.
3. Your next move
- Support organizations working for black food sovereignty.
- Donate to community-bail funds and racial-justice organizations.
- Buy from black-owned businesses. Seek out local businesses in your area, or look online for other options (you might even check out these vegan and plant-based businesses and sustainable fashion and beauty brands).
- Join (or create) a mutual-aid network in your area. People across the country are helping each other through these unimaginably challenging times. You can pitch in.
Be well. And be in touch.