Our nation and planet are at a tipping point in the fight against climate change. A strong, participatory democracy and an environmental movement rooted in racially, ethnically, and economically diverse communities across the country are essential to shifting the tide toward the short- and long-term solutions needed for our collective survival. Climate change and other issues plaguing our planet are not just environmental issues that happen in a vacuum—they are about racism, inequality and injustice that impact low-income communities and communities of color more than others in this country.
In 2016, LCV and its sister organization, LCV Education Fund, began an organizational change process to advance racial justice and equity through our work and improve the sense of inclusion within the organization and our network. This long-term organizational change process is based on a few fundamental beliefs, including:
- Participating in and having meaningful representation from our democratic process is a right for all people in this country, including communities of color who are among the strongest proponents of climate action, often the first and worst impacted by climate change and environmental degradation, and targeted in voter suppression.
- Our efforts to protect and advocate for clean air and water, public lands, healthy communities and a safe climate must be rooted in a deep understanding of racial, economic and environmental justice and advance its goals.
- Our staff, board, partners and others who we work with should reflect the racial diversity of our nation and should share our organization’s racial justice and inclusion priorities and values.
- Our commitment to racial justice and equity moves beyond being the right or strategic thing to do; it is an imperative for building the short-term and long-term social, political and economic power necessary to protect our democracy and the planet that we all depend on today and for generations to come.
This work is occurring at every level of the organization. We have established structures to ensure leadership and engagement on these issues from our executives, departments, and individual staff across the organization and the Conservation Voters Movement. It is an ongoing and dynamic institutional priority to develop the necessary framework to ensure that as an institution we not only reflect the changing racial demographics of our nation, but also that as we take on the most critical fight of our lives—addressing climate change—we are advancing a more racially just and equitable movement.