- Can you describe the BIPOC Caucus on Climate Justice?
- We began in early 2021, so we are still growing and evolving. As members of BIPOC communities, we often feel isolated and sometimes ignored—even within UU spaces. The caucus is a space where the challenges of racism and environmental and climate injustice may be lifted up, and where substantive conversations about such challenges can sustain and nourish our commitments.
- We hope the caucus can grow into a voice for the BIPOC community on climate justice issues in larger forums within and outside the UUA.
- Over the course of your career, how have you seen communities of color disproportionately affected by pollution?
- Historically, many U.S. laws to control hazardous products left a door open for toxic goods to be exported to low-income countries, where such exports often resulted in environmental pollution or health injuries. In the U.S., the highest levels of pollution are in areas that are inhabited by the economically marginalized and people of color. And we know well that exposure to pollution is injurious to health and the environment.
- And, though climate change will not be kind to anyone, we have repeatedly witnessed its disproportionate and disastrous impacts on communities of color.
- What has the response of UUs been to issues around climate justice? Are they incorporating a climate justice lens?
- We UUs are deservedly well recognized for our work on social justice issues, especially racial justice, LGBTQ+ justice, get out the vote work, etc. But notice the paucity of sessions or forums on climate justice at the 2021 General Assembly! Still, many UU congregations are engaged in environmental issues.
- I hope that through the work of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth, our BIPOC caucus, young adults, and others, climate justice will soon receive a higher profile at the UUA and regional UU organizations. This is an issue of utmost urgency!
- How can people support the BIPOC Caucus on Climate Justice and address climate justice issues?
- The caucus holds monthly meetings for BIPOC folks, and our quarterly meetings are open to all. People can get updates at bit.ly/bipocclimate.
- White folks can also engage by working within their congregations and collaborating with community groups.
Here, as in everything else, we need to give BIPOC folks and people with lived experience of the ravages of a changing climate the recognition and leadership roles that they deserve.