George Floyd, another innocent black man, is murdered by policemen. He joins Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and countless others, tragedies resulting from systemic racism and oppression. Like climate change we must accept systemic racism as fact because if we don’t acknowledge it, how can we begin to heal the injustice of 400 years of violence and racial inequity in this country. We understand that racism has been a driving factor in the climate crisis, as our economic system has in the past objectified and continues to increasingly objectify the environment and the people as resources to be exploited.
At the League, we open connections and conversations among people of all cultures. We support environmental justice and understand that until we all do well, we cannot have a healthy society or healthy communities free from systemic racism.
The solution to stopping these acts of systemic racism must begin with each individual.
At the League, we use as our guide the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing (for Environmental Justice). The six guidelines which direct our actions are:
Let people speak for themselves
Work together in solidarity and mutuality
Build just relations among ourselves
Commit to self-transformation
Our hope for the future of our nation and the world rests on all those who are actively committed to acknowledging racism and to doing the challenging, and profoundly rewarding, act of listening, of reconciling and of creating communities and social institutions that foster well being. White people will never be able to truly understand the fear and frustration of people of color subjected to centuries of discrimination and oppression, but those of us who are white can learn to better appreciate the struggle people of color have navigating our white-centric community each and everyday, and learn to become effective allies in the struggle.
We will continue our work at the intersection of racism and climate disruption and bring to the forefront justice for the marginalized and the planet.
The Arkansas Citizens’ Climate League.