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Earthworks is committed to climate justice and environmental justice in order to improve the health, safety and well-being of all communities. Yet the cruel, inhumane treatment of Black and brown people in the U.S. today makes it extremely difficult to imagine justice for communities of color. The murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis along with so many recent killings of Black people by police is part of an intolerable history of racist violence in the U.S. 

To show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Earthworks has been sharing movement resources with our supporters, we have adopted Juneteenth as a staff holiday, and last week, we made donations to five organizations that operate under African American leadership and are working towards Black liberation. They are as follows: 

  • The Movement For Black Lives, a coalition of 150+ organizations representing Black communities throughout the US. It was formed in 2014 in response to the high-profile killings of Black people including Tamir Rice and Michael Brown. Its demands include reparations, investing in Black communities while divesting from “exploitative forces”, economic justice, community control, and political power. 
    • You can donate to M4BL here.  
  • Campaign Zero, an organization founded by several Black Lives Matter organizers that researches police violence and offers policy alternatives and reforms to policing. 
    • You can donate to Campaign Zero here
  • National Bail Out, a “Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support our folks and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration.” They regularly run fundraisers to bail out Black mothers and have raised awareness about the vulnerability of incarcerated people to COVID-19. 
    • You can donate to National Bail Out here.
  • The Okra Project, a food-based organization that pays Black trans chefs to cook food for food-insecure Black trans people all over the country. It takes its name from the plant, which enslaved Africans smuggled onto ships after capture, and which “is often associated with health, prosperity, and community.”
    • You can donate to the Okra Project here
  • The National Black Environmental Justice Network, which is “dedicated to improving the lives of Black people and addressing the systemic racism that harms and denies Black People equal access to environmental, climate, racial and economic justice, health equity, political power, civil rights and human rights.” 
    • You can donate to the NBEJN here

The environmental justice movement owes its existence and much of its progress to Black and Indigenous Peoples; Dr. Benjamin Chavis, then-head of the Commission for Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ, coined the term “environmental racism” in 1982. Earthworks stands in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and affirms that environmental and climate justice cannot happen without racial justice, particularly for Black and Indigenous Peoples. 

In addition to donating, Earthworks is committed to the hard, long road of dismantling systemic racism, oppression and white supremacy, within the environmental movement and in the United States at large. We are a white-led organization, and we recognize the privilege we hold as leaders in the environmental movement. While this is one small action, making a financial contribution to Black-led organizations is one step among many that we are taking to demonstrate solidarity and support for the movement for Black liberation. 

If you’d like to know more about the above organizations, feel free to follow the links to their websites and get to know them. If you are considering making a financial contribution to the Movement for Black Lives in this critical racial justice moment, we encourage you to take a look at these organizations, and join us in supporting them.

Update – August 12, 2020

After Earthworks made gifts to the Black-led organizations listed above, our staff and board decided to show their commitment to racial justice with a fundraising campaign to match the organization’s contributions. More than $3,000 in personal donations were given by staff and board members to support the movement as a result.

Photo credit: Levin Holtkamp via Wikimedia Commons