This essay by NC WARN Organizing Director Connie Leeper appeared in our Fall 2018 newsletter.
You probably know about NC WARN’s efforts to move this state away from the dirty fossil fuel path that is driving climate change and boosting power bills. I want to share another climate we are changing – the climate of dismantling racism by ramping up our equity and inclusion work.
NC WARN has worked through many years to challenge environmental racism and economic injustices in our campaigns to help protect communities and slow climate change. For the past few years, our board and staff have invested time and energy to focus on how we can be a more inclusive and equitable organization as we increasingly bring those who are first and worst impacted by climate change to the center of our work. We’re formally working to become an anti-racist organization – one that helps the broader society finally come to grips with the systemic racism that’s causing devastation on so many fronts. Meanwhile, our youth organizers are bringing a more intergenerational focus to our organization.
In 2014, we upgraded our mission statement to be more intentional about our focus by adding this important clause “NC WARN seeks to address the needs of all of the public by intentionally including those often excluded from participation because of racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppression.” We have specific equity and inclusion goals related to decision-making, how we spend our resources, and to ensure our vision and values are reflected in our programmatic work.
Now we are starting another phase of our equity and inclusion efforts, to share them more broadly among our membership and allies in the climate justice movement.
We encourage you to lean into this effort with us – and to allow yourselves to be both vulnerable and less fragile. Working to be more just and equitable isn’t always easy, AND it is necessary to slow the climate-wrecking tide that is both global and local. It will take all of us. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be a part of this important life-long work.