VIDEO: Karen Bass on How Donald Trump’s War on our Climate is Harming Communities of Color
Washington, D.C. – Today in a new video, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), highlights the alarming connection between climate change and the high rate of pollution in Black and Brown communities. The video from Bass is part of a series of Climate Power 2020 featuring elected leaders and experts from across the country focusing on the importance of immediate climate action.
“I also know that the climate crisis harms Black and Brown Americans at disproportionately high rates as it is our communities being forcefully exposed to toxic air and pollution. And I know that if we don’t act now, it’s going to be increasingly harder for our families and children to breathe and live,” said Bass. “Because of the stark connections between racial justice and climate justice, it is clear: if we don’t fight for transformative change to address the climate crisis, we won’t achieve racial justice. These two movements are intrinsically and inextricably linked.”
Scientists have warned that soot pollution disproportionately affects communities of color and can cause cancer, heart disease, and asthma, which kills Black children at 10 times the rate as white children.
This summer, Trump gutted the National Environmental Protection Act, a rule that gave communities of color a say on federal projects that would bring pollution and chemicals to their neighborhoods — effectively silencing Black and Brown communities trying to protect their homes from pollution.
Studies have also shown that Black mothers and their babies are disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change. One Journal of the American Medical Association-connected study found that Black mothers are nearly two-and-half times more likely to have children with a low birth weight than their white counterparts.
The Bass video is the latest in a series that includes Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Former Ambassador to the United Nations and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Founder of Fair Fight and the Southern Economic Advancement Project Stacey Abrams.
Hello, I’m Congresswoman Karen Bass.
We are living through unprecedented times, witnessing what happens when a president ignores science, ignores facts, and ignores people.
This is why we need to turn this moment into a movement — one that calls for bold, transformative action to correct course and combat the climate crisis.
Before I was elected to Congress, I served as a nurse so I’ve seen firsthand the impacts climate, weather, and pollution have on families — affects that have gotten significantly worse over the years.
I also know that the climate crisis harms Black and Brown Americans at disproportionately high rates as it is our communities being forcefully exposed to toxic air and pollution. And I know that if we don’t act now, it’s going to be increasingly harder for our families and children to breathe and live.
Because of the stark connections between racial justice and climate justice, it is clear: if we don’t fight for transformative change to address the climate crisis, we won’t achieve racial justice. These two movements are intrinsically and inextricably linked.
Earlier this year, as all Americans witnessed the brutality of George Floyd’s murder, we heard again the painful cry of “I Can’t Breathe.” As Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, we’re working on transformative legislation to address police brutality head-on.
We need the same for climate change to support the families who bear the brunt of environmental injustice.
In too many cases, Black and Brown communities cannot breathe because President Trump sold their neighborhoods to the highest fossil fuel bidder — companies that value polluters over people.
We must invest in our communities and climate – we need action that takes into account the harm this administration has inflicted on Black and Brown communities. If our solutions are not equitable to all people, it will not work.
We must make this a defining moment and empower our leaders to take immediate, concrete, bold action to solve the climate crisis. It will take everything we’ve got — but it is the only way to secure our future.