Black America Web - Green For All: Bringing Big Change to Communities of Color

Written by Cherie S. White, Black America Web

Cross-posted on Black America Web. Read original post here.

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There’s a movement going on, one that will literally change the world for the better. And Green For All, a nationwide organization whose mission is to improve the lives of all Americans through building a clean energy economy, is a leader in this effort. 

A clean energy economy boasts many benefits including energy independence and reducing pollution. But possibly the most important benefit is job creation. Green For All’s main goal is to create good quality jobs that not only provide a paycheck but security to lift needy Americans out of poverty.

CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins has a special connection to the issue of environmental pollution. Born in San Francisco, she moved to a community in California that was one house away from the Chevron refinery and within 30 miles of several other factories. Boiling water to remove oil deposits was the norm for her and her family and she struggled with asthma. But moving wasn’t an option for them, which was common among the families in that community. Staying there meant having a job, but it also meant struggling with extremely poor air quality.

“If you were poor, black or brown, you only had a choice between health and the environment or health and a job,” says Ellis-Lamkins. Her experience led her to advocate for workers’ rights. She later realized that the main issue at hand was economic.

“Green For All is a place that wants every person to believe they don’t have to give up working to have a healthy environment. They can have both,” she says. Poor people of color sometimes don’t think they deserve a better environment, says Ellis-Lamkins.

Convincing them otherwise is her greatest challenge. But the organization is determined to change that by creating specific strategies so that folks most harmed are a part of the solution.

Their strategy is three-fold:

  1. Create green jobs to employ those who need it most.
  2. Work to change laws and create incentives for businesses to create those jobs.
  3. Make change fun by partnering with musicians and entertainers like the Black Eyed Peas, Common, Drake and others to raise awareness.

Green For All has teamed up with many large organizations like the NAACP, the Urban League, HBCUs, the Congressional Black Caucus and many grassroots organizations around the country to reach their goals. This Earth Day, Green For All is hoping to reach the masses by engaging young people via livestream.

Join #EarthDayLive, a two-hour livestream by Green For All and of the Young Voters Education Fund that will include environmental call to actions from CommonDrakeAnthony MackieWyclef JeanWill.i.am and Wiz Khalifa., as well as in-depth interviews with industry leaders.

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