On Sunday, September 21st, 2014, I gave the following address at the Kentuckiana People’s Climate Mobilization:
Are you ready to stand up for climate action? Are you ready to stand up for climate action?
This Tuesday, heads of state are gathering in New York City for a historic summit on climate change. And this weekend, we are taking what is ours – community power. I’ve heard that today, around the world people are taking action, just as we are – in more than 150 countries with over 2,700 events. And collectively, we are demanding a world with an economy that works for planet and for the people; we are demanding a world safe from the ravages of climate change; and we are demanding a world with good jobs, clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.
I want to take a minute to talk about our demands and what that means for Kentucky, and for you and I. We know the deal: our waterways are constantly being polluted with corporations utilizing loopholes in our laws that regulate such; our air – our air, is being polluted as we stand here, and most likely tonight, as most nights, companies in Rubbertown will ramp up their air pollution because they know that the APCD workers don’t work the 3rd shift; our good jobs are being attacked by right to work legislation; and our communities are suffering the brunt of these collective attacks.
I had the honor and privilege of hearing Bill Fletcher Jr, speak recently. And to paraphrasing him, the right wing attack machine is committing terrorist attacks almost daily! They have driven a wedge between the environmental justice movement and the labor movement. They have driven a wedge between the climate justice movement and people of color & the poor. And they are pouring millions of dollars into these terrorist attacks. And I’m here to tell you today that we must stand together, we must stand together, we must stand together!
When we talk about the horrible effects of mountaintop removal, lets remember the workers who need a just transition into environmentally friendly employment with union representation. When we talk about air pollution, let’s remember Rubbertown and the racial disparity that exists and gives our legislators reason to turn a blind eye. When we talk about our polluted waterways and dirty coal, let us remember both the poor who reside closest to these travesties and bear the brunt of the terror. And when we talk about climate action, and our future, let us always be mindful and inclusive of all people, people of color, poor people, workers who need protections that only union representation can provide. Let us not only build alliances and movements and action, but let us build relationships that will last, and that will build our future with the demands that we have put forth! And that is how we will build an economy that works for the people and for the planet.