Dear Volunteers and Friends of 350 Chicago,
The mission of 350 Chicago is to advocate for a sustainable and equitable future for ourselves and future generations through divestment from fossil fuels, a just transition to renewable energy, and an end to new fossil fuel projects. A truly sustainable and carbon free world is one that is inclusive of people of all classes, races, and ethnicities. We already know that minority populations and low-income communities bear the brunt of climate change and suffer the most directly from pollution. Ultimately, the question of climate and sustainability is also one of equality and justice.
We at 350 Chicago are horrified and shocked by the violence and rampant inequality that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other innocent black individuals. These senseless acts of violence against black men and women and other minorities are another manifestation of the structural problems stemming from a lack of accountability, imbalanced justice systems, and systemic inequality that the climate movement has been working to dismantle. As environmental activists, we must not only work towards a cleaner and healthier world, but also a safer and fairer one, with liberty and justice for all people.
We stand in solidarity with movements that are actively working to face these challenges of racial inequality, systemic racism and the resulting violence. Over the past week, many of us watched or heard these instances of police brutality and the resulting protests and asked ourselves what we can do about it. We commit to listening and amplifying the voices of front line communities in the fight against climate change, as well as those disproportionately affected by COVID-19, police violence, and other forms of inequality.
We have decided to indefinitely postpone our World Environment Day fundraiser and ask that you redirect your contributions to bail bond funds, the George Floyd Memorial Fund, or numerous other organizations working to enact meaningful change.
These are challenging times. We must stand together, support one another, and do our part. We cannot create a sustainable and climate-conscious world without addressing the harm and violence that comes from systematic racism and inequality towards black and minority communities.
The 350 Chicago Team
Here are 7 things you can do right now to take action:
- Support and follow the Chicago chapter of Black Lives Matter
- Check out the 350 national statement over how to dismantle white supremacy or join this 350.org national webinar happening on Thursday, June 4th at 7pm CST. This webinar will focus on what it means to truly fight for climate justice and how to center racial justice and equity.
- Sign this petition from Color of Change calling for national police reform and accountability.
- Call your alderperson and tell them that you support the creation of CPAC (Civilian Police Accountability Council) in Chicago. An ordinance (created by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression) supporting CPAC has already been introduced into city council. Check if your alderperson supports it here.
- Fight voter suppression. Fair Fight, founded by Stacey Abrams, aims to end voter suppression, which will be especially relevant when considering the US presidential election in November. Consider donating (if you can) or getting involved.
- Donate to bail bonds funds. These organizations help pay the cost of bail for arrestees (who generally cannot afford bail) including protestors who have been arrested while demonstrating on the streets. During periods of COVID-19, the risk of contracting and dying from the virus while in prison is especially high. Here are funds for various cities, including one for Chicago.
- Follow Communities United Against Police Brutality. CUAPB provides a 24-hour crisis hotline which anyone can access to report police brutality or abuse, get legal aid, and more. Check out their Facebook page for CUAPB activities, news articles and other relevant information.