A Juntos: Our Air, Our Water Organizing Update: Clean Buses for Healthy Niños

After the Promotores training, graduates form committees who plan and organize together to address environmental justice in their neighborhoods as part of Juntos’ work. Recently, a committee of mothers shared their view of the Clean Buses for Healthy Ninos campaign: “As parents, our priority is to protect the health of our children and of our future generations. Through Juntos, we are able to be a part of environmental justice and work to create change that will benefit all of our families. The Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign allows for our children to be the center of our work as they are directly exposed to the pollution generated by diesel buses daily being transported to school to learn. We will continue to participate in these efforts to create a positive impact that will benefit low-income families and communities of color.”

Since launching the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign in August of 2017, Juntos: Our Air, Our Water has continued our efforts alongside our volunteers and leaders to build momentum and engage in leadership development of our communities in the South Valley, Westgate and International District of Albuquerque. The Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign is calling on Governor Susana Martinez and her Environment Department to put the health of New Mexico’s youth and communities first by using the state’s $18 million Volkswagen Clean Air Act settlement to fund clean, zero-emission electric school buses. Learn more about this campaign at www.cleanride4kids.org/.

Juntos is committed to community organizing, engaging communities of color and mobilizing Latino communities.

Over the past few months we have:

Collected over 100 public comments. Juntos surpassed its comment collection goal in March by gathering over 100 hand written public comments to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). Since the mitigation plan has not yet been released by the department, we have developed a new goal of 150 and are continuing to work with volunteers to gather additional comments.  These comments will be delivered to NMED once their mitigation plan is released to push them to include electric school buses as a platform of the plan.

Organized a stakeholder meeting. In March, Juntos hosted over 30 key allies and partners to continue engaging decision-makers, community allies and community members in the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign. Mothers and youth facilitated conversations in this meeting to brainstorm in what ways stakeholders can help build momentum and work with us to move the campaign forward.

Graduated 11 new Juntos Promotores. Juntos launched two Promotores training programs and workshops for both youth and mothers in February. The workshop series helps develop leadership skills and prepare the participants for advocacy work through environmental justice and civic engagement trainings. The Promotores workshops resulted in 11 new youth and mothers graduating as Juntos Promotores at the end of March. This new generation of Promotores will join other Juntos volunteers to continue leading the campaign forward.

Juntos: Our Air, Our Water’s March 2018 graduating class of Promotores, an environmental justice and civic engagement training program.

Began a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on electric school buses. Juntos launched its HIA, which will assess the impacts of diesel pollution on families and children, alongside CVNM Education Fund’s Western NM and Northern NM programs, to identify other social and health determinants that contribute to policy decisions that result in health problems in communities, like asthma.

For more information about this campaign, please visit our website at www.CVNMEF.org or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JuntosNM/.

By Estefany González-Mendoza, Juntos Program Coordinator