Involved and Healthy Communities: Environmental Justice Day and People’s Climate Movement
The communities of the South Valley and Westgate care about environmental justice. That is why hosting free events and opportunities is important, in order to include everyone in our communities in decision-making processes. This inclusion is necessary for the growth and health of our community, county and city.
The communities in which Juntos organizes are the most impacted from contamination that affects their health. Environmental Justice Day at the state legislature gave the members of our communities the opportunity to connect with decision-makers about the Community Solar Gardens bill and other legislation impacting our families. Connecting and familiarizing the community to the decision-making process and decision-makers motivates them to take future action for important matters such as renewable energy sources. Being a trainer, team lead and M.C. for the Environmental Justice Day rally also reminded me what a strong leader I can be for my community.
On April 29, Juntos hosted a People’s Climate Movement sister march in Albuquerque’s Westgate neighborhood. The event brought the community together to plan a day to celebrate unity against
environmental racism and bringing families together to bike, run and walk. Even with weather changes, like 30 degree weather and snow, our community stayed strong and made “Familias Juntas Por El Planeta” (Families Together for the Planet) happen. It builds power by, for and with Latina/o/x mothers and youth to take a stand to protect the environment from contamination and promote healthier lives for their family and neighbors.
This unity is done in a fun way through activities for the entire family and exercise of our voices and bodies. These events were free of charge because we understand our community should have the right to these kind of events as we build power as community to become involved in decisions that affect our families’ health and the environment. Juntos as a program is about reducing barriers for Latina/o/x mothers and youth in the South Valley and Westgate to continue to be leaders in our communities for clean air and clean water. As a resident of the South Valley, I have learned that having an involved and healthy community is achievable and can be planned by us, the community. That is the message we spread through Juntos events such as the Environmental Justice Day and Familias Juntas Por El Planeta.
Abril is the contract Youth Organizer for CVNMEF’s Juntos: Our Air, Our Water and a resident of Albuquerque’s South Valley community. She is a graduating senior at South Valley Academy and plans to attend St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX this fall.