Biden Wins! (Pause) Now what do we do?

“Let folk celebrate people power winning some sh*t yesterday. And if you have a critique, our people deserve for our critiques to be fully investigated and to be offered a clear alternative that is worth their labor and sacrifices.” --adrienne maree brown

On November 7th, Joe Biden became our 46th President-Elect and Kamala Harris became Madame Vice President-Elect. When I heard the news, I texted everyone I knew. The biggest emotion I felt was relief. I don’t think I realized how much stress I was holding until Pennsylvania called the vote for Biden -- that’s when I felt something that I had been holding tight within me finally start to release. When I called my sister, she was crying because we now have the first U.S. Vice President who is a woman, a daughter of immigrants, Black, and Indian. I realized that I hadn’t even grasped the significance of this moment -- how HUGE it is to see a woman that looks like me who is now the second highest ranking position in the nation because I had been living in such fear and stress. Once my sister said it out loud, I realized that I could finally feel hope for the future, for my children. Hope that things can change, as evident by Vice President Elect Harris’ win. And as Vice President Elect said, while she is the first woman of color to hold the position, she most definitely will not be the last. 

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ClimatePlan says, "Equity is Not Salt; We Need to Add Spice" at CTC / CARB / HCD joint meeting

On Wednesday, November 4, 2020, ClimatePlan and Greenlining Institute gave a presentation at the California Air Resources Board / California Transportation Commission / Housing and Community Development Joint Meeting on what it looks like to co-fund transportation equity. In the clip below, I share that we must stop treating equity as if it's salt. We cannot sprinkle equity into programs, or sprinkle a little equity into a public participation workshop. We cannot add equity as garnish to transportation plans that are already baked and mostly finalized. We must season our programs with more equity. We need "fall off the bone, succulent, and satisfying programs." We can't create these programs by adding more salt, or adding more equity through public participation programs. We have to dig deep to identify what are the systemic issues. Watch the video below to hear me share more on what's needed for more succulent, fall off the bone transportation programs.

Hana Creger at The Greenlining Institute presented after me and shared how the California Air Resources Board and California Transportation Commission can move beyond sprinkling equity, to actually adding spice into current transportation programs. You can review The Greenlining Institute's slides here or watch the meeting here (Hana starts at 2:15:33).

I have written about the work ClimatePlan is doing to create an Equity Advisory Committee (EAC) here, here and here. If you are interested in getting involved in these efforts contact Nailah Pope-Harden, Policy Manager at Nailah [AT] climateplanca [DOT] org. 

P.S. I also hope that I have changed the way that you cook. Now when you open your spice cabinet, I hope you're thinking about equity.


Advocates push for vision in California's most recent statewide transportation plan

The California Transportation Plan 2050 (CTP)  was recently released by CalTrans. To respond to the plan, 17 organizations within the ClimatePlan network signed on to a CTP 2050 comment letter and submitted the letter on October 22, 2020. In the letter, ClimatePlan and other organizations highlight that we appreciate the aspirations of the CTP and its goals to provide a coordinated vision for transportation in California that reduces emissions, advances equity, and promotes public health. We also offer many recommendations on how the CTP can make even further progress in these areas. 

Below are several general themes that ClimatePlan and other signers would like to see bolstered and addressed more thoroughly throughout the Plan. We include very specific recommendations within each of these themes in the full letter.  You can read the full PDF of the letter here. 

Prioritizing Equity
While we commend Caltrans for incorporating an equity portion into their plan, our overarching recommendation is, in addition to just having a separate equity goal, equity should be integrated into each strategy addressing the areas or people in most need. 

Achieve Our Climate Goals
The Plan appropriately draws on many other plans and builds on the earlier CTP 2040. However, it is unclear what progress, if any, has been made in the implementation of earlier plans or what barriers to implementation of earlier plans have been identified. To meet our climate goals, these types of assessments need to be made.

Improving Quality of Life

Our transportation system is inextricably linked to the quality of life. As we strive to make our transportation system cleaner, it is not enough if it is not accessible transportation in certain areas, particularly low-income and rural areas. Quality transportation promotes quality health outcomes.

For more information, contact Nailah Pope-Harden, ClimatePlan's State Policy Manager, at [email protected] 

 

 

 

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Expanding Resilience in a Tumultuous Time

As we navigate through a global pandemic, massive wildfires and hazardous air quality, a racial reckoning, and an upcoming election, self care and finding ways to stay resilient are of utmost importance. At ClimatePlan, we’re constantly thinking about how to stay resilient as a network, as a team, and as individual staff members. It has been a challenging year to say the least, but we’re finding ways to stay afloat during these tough times and use these difficult times to innovate and create if we have the mental and emotional bandwidth to do so. It’s become increasingly clear that we’re undergoing major transformations from the personal to the collective level and we’re navigating through it - as bravely as we can - together. 

It’s not at all lost on us within the ClimatePlan network that we’re truly doing some of the most challenging work right now in ultimately trying to address and reverse climate change and it’s multitude of impacts. To do this work while the climate crisis is right at our front doors is sobering. Below are some of the ways that we’re navigating through this as a network and as a team. 

Individual Self Care

For our individual self care, on our own time, we’re following the lead of theorist Audre Lorde when she said “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” We know that taking care of ourselves allows us to show up with more presence, spaciousness, and bandwidth when we need to. 

We’re taking care of ourselves in the following ways: 

  1. Taking long walks and hot epsom salt baths (pro tip: try Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath), 
  2. Journaling and diffusing essential oils throughout the day, 
  3. Eating nutritious foods as best we can and breaking up long days with 10-minute dance parties and good music, 
  4. Stretching and doing yoga at the beginning and end of each day.

Spring Opara at CompassPoint NonProfit Services also shares an incredible list of 5 weeks of self care that we’ve been following. 

But we’re also taking self care a step further - in a place that self care really matters. We’re putting our shared agreements into practice in very tangible ways. 

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We're Back!

For those that don’t know, ClimatePlan went through a major transition this summer. We transitioned from our long-time fiscal sponsor, TransForm, to our new fiscal sponsor, Community Partners. While we transitioned to Community Partners, most of ClimatePlan’s staff were offline. 

While the transition took longer than expected, I am happy to announce that we are back (and yes, both childhood Chanell and my son are pleased that I could fit a Ghostbusters 2 reference into this blog post, especially since Halloween is around the corner).  

What is the first thing we did when we returned? Setting our strategic intentions for greater transparency, connection, and advocacy within our network. As a team, we wanted to be intentional about the structures we set up as we returned back to work. We wanted to make sure that our structures and decision-making were transparent for our network and nimble enough to address the massive transitions we’re experiencing externally (the wildfires, pandemic, and racial reckoning) as well as internally (new fiscal sponsor, new Advisory Board and staff roles and responsibilities). 

Keep reading to learn more about the changes at ClimatePlan. 

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