Standing Up for Racial and Environmental Justice Now
As members of the Santa Clara University Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative, we study how structural and institutionalized racism and violence have greatly harmed Black and brown communities, including through environmental injustices such as the uneven distribution of pollution and the lack of access to clean air, water, and food. We have learned much and have much yet to learn from the groundbreaking work of Black scholars of environmental and climate justice. As we continue to expand and deepen our understanding of environmental justice and its relationship to racial justice, we seek to work with and support others, especially African American and other communities of color, scholars, and other colleagues on these issues.
We call on ourselves and commit to support others to take the following steps to stand up for racial and environmental justice now.
1) Learn about research and policies for stopping police violence and other forms of racism against communities of color. Study the history of resistance to the long-term, systemic harm of environmental racism and injustice. Learn about the global violence of climate change, and brown and Black activists’ and scholars’ work in the climate justice movement in the United States and around the world. Learn why racial justice is linked to environmental justice in policy statements such as the Platform for Black Lives and the Just Transitions Principles. Educate ourselves about state and local environmental justice policy advocacy.
2) Support racial justice by donating to organizations led by people of color that engage in organizing and policy advocacy against structural racial violence, such as the Movement4Black Lives, local Black Lives Matter chapters, Say Her Name, Critical Resistance, 8 To Abolition, and the Black Youth Project 100. Support people of color-led environmental justice organizations, such as the Climate Justice Alliance and the California Environmental Justice Alliance. Find and support local racial and environmental justice organizations in our area. If we donate to mainstream environmental organizations or causes, earmark our financial support for environmental justice issues.
3) Actively engage with practicing antiracism against individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural racism, including in academia. Engage in racial and environmental justice organizing in ways that foreground and respect leadership by people of color: join and follow the lead of organizations like those listed above, sign their petitions, and circulate their calls for justice to our networks. White allies can join organizations such as Showing Up for Racial Justice, which has many local chapters that hold themselves accountable to black and brown leaders, while turning out support to end white silence on racial injustice. Support a free and fair electoral process, and vote and campaign for elected officials who promise to enact transformative policies for racial and environmental justice. Reshape our work to address environmental justice issues or prioritize them in our research agendas.
To carry out these plans, we commit to
1) Engage colleagues, friends, and others from the faculty, student body, administration, and communities in meetings and events to discuss and learn about environmental and racial justice issues from each other, so that we can gain a deeper understanding of the linkages and become more effective in addressing them.
2) Support and collaborate with communities of color, especially African American communities in Northern California, on the environmental justice challenges they face.
3) Recruit and welcome more faculty members and staff of color to participate fully in our work, and take responsibility for attracting the resources and creating an environment to support their participation.
Raphael, C. (2019). Engaged scholarship for environmental justice: A guide. Santa Clara, CA: Santa Clara University. Produced for our 2019 conference, this guide to doing community-based research on environmental justice is being expanded into a book.
Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Working Group
Consult the working group for advice on conducting CBPR.
Contact: Christopher Bacon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thriving Neighbors Initiative, Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education
Thriving Neighbors is an engaged teaching, scholarship, and sustainable development program that links Santa Clara University with the five, predominantly Latino neighborhoods that make up the Greater Washington community in San Jose.
Contact: Irene Cermeño (email@example.com)
International Human Rights Law Clinic
The International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) provides a unique opportunity for law students to gain first-hand experience working on international human rights litigation, advocacy and policy projects. The IHRC combines classroom education with supervised case and project management, providing students with practical training in essential lawyering skills while serving our community and promoting social justice.
Contact: Francisco J. Rivera Juaristi (IHRC@scu.edu)
Northern California Environmental Justice Working Group
The working group of faculty and staff from many Bay Area universities meets regularly to exchange ideas and resources for teaching and research about environmental justice, much of it community-based.
Contact: Iris Stewart-Frey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA)
CEJA is a statewide, community-led alliance that works to achieve environmental justice by advancing policy solutions. As a membership organization of the main grassroots environmental justice groups in California, CEJA combines organizing, movement-building, and strategic policy advocacy.
We are in the process of mapping environmental justice research centers, projects, and faculty in California, which will be posted here.
Across Jesuit Education
AJCU Integral Ecology Affinity Group
The affinity group of faculty, administrators, and staff advances members’ work toward Pope Francis’ integral ecology and allows for more connection to the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). Integral ecology includes environmental justice, economic justice and an application of the natural sciences.
Contact: Rev. John Braverman, S.J. (email@example.com)
AJCU Ecology Educators
This faculty group aims to provide a community of support and stimulation for faculty members working interdisciplinarily and toward a courageous way of teaching and learning in the face of unprecedented crises. It aims to communicate and then implement a more radical way of teaching and learning that matches the crises we and, particularly, our students face. See the group’s Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability.
Ecojesuit is an online publication that offers contemporary, original, and exclusively written commentaries, reflections and insights, analysis, and exchange of ideas and practices on various ecological and social concerns. While initially directed at Jesuit practitioners and organizations working on ecological concerns, Ecojesuit encourages participation and communication beyond the Jesuits and promotes a global collaboration and networking on ecology.
Environmental and Economic Justice Working Group, International Association of Jesuit Universities
By linking the environmental crisis to its roots in economic forces, and calling for an integral environmental humanism, the Church has pointed to necessary economic, social, political and psychological changes that are necessary if we are to survive in our “common home.” The working group addresses the question of how Jesuit institutions of higher education worldwide can take a leadership role in addressing these two challenges (which amount to different sides of the same coin).
We are in the process of mapping environmental justice research centers, projects, and faculty across the Jesuit schools network, which will be posted here.