Latino Groups, Congressional Leaders Hold Climate Day of Action

WASHINGTON – Today, members of the Latino Climate Justice Framework Project (LCJF)–including GreenLatinos, Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Vota, and UnidosUS–were joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Raul Ruiz (D-CA) to highlight the way in which climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) will benefit the Latino community. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, most Latinos in the United States say global climate change is an important concern, with about eight-in-ten U.S. Hispanics (81%) who say that addressing global climate change is either a top concern or one of several important concerns to them personally.

During this Climate Day of Action, Latino groups and congressional leaders are pushing for the passage of BBBA, which will bring robust and transformational investments that work on aggressively combating the threats posed by climate change. BBBA sets forth the largest effort to accomplish this goal in American history and puts the country on course to meet its climate targets, achieving a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels in 2030.

The Latino community, like other minority groups, is disproportionately affected by respiratory illnesses. Increasing fires, along with rising temperatures, are greatly contributing to health issues like asthma among Latinos. Hispanics are twice as likely to visit the emergency department for asthma, as compared to non-Hispanic whites. This is especially concerning for Latino children, who are twice as likely to be uninsured as non-Latino children in the U.S.

Another key piece of the BBBA is focused on creating good-paying, union jobs through the launch of a new, diverse Civilian Climate Corps that will deliver environmental justice, particularly for poor communities and communities of color. Finally, the bill would also restore American manufacturing with R&D investments at Hispanic Serving Institutions, including critical investments to compete on clean energy.

To learn more about how BBBA helps Latino communities, click here

For more on the tangible benefits of BBBA’s climate investments, click here.

“Protecting the health of our planet also means investing in the wellbeing of the Latino community. Senate Democrats are working hard to deliver legislation that will safeguard our environment while providing jobs and economic opportunity to Latinos and communities of color in this country, including our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. That’s why the Build Back Better Act is focused on providing the tools we need to combat climate change while making the biggest, boldest investments in the communities that are impacted most by this existential threat,” said Leader Schumer.

“The Congressional Hispanic Caucus House Members unanimously voted to pass the Build Back Better Act, which includes historic investments to combat climate change and advance environmental justice throughout our country,” said CHC Chair Dr. Raul Ruiz. “Hispanic communities are among the most impacted communities to the effects of climate change. The Build Back Better Act will help us equitably address the impacts of climate change all while creating clean energy jobs that will benefit Americans nationwide.”

Felipe Benitez, Executive Director, Corazón Latino said: “The Build Back Better Act was created to bring transformative change to families of all backgrounds from diverse regions by growing the economy, investing in our communities, and tackling climate change. The potential to support the success of Latino families through investments in climate action cannot be overstated: For too long, Latinos have been overburdened with pollution that has contaminated our air and water, weather conditions that make us more vulnerable, skyrocketing energy costs that are a strain on finances, and poor health as a result of our direct exposure to contaminants in our neighborhoods and at our jobs. Corazón Latino urges Congress to recognize this monumental opportunity to deliver greater prospects for our families while also protecting Madre Tierra. We look forward to the Build Back Better Act ushering in a new age of prosperity that makes the American Dream healthier and more attainable for all.”

“The environmental degradation caused by the climate crisis is a clear and present danger to frontline communities, and Latinos are bearing the brunt of it. This is not a future existential crisis but a current one that must be dealt with immediately. The Build Back Better Act is a critical step in the right direction, with direct investments in fighting Climate Change. We are energized by the significant investment found in the bill and more determined than ever to continue to fight for our communities and ensure that we get the full protection and investment we deserve. We now demand the passage of this important bill in the Senate. The Latino community needs action now, and we will keep the pressure on to ensure that this bill becomes law,” said Mark Magaña, Founding President & CEO of GreenLatinos.

“Farmworker Justice urges the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act, through which nearly $600 billion would go towards funding climate action and environmental justice. Such legislation would catalyze improvements for numerous communities across America, including farm workers struggling against wildfires, heat illness, and other climate-related health issues."

Frankie Miranda, President and CEO, Hispanic Federation said  "Build Back Better is a rare opportunity to create a better future for our communities, address past inequities, and create the processes and structures to ensure our children and communities are healthier and can thrive. Now is the time to act on reversing or mitigating the impacts of climate change and charting a more equitable path for frontline communities. We can do this by investing and electrifying mass transit, which benefits working families most, creating incentives to make access to renewable technologies like solar more affordable, providing oversight to ensure FEMA's policies do not perpetuate inequity, and making sure clean, renewable energy and modernizing the electric grid are done in an equitable manner. We must right our past wrongs by investing in the infrastructure, oversight, and modernization required to benefit families in an equitable way and protect lives for years to come,"

We urge the Senate to deliver a Build Back Better Act that invests in clean energy jobs and a Civilian Climate Corps, provides rebates and tax credits to help middle-class families go green, helps to restore forests and prevent wildfires, and ensures that 40% investment benefits are realized in disadvantaged communities. These investments are critical if we are to reduce emissions by 52% by 2030, and they will spur the creation of millions of jobs supporting a clean energy economy. Latinos often live in places with the highest concentrations of air pollution, and that is why investments must reach communities most impacted by polluting industries and climate-driven disasters, and they must provide dedicated support for energy and water efficiency, climate resilience, and communities that are transitioning from fossil fuel industries, said Camilla Simon, Executive Director, Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO)

“Mi Familia Vota urges the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act. This legislation will not only bring great positive change in the fight against the climate crisis, but also directly to the lives of the Latino community. Latinos will finally have guaranteed job security in the clean energy sector, and environmentally safe livelihoods. This is long overdue for our disproportionately impacted community so the time to pass the Act is now,” said Katara Burrola, Mi Familia Vota Environmental Justice Organizer.

Yadira Sanchez, Co-Executive Director of Poder Latinx said "the Latinx community is on the frontlines of our climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the disparities we already knew existed. We deserve a fighting chance to save our climate and prevent further damage to our Madre Tierra. Extreme heat, hurricanes, droughts, floods, and other catastrophes are making everyday life difficult across the country for our community.  We commend the passage of the Build Back Better agenda through the House and will continue pushing our Senators to do the same to negotiate equitable environmental justice policies. that will improve the quality of life for the Latinx community.”

“The Build Back Better Act makes historic strides to address systemic inequalities that are detrimental to the Latino community. From making public transportation more accessible to helping the average family save about $500 each year in utility bills, the BBBA’s programs will significantly make a positive impact in Latino households, said Rafael Collazo, Executive Director, Unidos Action Fund.

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