It’s the 2nd Annual #Blackclimateweek, hosted by the HipHop Caucus and The Solutions Project. Meet climate change guru, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr.!
#Blackclimateweek, The Hiphop Caucus, Reverend Lennox Yearwood. Jr., The Solutions Project
#BLACK CLIMATE WEEK
Climate justice is racial justice and racial justice is climate justice―that’s the underlying theme behind the second annual #BlackClimateWeek, happening this week, February 21-25. Hip Hop Caucus, the Solutions Project and many other Black-led organizations are participating. The theme: Amplify. Educate. Activate.
Black organizers have always been on the front lines of white supremacy and ecological destruction, and these two fights have always been the same one. Kicking off today, #Black Climate Week will highlight organizations and individuals who are working together with their communities to build a just and equitable future for all. Follow along using #BlackClimateWeek. We at The Climate Daily will do our part to shine an extra bright spotlight BIPOC climate change subject matter experts this week.
And why does celebrating the 2nd annual #BlackClimateWeek matter to all of us? First of all, these folks are making Black history. Second of all, according to a recent Pew study, Blacks and other people of color are more inclined to be concerned about climate change than their white counterparts, and also more likely to take action to combat climate change. So that’s to be celebrated.
In the words of Gloria Walton: “Black communities have always had a deep connection with the land. We are caretakers of the planet and are among the most impacted by the climate crisis.”
In the words of Rev. Lennox of HopHop Caucus, “We are nothing without our community, and we are so fortunate to be surrounded by groups that are doing the good work together that none of us could accomplish alone.” See you for Black Climate Week 2022!
THE HIPHOP CAUCUS
The Hip Hop Caucus is a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process of building power and creating positive change. It’s a movement created in 2004 by four organizations all working to get people out to vote:
- Hip Hop Summit Action Network
- Sean Diddy Comb’s (“Vote Or Die!”)
- Jay Z’s “Voice Your Choice”
- AFL-CIO’s “Hip Hop Voices”
Currently, the hiphop Caucus is approaching their work on climate from the perspective of BIPOC communities, communities where pollution and climate impacts are life and death issues. In particular, its focus is on climate change communications via its platform, “Think 100%”, which has four main areas of engagement:
The People’s Climate Music features artists such as Common, NE-YO, Elle Varner, Raheem Devaughn, Antonique Smith, Jeremih, SEWna REH LAY, Sonna Rele , and Crystal Waters.
Why does the HipHop Caucus matter to us? EVERYONE taking action to combat climate change matters to us! If we can benefit from great music as a result, even better!!
MEET CLIMATE CHAMPION, REV. LENNOX YEARWOOD, JR.
Community activist Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., is both a U.S. Air Force veteran and a Howard University trained minister. The Louisiana born and bred Rev. Yearwood believes those who grew up listening to hip hop are a unique generation, and are therefore uniquely able to influence change.
In that vein, he collaborated with Sean P. Diddy Combs in 2004 to launch “Vote or Die.” That project brought together elements of the hip hop community and grassroots voting work. And it was successful. That campaign helped bring 21 million voters to the polls for the 2004 presidential election. According to the Washington Post, the highest voter turnout for that age group since 1972,
Buoyed by the success of Vote or Die, Rev. Yearwood founded the Hip Hop Caucus. It started out as an organization focused on rallying political will around getting young people out to vote. But in 2005, he shifted focus to Louisiana. There he created the Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign, advocating for climate change victims of Hurricane Katrina in his home state.
True to his ministerial roots, Rev. Yearwood sees the environmental argument for Yearwood as a moral one. Just as slavery is immoral, so too is America’s dependency on fossil fuels, particularly as the dependency on it severely impacts communities of color two ways–lack of agency as well as deleterious health effects. Rev. Yearwood’s mission is to rectify those issues.
In 2018, he helped launch Think 100%, Hip Hop Caucus’ award-winning climate communications and activism platform. He has also joined others in issuing a call for the US to reach net zero by 2025. Why does Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. matter to us? Says Yearwood, “if the climate movement does not become more inclusive, the goal of transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy will not happen.”
THE SOLUTIONS PROJECT, REDUX
A lot of climate change websites are beautiful yet dour. You may know what I mean—beautiful photos of animals and plants and forests and rivers and oceans and byways—all the things we’ll lose/are losing if we let the pollution blanket we created continue to overheat the Earth and cause pain and suffering to us, our friends and our family…forever.
Not the Solutions Project, though. That website leaves you with the impression that fighting climate change ain’t nothin’ but a party! I love it. Why? Because fighting climate change, adapting, mitigating, creating resiliency will be hard. So better to treat it like a party than a funeral, right?
That’s not the only way The Solutions Project is different. According to its website, “Our collective future depends on the work of many already solving problems they face in their own communities…Our commitment to Black, Indigenous and other communities of color, along with a pledge to elevate women in leadership doesn’t stop with grantee support. We also ensure they have a seat at the table, and the materials to build their own tables — as they are the past, present and future of our movements.”
The Solutions Project was founded in 2013 by Mark Jacobsen and Mark Ruffalo. Its CEO and president is Gloria Walton, an NAACP-LA Empowerment Award winner and described as one of the 100 power players in philanthropy. Just a few months after taking on the roles of CEO and president, Walton negotiated a $43 million dollar, unrestricted gift from the Bezos Earth Fund.
Since 2015, The Solutions Project has invested over $8.5 million dollars across 33 states to 128 grantees. Some of those grantees include the Alliance for a Green Economy, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network Action, Blacks in Green and the Resilience Force.