NAACP Youth & College Division “Environmental Justice Engagement”
WHEREAS, the urban communities of color in America suffer disproportionately from poorly, unsustainably built environments with obscene levels of groundwater chemical exposure, brown field sites, automobile congestion, concrete jungles, littered public spaces, dirty fossil fuel and coal-driven energy; and
WHEREAS, youth are especially vulnerable and at risk to these perturbations of poor air quality and polluted open spaces; and
WHEREAS, factors such as clean communities with green open spaces and outdoor education have been proven to develop motor skills, promote socially cohesive environments, improves understanding of mathematical and scientific concepts which our nation needs to close the achievement gap; and
WHEREAS, the world's most powerful social movements such as the Civil Rights Movement have been steered by the younger citizens of America and our generation is conscious of its ability to affect positive civic change with technology, new media, and grassroots mobilizing; and
WHEREAS, the green movement can only poise itself to, as put by NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, "close the Black Green gap," with the deliberate involvement of tomorrow's future leaders who are indelibly members of the Youth & College Division; and
WHEREAS, environmental engagement is an avenue for the Youth & College Division to improve health by addressing biospheric conditions in communities, bolster economic empowerment through demanding green labor opportunities and advance higher education options with budding clean energy careers; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP has nationally adopted the Joint Resolution on Climate Change on July 12, 2009 and subsequently established the much-needed Climate Justice Initiative; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP National Office has appointed officials to mobilize all units on climate activism while the Youth & College Division has otherwise been silent on environmental activism in this crucial political season.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP, through the Youth & College Division, research the possibility of expanding its set of key issue areas which currently includes Economic Empowerment, Education, Health, Juvenile Justice and Voter Empowerment to include Environmental Justice with the ultimate goal of creating an Environment Justice Standing Committee for youth units; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP, through the Youth & College Division, advocate to local, state and national elected officials for cleaner, greener communities; environmental policies that do not harbor environment injustices which undermine the health of our young; do not keep urban adolescents inside to never enjoy their natural surroundings; and do not buffer our young adults out of the clean energy sector; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP, through the Youth & College Division, lead partnerships with youth-oriented, progressive, green advocacy groups such as, but not exclusive to, Green for All, Hip-Hop Caucus, Repower America, No Child Left Inside and Americans for Energy Leadership, to energize its units around these facets of environmental engagement for people of color to realize the American Dream.