Equity and Inclusion Statement
by Ruth Marchetti
We who live in Penfield recognize and appreciate the privilege of living in a community with exceptional schools, beautiful parks and easy access to stores and amenities that enhance our quality of life. As members of Color Penfield Green striving to be responsible stewards of the environment, we recognize that our world cannot be separated from the well-being of many interdependent levels of community. Environmental concerns are interwoven with all factors of human well-being. The well-being of our town is dependent on the well-being of the greater communities of Rochester, Monroe County, New York State and the world. Climate change has taught us that.
In addition, we recognize that we live on land once occupied by O-non-dowa-gah, (pronounced: Oh-n’own-dough-wahgah) or “the people of the Great Hill.” In English, they are known as Seneca people, “the keeper of the western door.” Together, with the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Tuscarora, the Seneca nation makes up the sovereign Haudenosaunee (ho-dee-no-SHO-nee) Confederacy. We pay respects to their elders past and present and recognize that our presence here today came at great suffering to them.
We also recognize that much of Penfield’s development grew out of intentionally racist policies that encouraged white flight from the city of Rochester and excluded people of color through (racist) zoning, lending and real estate policies.
Because of the ongoing legacy of these policies and as a recognition that we are enriched and challenged by the greatest variety of voices, we commit to an anti-racist stance and actively strive to achieve a diverse membership. We support and stand in solidarity with those who are working to integrate anti-racist, pro-indigenous and environmental justice policies in our community. We are one human family (and all equal).
According to the EPA, Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:
the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
Environmental racism is the inverse of environmental justice. Even controlling for levels of poverty, polluters are more likely to be located in communities with a higher percentage of people of color.
The Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group has called on local organizations and individuals to publicly acknowledge that racism is a public health crisis and commit to fighting for racial justice. ColorPenfieldGreen has signed on in support of their statement and we encourage readers to consider doing the same. Not only is racism a public health crisis, climate change will only exacerbate the dangers. We will support initiatives at the local, state, and federal level that advance social and economic justice. We commit to advocating for policies that will improve health and climate resiliency in communities of color.
Climate change is an existential threat to everyone on this planet, but the effects will hit, are hitting, and have been hitting indigenous populations and people of color first and hardest. These populations are more likely to be exposed to the harmful air pollutants that are released when burning hydrocarbons, and therefore have much higher rates of asthma, respiratory diseases, and other chronic illnesses – some of which are the very underlying health issues causing Covid-19 to be so much more deadly to these populations.
Unequal Impact: The Deep Links Between Racism and Climate Change by Beth Gardiner, June 9, 2020
Energy Justice and Climate Change: Key Concepts for Public Health by American Public Health Association
Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism by By Somini Sengupta, June 3, 2020
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice by Corinne Shutack, Originally posted August 13, 2017 & is continually updated
I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet. By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, June 3, 2020
Trump's EPA Concludes Environmental Racism Is Real by Vann R. Newkirk II, February 28, 2018
Connections: How climate change affects the health of at-risk communities By Evan Dawson & Megan Mack, April 16, 2020
A Green New Deal Architect Explains How the Protests and Climate Crisis are Connected by James Temple, June 11, 2020
Green New Deal vs. Carbon Tax: A Clash of 2 Worldviews, Both Seeking Climate Action by Marianne Lavelle, March 4, 2019
A Guerrilla Gardener in South Central LA, Ron Finley, 2013 TED talk
540WMain is an online and community-based hub for accessible education and events that promote justice for all. We aim to create a cultural shift in perspectives and practice by connecting members to lifestyle programming informed by social justice and anti-racism strategies.
Environmental Justice Groups
NY Renews is a statewide coalition of over 200 environmental, justice, faith, labor, and community groups, and the force behind the nation’s most progressive climate law. They fight for good jobs and climate justice.
Whether by bus, by rail, on bike, or on foot, Reconnect Rochester champions transportation choices that enable a more vibrant and equitable community.
SHR is a community campaign designed to encourage residents to install clean heating and cooling technologies and improve home energy efficiency.
Social Justice Groups
Metro Justice is a progressive member-driven, grassroots organization dedicated to social, economic, and racial justice in Rochester
SURJ supports the missions of People of Color-led racial justice groups in the Rochester area in their fight against oppression and inequality. They educate white people about privilege and white supremacy and organize white people to act for racial justice with passion and accountability.