The Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) recently hosted a listening session with Emerald Cities Collaborative to discuss the federal Justice40 initiative and how it impacts underrepresented communities. The goal of Justice40 is to ensure that at least 40% of federal climate investments go directly to frontline communities most affected by poverty and pollution, many of which are located in the Appalachia. The investments would support clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and development of clean water infrastructure.
The listening session included information on program guidelines, implementation of the initiative, and an overview of The People’s Justice40+ Community Benefit Playbook created by Emerald Cities Collaborative.
There is a lot of information and resources available regarding Justice40; This White House initiative has the potential to truly impact disadvantaged communities if implemented correctly by the initiative’s recipients. The playbook helps people navigate the complicated, fast-moving work. It answers a range of questions about the different federal spending bills, such as:
- What are the various bills?
- How much money is available?
- What kind of money is it – grants, loans, contracts?
- What are the restrictions? What can the money be used for?
- How will the money flow from the federal government to state and local governments?
- Who is eligible to get the money?
- What are the potential community benefits?
- How can you influence how the money is spent?
- How can you organize your own community benefit strategy and plan?
- Where can you get more information and technical support?
The presentation featured comments by Sonia Kikeri, Ardie Griffin, Bishop Marcia Dinkins, Nora Elmarzouky, and Shana Goggins.
“Our goal is that you as a participant will have a clear understanding of Justice40, receive a tool that you can use to develop community plans, engage with your community leaders to build out that community plan, and understand how this speaks to energy democracy as well,” said Bishop Marcia Dinkins, executive director of BLAC.
The Playbook is an excellent way for participants of the initiative to create a Community Benefit Plan (CBP). The introduction of the Playbook reads, “A successful CBP will harness the infrastructure investments of major federal initiatives – such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – to meet community needs. These resources are also relevant for other, current and future, infrastructure investments at the local, state, and federal level needed for environmental reparation, climate resilience, and addressing health and wealth disparities within marginalized communities.”
Both BLAC and Emerald Cities Collaborative are invested in connecting and advocating for underrepresented communities in their fight for equitable and fair practices in environmental, economic, and climate issues.
The time is now to prioritize, resource, empower, and protect the most vulnerable rural, urban, and historically neglected communities. The “Making Justice40 a Reality” report provides a road map that will guide policymakers in the design and implementation of an equitable Justice40. www.thejustice40.com #Justice40 #ClimateJustice