Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion

Compounding crises: How climate change and COVID-19 disproportionately impact women

Compounding crises: How climate change and COVID-19 disproportionately impact women

What do the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have in common? They both disproportionately impact women, especially women of color.

Throughout the course of the pandemic women have left the workforce in alarming numbers and have lost an average of 5.4 million jobs in the United States — 1 million more than their male counterparts. And, women of color are being hit the hardest by the pandemic and by the effects of climate change.

In December of 2020, women of color accounted for ALL of the recorded job losses, and 154,000 Black women left the labor force entirely. Women are expected to balance careers and provide financial support while also being the dominant caretakers of children and family at home. In many communities, especially rural communities and communities of color, this caretaking means tending to the home, looking after children, assisting aging family members, acquiring resources for the family, and providing emotional support.

Similarly, many social, economic, and cultural inequities make women more likely to absorb the very real impacts of climate change. For example, women are more likely than men to face economic insecurity, and people living in poverty are exposed to climate disasters at a greater rate. Women have less access to civic rights and land acquisition opportunities, are less often in decision-making positions, and face systematic violence in every institution. And, the ever-worsening effects of climate change — drought, fires, natural disasters, food shortages — make women’s role as caretakers increasingly more difficult

This is why solutions to both the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic need to not only center and uplift women, but must be made with them! Existing policy and infrastructure must shift to support and elevate women and mothers, and change the culture of caretaking in our country. Creating a world that works for women is imperative to an equitable, sustainable future.

Women are resilient changemakers who shape the face of policy and progress across the globe. Even during a global pandemic, 2020 became a record year of firsts for the United States, with Kamala Harris becoming the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected as vice president, Deb Haaland becoming the first Indigenous cabinet secretary, Katherine Tai becoming the first woman of color and first Asian American serving as US trade representative, Dr. Rachel Levine becoming the first openly transgender person confirmed in a federal post, and many more amazing women taking their place in our government — including, of course, the women legislators of Maryland

The current Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, Delegate Adrienne Jones, is the first woman and the first person of color to hold that spot, and she is supported by Speaker Pro-Tem, Sheree Sample-Hughes. President Pro-Tem, Melony Griffith, in the Senate is also a woman of color. Women lead half of the House of Delegates Committees and one quarter of the Senate Committees. In fact, the current Maryland Women’s Legislative Caucus is the largest in our state’s history, representing 30% of the Senate and 43% of the House of Delegates. While this is not equal representation, it is substantial progress from the government our mothers and grandmothers would recognize.

It’s on all of us to build a more equitable and safer planet — and that means centering women, especially women of color. We must also choose to confront sexism, dismantle the patriarchy, and challenge white supremacy, every day.

Here’s to the progress that we’ve made and to the fight ahead!

In Solidarity,

The Women of Maryland LCV

By |2021-03-29T10:59:10-04:00March 29th, 2021|Categories: Blog, DEIJ|Tags: , |0 Comments

Montgomery County Public Schools to Transition Their Diesel School Bus Fleet to Zero-Emission Clean School Buses for Healthy Kids

 Maryland League of Conservation Voters Applauds the Decision of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Applauds the Decision of Montgomery County Public Schools to Transition Their Diesel School Bus Fleet to Zero-Emission Clean School Buses for Healthy Kids

February 25, 2021

ANNAPOLIS, MD. – This week, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) approved a contract to lease 326 electric school buses as part of a pan to electrify its entire school bus fleet. 

“Chispa Maryland applauds MCPS for taking this unprecedented step in protecting the health of children and beginning this transition to a clean ride for kids,” said Ramón Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Director of Chispa Maryland, a community organizing program of Maryland LCV.  “This contract demonstrates that school systems can transition their diesel bus fleets to zero-emission clean electric buses while keeping their transportation budgets neutral. We hope other school systems in Maryland can adopt one of the several financial solutions available to bypass the initial costs to transition their diesel fleets to zero-emission school buses.”

Diesel emissions are the most harmful type of transportation emissions. Diesel school buses not only pollute our air and harm our children’s lungs and developing organs, but they also contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions worsening the effects of climate change. Initial costs of electric school buses is still a barrier for school systems to transition their diesel fleets to zero-emission electric school fleets. There are several strategies that school systems and other stakeholders can employ to offset the upfront cost.

In this legislative session, Chispa Maryland and Maryland LCV are supporting House Bill 832, Public Utilities-Electric School Bus Pilot Program, which would deploy electric school buses with vehicle-to-grid-technology, and the Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act of 2021 (HB0334/SB0137), which would mandate beginning in 2023 all contracts for state-purchased buses need to be for zero-emission vehicles, leading to a complete transition of the fleet. 

Chispa, an organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters, launched its Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign in 2015 to push state governments to use Volkswagen settlement funds to purchase zero-emission electric school buses. In 2017 Chispa Maryland, a program of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, launched the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign in Maryland. 

 

By |2021-03-24T13:46:56-04:00February 25th, 2021|Categories: Blog, DEIJ, Partner, Policy, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Why Now Climate Campaign

We can’t afford to wait any longer for climate action

Everyone has the right to breathable air, clean water, and healthy communities. And all of these are linked to the climate crisis here in Maryland.

Every year that we wait to take action against climate change, is less time we have to reverse its terrible effects.  We are experiencing a climate crisis — and greenhouse gas emissions are causing this crisis. Maryland is especially vulnerable to climate change. Floods and extreme weather events, such as heat waves and heavy storms are happening at an ever-increasing pace. We need to take action NOW!

That’s why we’ve launched the #WhyNow campaign. 

Why Now- Share your story on why we need climate action now

Why Now- Share your story on why we need climate action now

Share with us your #WhyNow story and tell your story about why we need climate action NOW.

  • Write a short paragraph about why you believe the state needs to take strong actions to fight climate change NOW 
  • Send us a picture or video (no longer than 300 seconds) of your inspiration and/ story here. 

Think about the following questions as you write your story:

  • Why is taking action to combat the climate crisis important to you, your family, and your community?
  • How would you like your elected officials to lead the way in combating this crisis? What challenges do you think are in the way of solving it?
  • Your audience is our elected officials and your community. Tell your story so that it speaks to them. 
  • What visuals help describe your story?
  • Whatever your message is, clarity and specificity will help you in telling your story.

And when you are done, please share with us your social media handles and we will tag you if we use your story in our campaign. #WhyNow #ClimateSolutionsNow

Collect video testimonials with Boast

Thank you for participating, we look forward to hearing your story!

By |2021-02-15T09:03:58-05:00February 3rd, 2021|Categories: Blog, Climate Change, DEIJ|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The Brave New Virtual World of the 2021 Legislative Session

The Brave New Virtual World of the 2021 Legislative Session

There is an old saw around Annapolis that “every session is a special session.”  Every session is unique in its own special way.  Some sessions, however, are more unique than others, and this one certainly takes the cake.  Even veterans around the State Circle – legislative and lobbyist alike – are stumbling around like novices as we learn our way through the brave new world of Virtual Session.

To start with, most of us – including your Maryland LCV staff – are working our bills from the comfort (?) of our home offices, negotiating around spouses, children, and pets.  Gone, for the moment, are the hallway meetings, and the tips and (often critical) gossip gleaned from casual conversations around the charging stations and coffee shops.  

On the other hand: gone, too are the opportunities that give high-dollar lobbyists advantages over the non-profit lobby corps and grassroots advocates. Without the Committee Dinners and other opportunities that deep pocket expense accounts allow, we’re all on more even footing. With committee hearings taking place over Zoom, any individual with a computer and an internet connection has exactly the same ability to testify without needing to drive to Annapolis or spend hours on inefficient, unreliable public transit.

This last point is especially salient for this legislative session as we continue the fight to secure adequate funding for the Maryland Transit Administration’s public transit infrastructure, which is the first bill that your Maryland LCV staff will be testifying on this year. Watch out for the recording of the virtual rally that happened on January 19th, and for the play-by-play live-tweeting of the hearing of Senate Bill 199, the Transit Safety and Investment Act on January 28th.

Public transit systems all over the country have seen a dramatic decline in ridership, but this is much less true in Maryland than it is anywhere else.  A large percentage of our essential workers, especially those in health care, have continued to count on our buses, subways, light rail, and trains to get to work. Unfortunately, Maryland’s buses, subways, light rail, and trains break down significantly more often than those in comparable systems around the country. 

We are relying on essential workers, who are relying on unreliable public transit.  We all need and deserve safe and reliable transit.  Maryland LCV is leading the charge, with our partners, to improve our public transportation system for the sake of our environment, our health, and our economy. (Did you know that dollars spent on public transit yield roughly twice the jobs of the same amount spent on roads?)

We hope you’ll join us to bring this bill over the finish line by contacting your Delegates and Senators and ask them to pass the Transit Safety and Investment Act (HB 114/SB 199).  While the bill provides much needed funds to improve the transit system, these funds come from a reallocation of existing transportation funds. And stay tuned for next week when we report back on what happened in the hearing.

By |2021-02-02T08:29:31-05:00February 2nd, 2021|Categories: Blog, Climate Change, DEIJ|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Statement from Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble on the announcement of a Maryland Racial Impact Statement Pilot Project

Statement from Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble on the announcement of a Maryland Racial Impact Statement Pilot Project

“We applaud President Ferguson and Speaker Jones’s efforts to recognize and minimize the impact of systemic racism on criminal justice issues. Racial inequities affect so many elements of everyday life for Marylanders, including the disproportionate burden of pollution on communities of color. President Ferguson and Speaker Jones have taken an important step toward fairer decision-making and policies.” 

By |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00February 2nd, 2021|Categories: DEIJ, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Statement by Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble on the US Capitol Siege and other Election-related Threats

Statement by Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble on the US Capitol Siege and other Election-related Threats

As we embark on a new legislative session and opportunity for Marylanders to promote and pass equitable laws and policies for clean water, healthy air, and a resilient climate, Maryland LCV remains committed to building long-term, nonpartisan, mutually beneficial relationships that are based on respect and trust. 

Fair, free, and equitable elections are integral to our work and are the bedrock of our democracy. Respecting the will of the majority, reflected in the outcome of the popular and electoral college votes, and ensuring a smooth transition from one administration to the next, is the responsibility of all Americans. 

We condemn the violent January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and any attempts to suppress democracy, steal elections, subvert the will of the majority, or interfere with  the voting rights of Black and Brown communities.

We ask our fellow Marylanders to uplift the voices of our communities on issues that are important to them. And we call on all Maryland elected officials to denounce attacks on American democracy and to join us in our commitment to strengthening voting rights, access, and protection for all.

By |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00January 14th, 2021|Categories: Blog, DEIJ, Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

NAACP Prince George’s County Branch and Black Girls Vote Receive $10,000 Grants for Equity and Racial Justice Work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  December 22, 2020
Contact: Ramón Palencia-Calvo, (202) 531-5091, rpcalvo@mdlcv.org

NAACP Prince George’s County Branch and Black Girls Vote Receive $10,000 Grants for Equity and Racial Justice Work

Grants will support COVID-19 relief and Black Lives Matter efforts

Annapolis, MD – Chispa Maryland, a program of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV), in partnership with their Chispa National LCV counterparts, have awarded two $10,000 grants to Maryland nonprofit groups to support their COVID-19 relief and Black Lives Matter movement work. The groups, Baltimore-based Black Girls Vote and NAACP Prince George’s County Branch, share Chispa Maryland’s goal of elevating environmental justice issues in the Maryland General Assembly.
“Maryland’s low-income communities and communities of color have for too long suffered from poor environmental conditions, resulting in children with higher asthma and lead poisoning rates and other issues associated with contaminants in their land, air and water,” said Ramón Palencia-Calvo, Chispa Maryland director. “Groups like Prince George’s County NAACP and Black Girls Vote are doing important work to bring attention to, and improve, the issues that impact their community members.”

“We have so many black girls who are passionate about the environment,” said Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson, founder of Black Girls Vote, a nonpartisan organization designed to represent the concerns and interests of Black women. “We are committed to using these funds to make sure they have access to short- and long-term mentorship and fellowship opportunities that give them a place to let their voice and passion be heard.”

NAACP Prince George’s County Branch works to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. The organization will use the funds in part to advance the Maryland Solar Equity Initiative 2020, which it initiated in 2020 with Bowie State University, Maryland’s oldest historically Black college. The funds will also help NAACP Prince George’s County in its outreach to the communities of Brandywine and Langley Park on issues ranging from community environmental hazards to improving transit equity and Coronavirus equity practices.

“The grant will go a long way in supporting our efforts to combat environmental injustice in our community,” said NAACP Prince George’s County Branch Treasurer John E. Simms, Jr.

Chispa Maryland’s mission is to ensure communities have a stronger political voice to influence policy makers and fight polluters. The group provides training, information, and opportunities for Latino individuals and groups to play an active role in protecting their rights to clean air and water, healthy neighborhoods, and a safe climate for generations to come.

The recent grants are not the only financial support Chispa has provided during the COVID crisis. In May 2020, Chispa Maryland and the national League of Conservation Voters raised more than $30,000 for the Langley Park Civic Association to aid COVID-relief efforts in the Prince George’s County community.

“Communities of color are important partners in our work to advance environmental legislation and policies that incorporate environmental justice in Maryland,” said Palencia-Calvo. “With so many of them experiencing hardship because of the pandemic, generating support for our community partners will continue to be a priority for us.”

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The Maryland LCV Education Fund, a non-profit, non partisan organization, works to strengthen the Maryland environmental community by growing a base of conservation-minded voters across the state. A leading environmental organization in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV Ed Fund protects public health by fighting for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and local waters, preserving green spaces, promoting smarter growth and increasing Maryland’s investment in clean energy.
 
Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Ed Fund launched in 2014. Chispa Maryland has been working to ensure that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting the environment, our health, and our future. Chispa works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and legislators to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland.
By |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00December 22nd, 2020|Categories: DEIJ, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Statement from Kim Coble, executive director of Maryland LCV on Maryland not participating in the first round of states for the Transportation and Climate Initiative program

Statement from Kim Coble, executive director of Maryland LCV on Maryland not participating in the first round of states for the Transportation and Climate Initiative program

“With the climate crisis accelerating, fueled by emissions from transportation, we are disappointed that Governor Hogan has not served as a leader on regional efforts to reduce emissions and formally committed to the Transportation & Climate Initiative.

We will continue working with the Hogan administration to ensure Maryland fully commits to this important program as soon as possible. The state needs to get on board quickly, because all Marylanders, and especially our communities of color, deserve clean air and an equitable and clean transportation sector that increases access to social and economic opportunities and reduces the negative health effects caused by air pollution.”

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Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.

By |2020-12-21T12:31:21-05:00December 21st, 2020|Categories: Climate Change, DEIJ, Press|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Statewide Voting Rights Coalition Urges Patience as Ballots are Counted

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 4, 2020

Contact: Meredith Curtis Goode, ACLU-MD, media@aclu-md.org
Dannielle Lipinski, Maryland LCV Ed Fund, dlipinski@mdlcv.org
Liz Iacobucci, Common Cause, liacobucci@commoncause.org 

Statewide Voting Rights Coalition Urges Patience as Ballots are Counted

Maryland — The state-wide coalition Everyone Votes Maryland has been working tirelessly throughout the 2020 congressional 7th District Special Election, Primary, and now General Election to ensure that every Marylander knows their rights when it comes to voting and ensuring a fair and safe election process.

“We have already seen impressive turnout in Maryland, and voters young and old have demonstrated great resiliency in their ability to navigate new voting processes amidst the pandemic,” said Maryland PIRG Foundation director Emily Scarr. “As we wait for results we should rest assured that our elections staff in Maryland and nationwide are doing the painstaking work of ensuring every vote is counted in a secure manner. This is democracy at work.”

“This election season, Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund deployed a comprehensive civic engagement campaign aimed at ensuring Maryland voters – and particularly those from underrepresented communities — knew how to use their vote to advocate for smart and equitable environmental policies,” said Kim Coble, Executive Director of Maryland LCV Education Fund. 

“We need to be patient and let election officials count all the votes. Maryland’s primary in June was conducted mostly by mail. It took several days after primary day to count all the votes that had been mailed on time for Mayor of Baltimore,” said Maryland Sierra Club political chair Rich Norling. “Some other states have laws that don’t allow them to start processing and counting their thousands of mailed ballots until election day itself. So be prepared for patience as election officials get an accurate count of all the mailed-in ballots.”

“Thanks are owed to the many Maryland volunteers, poll workers, and public election officials for ensuring fair and safe elections during this pandemic,” said Larry Ottinger, Board Chair of Our Maryland Education Fund.  “And to the record number of Marylanders who have voted during this pandemic – whether by mail or in person – to make their voices heard in our democracy.”

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) strongly supports every effort to make sure that all the ballots cast in this election are counted. We’d like to thank everyone who worked tirelessly to protect our democracy by ensuring a fair and transparent process that enables every eligible voter’s voice to be heard,” said Zainab Chaudry, Director, CAIR Office in Maryland.

“While COVID-19 has made voting unsafe for many voters with disabilities, mail-in ballots and remote accessible ballots have allowed many voters to cast their ballot safely and independently. But it may take longer for this year for your vote to be officially counted,” said Ben Jackson, Staff Attorney of Disability Rights Maryland.

“We are glad to see our Maryland leaders: Governor Larry Hogan, Senate President Bill Ferguson, and Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne Jones have committed to counting every last ballot before declaring winners of the 2020 General Election and hope other states will follow their good, democratic example,” said Cristi Demnowicz, chair of Represent Maryland.

“Baltimore Women United is proud of the efforts of Baltimoreans and Marylanders to turn out the vote this election season, to protect our elections and ensure they are safe and fair, and to make our voices heard as voters. We expect that every vote will be counted – this is our right and our demand. Voting is how the people speak; the time and effort to count all votes is how we are heard. The women of Baltimore will be heard,” said Jessica Klaitman, Baltimore Women United Steering Committee.

Every ballot must be counted. We are proud of the enthusiasm and determination of Marylanders to vote and the massive effort by our coalition partners to ensure robust access to the ballot for all voters. No matter what the outcome of this election, we will continue to expand and protect democracy. Together, we must realize race equity, reimagine policing, end mass incarceration, protect immigrants’ rights, safeguard privacy, advance LGBTQ+ rights, and stop any rollback of our hard won civil rights and civil liberties,” said Dana Vickers Shelley, Executive Director, ACLU of Maryland. 

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Everyone Votes Maryland is a nonpartisan coalition of national, state, and grassroots organizations dedicated to ensuring that all eligible Marylanders can have their voices heard on Election Day. 

https://everyonevotesmaryland.org/

By |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00November 4th, 2020|Categories: Blog, DEIJ, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

An Insider’s View on the Elections

An Insider’s View on the Elections

On October 6th, our Executive Director, Kim Coble was joined by the national League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski for a behind-the-scenes look at the general election and what it could mean for our environment.

Candace Dodson-Reed is our VIP moderator. Candace is the host of the popular Elevate Maryland podcast. She’s also the chief of staff and executive director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion at UMBC and on the board of Maryland LCV.

Check out the recording below

 

By |2021-03-24T13:48:03-04:00October 6th, 2020|Categories: Blog, DEIJ, Donor, Electoral, Partner, Policy, Successes|Tags: , , , |0 Comments