For the June 15th, #CancelUtilityDebt Day of Action, Partnership For Southern Equity’s Keep that Same Energy Youth Ambassadors used the day of as their call to action for their final projects. These op-eds detail what energy burden means and why Black, Indigenous, and communities of color must be centered in this just transition. Read the op-eds below and the learn more about the incredible young leaders that wrote them!
CLIMATE CHANGE AS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE
By Kendal Arianna Motley
We are dying. The climate crisis has already caused an estimated 150,000 deaths annually. An environmental problem has become a human rights issue. For historically disadvantaged communities, the deterioration of the natural environment has caused a disproportionate effect. Why is climate change having a bigger impact on the lives of communities of color? Also, what can the youth do to improve the response to this global environmental crisis?
by Gabrielle Harris
Kendal Motley is a junior at Elite Scholars Academy in Jonesboro, GA. Fueled by an experience of racial prejudice during early childhood, Kendal began to understand that activism was needed in order to make a change. During her sophomore year, she became a Mentee at an organization named Usher’s New Look where she worked to develop her leadership skills in community engagement. During her time there, she moderated events, attended seminars, visited various
colleges, and learned about the importance of personal finance. In the summer following, she advocated for voting amongst teens in Georgia through a non-partisan organization named When We All Vote. Currently, Kendal is a Keep That Same Energy ambassador where she is learning the fundamentals of values based organizing and professional development. These collective
experiences have motivated her to begin organizing her own feminism club at school to highlight the importance of female unity on middle and high school campuses. Her career and scholarship agenda is to seek an advanced degree in School Psychology, so that she can work to improve the academic performance of children in predominantly minority counties.
My name is Gabrielle Harris and I am a junior at St. Pius X High School. I live in Southwest Atlanta as a community member of the Cascade neighborhood and have a passion for environmental justice. During my sophomore year, I attended the Diversity in Environmental Stewardship Workshop at Agnes Scott College where I learned about the role of diversity in environmental science. This opportunity sparked my interest in the environment. After this
experience I joined the Green Club at school, the club’s aim is to promote recycling and a sustainable lifestyle. With a desire to learn more, I started a volunteering position at Eco Action where I researched environmental justice movements in Georgia. I am currently working on a project at Perkerson Park where illegal dumping and continuous pollution have caused health issues for both the aquatic life and the surrounding community. Also, I currently serve as an
ambassador for the Keep That Same Energy program where I am given the opportunity to learn about my part in the environmental justice movement and how to assist my community in dealing with changes in the environment. My career and scholarship agenda is to assist local communities in becoming more environmentally conscious and equitable.