Grassroots Organizations Launch Statewide Climate and Jobs Coalition

BURLINGTON, VT – Frontline communities, labor groups, legislators, environmental advocates, social justice organizations, and others will come together this Wednesday, January 13, for the virtual launch of Vermont Renews, a statewide grassroots coalition created to address the the state’s interconnected crises of racial injustice, climate change, mass unemployment, and the coronavirus pandemic. The Vermont Renews campaign combines electoral work, coalition building, advocacy, and grassroots organizing to win bold policies for racial, economic and environmental justice. Guest speakers at Wednesday’s launch include Tara Raghuveer of People’s Action, Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, State Representatives Brian Cina and Sarah Copeland Hanzas, Commissioner for the Vermont Commission on Women Kiah Morris, as well as advocates, partners and community activists from across the state.

“Over the past four hundred years, our nation built an extractive economy on stolen land and with exploited labor,” says Rep. Cina. “In order to create a just transition to a regenerative economy, our solutions must center those who are most impacted and those who have been historically marginalized, especially our BIPOC communities.”

The initiative centers around a statewide jobs guarantee grounded in economic justice, racial justice and combating climate change at the scale we need for a livable future. The full list of priority bills for this year will be announced at the launch. Vermont Renews is part of the Renew New England Alliance, a growing coalition of nearly 150 organizations – including frontline communities, organized labor, Indigenous groups, environmental justice advocates, youth, and racial justice organizations. In June of last year., Renew New England. joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Rep. Ro Khanna launched its shared vision and policy platform for the region. This week, Vermont joins Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island in launching its statewide Renew coalition.

“Vermont legislators, and there are many in this fight with us, can introduce and pass Green New Deal legislation and highlight a fair and just industrial strategy for the future,” notes Danielle Bombardier, Secretary-Treasurer of the VT AFL-CIO. “The core of a Green New Deal framework is a jobs guarantee. In invoking the historic New Deal, we build a future where work is dignified and reparations are made to address systemic injustices.” 

Senate President Pro Tempore Becca, Balint adds, “To make meaningful progress on the crises we face, we must cross class lines, racial lines, and political lines – coming together around ideas that resonate with a broad swath of Vermonters. We are doing our work in a time of great distrust of those in power. As policy makers we must be able to address the needs of the poor and working classes while also addressing our climate crisis. Vermont Renews is committed to this kind of movement building in Vermont and beyond, and it is just what we need to face this moment.”

Vermont Renews is a broad coalition of many voices, the type of coalition required to win the bold policies the Green Mountain State needs.  Vermont Renews coalition members include Rights & Democracy, 350 Vermont, Champlain Valley DSA, Community Action Works, Justice For All, Migrant Justice, Northeast Organic Farmers Association – Vermont, Sunrise Vermont, and Vermont AFL-CIO.

For more about Vermont Renews, please visit: https://www.vtrenews.org/

 

MORE SUPPORT FOR VERMONT RENEWS

“The Global Warming Solutions Act put Vermont on a path to resuming our place as a “Green” state. While we see ourselves as a community who cherishes a healthy environment, in recent years we have fallen behind our neighboring states in terms of overall greenhouse gas emissions. As we work with the newly created Climate Council to develop a plan for Vermont’s climate economy, we will pay close attention to the work of the Just Transition Subcommittee. Their work should be centered on inclusion of all communities in developing our climate plan and in enhancing our resilience to the effects of climate change.”                                                                      – Sarah Copeland Hanzas, Vermont State Representative

 “We are struggling together. Our struggles connect. We came here seeking a better future now that big petrol companies like Pemex have taken over our lands and contaminated the environment. We have lost harvests that had been in our families for years.”                                                                                                -Nacho, Migrant Justice Coordinating Committee

“The struggle for a just and equitable future is a righteous one. As this coalition of grassroots leaders in Vermont commit their time and energy to this struggle, so many like them are making similar commitments across the country. It is this kind of groundswell we will need to avoid climate catastrophe, and to ensure equity along the way.”

 –Tara Raghuveer, Homes Guarantee Campaign Director, People’s Action