860 miles. That’s the distance that marchers with America’s Journey for Justice are traveling this summer—and there’s a major movement traveling alongside them.
Our allies at the NAACP—along with the Democracy Initiative, the Sierra Club and many others—are marching from Selma, Alabama to Washington, DC as part of the Journey for Justice. This week, the march comes to North Carolina, where residents have been fighting hard for voting rights to fulfill our country’s promise of democracy.
When Greenpeace started the Democracy Initiative three years ago alongside the Sierra Club, NAACP and Communications Workers of America, we had a clear purpose. We knew that our ability to make any progress on protecting the environment—or social justice, voting rights and other critical issues—is in serious jeopardy with corporate influence in our democracy at an all-time high.
The Journey for Justice is much more than a march, it’s a movement to restore our democracy. Along the way, there are rallies and teach-ins, engaging communities on voting rights, economic inequality, the environment and more. This week, the march moves through North Carolina, where we’ll be shining a spotlight on the connections between a healthy democracy and a healthy environment.
On the Frontlines of the Fight for Environmental Democracy in North Carolina
In a clear example of the connections between money in politics and negative outcomes for people and the environment, Duke Energy has lobbied hard against comprehensive coal ash clean up in the wake of its 2014 Dan River coal ash spill, which resulted in the passage of lax legislation that virtually absolved the company of all financial responsibility for the clean up and instead pushed the cost on North Carolinians. Meanwhile, communities are still reeling from the disaster.
Duke has also been blocking all attempts to increase access to solar energy to North Carolina. Duke claims it’s committed to clean energy, yet it’s been quietly attempting to kill any solar energy efforts. Its dirty energy has been backed by the Koch brothers and ALEC, who combined have been behind schemes to roll back Medicaid expansion, voting rights, funding for women’s health care and attempts to expand renewable energy.
Our campaigns have brought attention to these issues and engaged communities in a way that we haven’t been able to before—clean energy and healthy communities go hand in hand.
Our work in North Carolina has begun to make the connections between the environment and the larger civil rights movement. We’ve also been active in Moral Monday protests, which began after several regressive actions by the government of North Carolina in 2013, including one of the most restrictive voter suppression bills in the country. Climate and energy campaigner Monica Embrey knew that it was important for the environmental movement to have a voice in Moral Mondays, as the right to vote is critical not only to the environment but to our basic civil rights
The same corporate interests that are dumping toxic coal ash in drinking water and polluting the air are also denying health care access, education and voting rights to citizens across the country.
This is why we march.
Together, America’s Journey for Justice is rallying in front of the North Carolina state house in Raleigh on September 3. If you’re in North Carolina, we hope you can join our allies at the NAACP and other coalition groups at the rally—and if not, sign the petition to restore voting rights for all Americans.