Racial Justice Response Statement

June 4, 2020

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Maryland LCV Education Fund share your outrage, grief, and pain over the killings of George Floyd and other members of the Black community. We steadfastly stand in solidarity with those calling for justice, accountability, and an end to the systemic racism and insidious cycle of violence that is inflicted upon the community. For too long, too many Black communities have been disenfranchised, marginalized, polluted, and prevented from voting, speaking up, or even living without fear of arrest, injury, or worse. Black people have a right to safety, to enjoy the outdoors, to live without being harmed by environmental pollutants, and to vote. And we all have the responsibility to fight for these rights.

Maryland LCV commits to holding ourselves accountable to ensure racial equity is embedded in our programs and operations. We also commit to redoubling our efforts to elect and hold accountable leaders who will ensure the security and rights of all people equally and to continue our work to guarantee that all Marylanders – especially our Black and Brown brothers and sisters  – have an effective political voice and access to clean air and water and safe and healthy communities. We commit to being an organization that works tirelessly on behalf of all Marylanders, but especially members of Maryland’s Black and Brown communities, to protect the right to vote, to protest, to breathe.

For all in the Conservation Voter Movement and beyond who want to act now to be part of the solution, we urge you to seek out organizations and individuals that have been working on the front lines of this essential work to protect protestors and our basic human rights and dignity during this time.  We also strongly urge you to be part of the solution this November by exercising your right to vote.

National LCV’s statement

Below are a few articles that we will be taking to heart:

By |2020-06-04T17:20:01-04:00June 4th, 2020|Categories: CHISPA, Education Fund|Tags: , |0 Comments

There’s an urgent need in our community — here’s how you can help

By Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Director and Chispa Maryland Director                                                                                        En español 

Together we give

Through our Chispa Maryland program, we have developed transformational relationships with a variety of environmental and community groups. The Prince George’s County community of Langley Park,where upwards of 80% of the residents are Latino, has become one of our most effective and valued partners. 

Our Chispa Maryland program and community leaders and residents of Langley Park have collaborated on environmental education workshops, advocacy opportunities, community clean ups, environmental forums, and air quality monitoring. I know I can always count on the Langley Park community to go the extra mile in support of the environmental issues that are so important to all of us.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is severely threatening the Langley Park community, one of the most affected areas in all of Maryland. Latino community members are experiencing income loss due to layoffs or significant reduction of work hours, and many have been unable to access federal assistance or other relief programs. 

Join our effort today to support our partners in need, our campaign ends on May 31st!  To donate, visit our Charity GoFundMe page by clicking here!

Over 30 Environmental Justice and Action Promotores from this community have graduated from our program. These Promotores and leaders have become the heart and soul of the Chispa Maryland program, and this community has helped us advance environmental legislation and policies, such as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign, and banning styrofoam in Prince George’s County. 

In response to the needs of our community allies, Chispa Maryland is partnering with the Langley Park Civic Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves individuals residing in Langley Park, to assist its immigrant community directly affected by COVID-19 and the broader pandemic.  This organization and the people they represent have been key partners in helping Chispa Maryland advocate for climate justice.

They have stood with us to advance our joint environmental priorities, and now they need us to stand with them. Join us today in support of the Langley Park community and our 10 day campaign to raise funds directly to those in need. Donate to our COVID-19 Crisis Fund! 

The Langley Park Civic Association will identify families that require critically urgent financial assistance for rent, food, medicine, or other essential items. The funds will be used to provide direct financial relief to those families who might have been rejected from other funding sources, have received only partial relief, or have emergency needs that are simply too urgent to undergo a complex administrative process. 

Check out our press release here.

Thank you and I hope you and your families are well in this time,

Headshot of Ramon Palencia-Calvo

Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Executive Director and Chispa Maryland Director
Maryland LCV Ed Fund and Chispa Maryland

By |2020-05-29T09:40:10-04:00May 20th, 2020|Categories: CHISPA, Education Fund|Tags: , |0 Comments

Chispa Maryland Welcomes the Announcement of Funding for Electric School Buses in Maryland

Contact: Ramón Palencia-Calvo rpcalvo@mdlcv.org Cell: (202) 531-5091

September 27, 2019

Chispa Maryland Welcomes the Announcement of Funding for
Electric School Buses in Maryland

Annapolis, MD- On September 27th, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) announced funding for electric school buses as part of pilot programs to improve air quality and provide immediate health benefits to children through reduced vehicle emissions for four school districts in Maryland.

“Chispa Maryland celebrates this critical milestone in cleaning up our school fleets. We will continue working with Governor Hogan, MDE, and local school districts to phase out dirty diesel school buses in Maryland to protect the health of children and advance our Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign,” said Ramón Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) and Director of Chispa Maryland, community organizing program of Maryland LCV.

Volkswagen cheated federal emissions tests and polluted the air with toxins that increase respiratory illnesses and further the effects of climate change. In 2017, Chispa Maryland launched the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign. The campaign, supported by thousands of parents, students, and advocates called for using the money that Maryland received from the Volkswagen Mitigation Fund to transition diesel public school buses to zero emissions electric school buses to protect the health of students and communities, especially these in communities most affected by poor air quality.

Palencia-Calvo added, “we congratulate all the youth and allies that are working tirelessly to accelerate this transition to clean electric buses and are encouraged to see the commitment of the Hogan Administration to zero emission vehicles by financing all the electric school bus projects submitted as part of this settlement. However, at a time when every dollar in Maryland’s education system is critical, we are perplexed by the fact that school districts left $2.1million unclaimed.”

After this first round of funding, about $2.1 million remains available for school bus projects. MDE intends to open this funding for new proposals in spring 2020. Chispa Maryland will continue advocating to use these funds for zero emissions school buses.

###

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters 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.

www.marylandconservation.org

By |2020-01-11T17:58:22-05:00September 27th, 2019|Categories: CHISPA|0 Comments

We're Looking for Fall Interns!

2019 Fall INTERNSHIPS

Maryland LCV and LCV Education Fund are Maryland’s leading statewide environmental advocacy organizations. We work in Annapolis to pass pro-conservation legislation and engage conservation minded voters on Election Day and beyond to hold elected officials accountable.
 
These unpaid internships start on a rolling basis and last at least 10 weeks. The internship can be 10-40 hours a week depending on the position and applicant availability. Occasional trips to Annapolis may be required. Interns must have reliable transportation and access to the internet and attend all three seminars.
 
Interns must also be comfortable talking on the phone. Some evening and weekend hours are required to attend/ staff events. Candidate must have strong writing skills and ability to work independently.
 
To apply, please send cover letter and resume to Ben Alexandro at info@mdlcv.org
 
Legislative- Annapolis – with remote work
– Reports to the Political Director
– Participate in legislative work
– Assist in coalition meetings, and events
– Research legislators, and environmental issues
 
Fundraising Research & Writing– Baltimore/ Annapolis
– Reports to the Development Director
– Research donors and foundations
– Helps develop written materials including grants
Skills required: detail oriented, experience with Microsoft Excel and Google Docs, strong writing skills, ability to work independently
Preferred (but not required) skills: Graphic design experience a plus
 
Event Planning – Baltimore/ Annapolis
– Reports the Development Director
– Phone calls for confirmation calls
– Assisting with assembling and mailing invites
– Graphic design experience a plus
– May work with board members
Skills required: comfortable interacting with vendors & extremely organized
 
Media Coverage and Communications- Annapolis
-Create content for social media and website
-Ability to learn CRM and social media platforms
-Monitor local news sources for Maryland LCV coverage
-Draft press releases, blog posts, emails, and other online and print content
-Graphic design ability
 
Water Multimedia Design and Communications- Annapolis/Statewide
– Reports to Water Policy Advocate
– Develop creative multimedia messages
– Help create or edit materials for publications
– Create graphics and factsheets from technical data
– Improve layout, designs, and messaging of water and diversity related campaigns.
– Artists and graphic designers encouraged to apply.
 
Chispa / Latinx Outreach- Baltimore/ Langley Park/ Annapolis
– Reports to Chispa Director
– Assist in development of messaging, communications, and campaign strategy
– Assist in community engagement efforts
– Attend local events and outreach opportunities
– Help coordinate and run volunteer activities
– Help design flyers and communications for events
– Spanish fluency preferred but not necessary
 
Clean Water Policy / Chesapeake Bay Advocacy- Annapolis/Statewide
– Reports to Water Policy Advocate
– Help coordinate campaign activities of environmental organizations
– Assist in development of messaging, communications, and campaign strategy
– Attend coalition and government meetings
– Environmental policy or communications background
Skills Required: Detail oriented, ability to juggle a variety of tasks at once, experience with Microsoft Office Suite and Google Docs. Ability to generate concise memorandums (memos), letters, and detailed reports.
Preferred (but not required) skills: Policy research and meeting facilitation experience. Watershed, conservation, and/or environmental science knowledge. Experience and/or familiarity with Maryland state political arena.
By |2019-12-19T04:11:07-05:00July 1st, 2019|Categories: CHISPA|0 Comments

An Interview with Ramón During Latino Conservation Week

Written by: Russell Corbin, Chispa Maryland Intern

This Latino Conservation Week (LCW) we sat down with our Chispa Maryland Director, Ramón Palencia-Calvo, to learn more about his passion for the great outdoors and our involvement with LCW this year.

Latino Conservation Week, which this year lasts from July 14th-22nd, is a national event organized by the Hispanic Access Foundation.

Question: When did you start developing your passion for the environment?

I had this love for nature instilled in me since I was young. I remember how I spent my summers at my grandparents’ house in the woods of Galicia, in Northwestern Spain, replanting native species of vegetation such as chestnut and oak trees. I was also fortunate to travel the world as a child with my family. By visiting a variety of environments and biomes, whether in Africa, Europe, or the U.S., I gained a greater

appreciation of the diversity and beauty of our planet, and felt a need to protect it.

Question: Why is environmental advocacy important to you?

I believe it is an ethical issue and a justice issue. My dedication to this work is a manifestation of the lessons I learned through my Catholic upbringing: respect for nature, respect for others, and respect for life. I also recognize how low-income communities and communities of color, with which Chispa Maryland works with most, are disproportionately affected by environmental pollution. By working with and for these communities and providing leadership opportunities, Chispa Maryland is able to empower some of the people most affected by climate injustices and provide some of the tools needed to make their communities healthier and more resilient and adaptive to climate change.

Question: What are the goals for LCW?

  1. Provide Latino families and youth with outdoor recreation opportunities near their homes.
  2. Demonstrate the Latino community’s commitment to conservation
  3. Partner with Hispanic community leaders and organizations to support local and national conservation issues.
  4. Inform policy makers, media and the public of the Latino community’s views on important local and national conservation issues.

I believe participating in outdoor activities makes people happier and healthier. Although Latino cultures are generally very well connected to Mother Earth, We often lack the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors past our local parks or urban rivers due to barriers such as lack of transportation or financial means. However, Latino Conservation Week is a time when Latinos have the opportunity to reclaim and spend time in the outdoors.

Question: What does Chispa Maryland do to celebrate LCW?

In previous years, Chispa Maryland has hosted canoe based clean-ups in Baltimore and garden planting events. But these events are only a few of the outdoor community events Chispa Maryland organizes. For us at Chispa Maryland, Latino Conservation Week happens every week of the year. This year, Chispa Maryland has partnered with the Anacostia Watershed Society to host two Anacostia River boat tours on July 14th and 21st. (To see details for the boat tours, go here).

From our involvement in Latino Conservation Week, we aim to join the national conversation on environmental issues and demonstrate the leadership and participation of local Latino communities in our state. By connecting different Latino groups and environmental organizations, we are able to establish meaningful relationships in order to continue the fight to protect and love our Mother Earth.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!  

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters 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 |2019-12-19T04:11:07-05:00July 19th, 2018|Categories: CHISPA|0 Comments

MEET OUR NEW INTERN RUSSELL!

Written by Russell Corbin

Hello!

My name is Russell and I am a seventeen-year-old rising senior in the International Baccalaureate magnet program at Richard Montgomery High School.

Since I was very young my parents have given me the opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors through activities like sailing, biking, backpacking, and kayaking. I have spent most of my summers learning about and enjoying the unique and beautiful ecology of the Chesapeake Bay and from these experiences I have developed my deep love for our natural environment and a commitment to protecting it.

Through past internships, I have focused on my love for nature and environmental protection. At ecoAmerica, I helped organize the National Latino Climate Leadership Forum and the American Climate Leadership Summit. During the 2016 elections, I interned for the pro-environment candidate Jamie Raskin and helped him to win his congressional race. Participating in a Spanish immersion program at school has also given me the fluency useful to build relationships with Spanish speakers in my community and globally. And now I am excited to be working for Maryland LCV’s Chispa where I will be able to work with Latino communities in Maryland on environmental issues.

The 2012 release of Tesla’s groundbreaking vehicle led to my immense passion for electric cars, an intersection of my passion for automobiles and the environment. In that same year, I successfully convinced my parents to become early adopters of electric vehicles. I’ve been lucky to be one of the first of my generation to learn to drive in an electric car and now I am a member of the Electric Vehicle Association of D.C.

In 2016, I began developing the Green Yellow Buses for Montgomery County Public Schools initiative, aimed at creating an electric school bus pilot program in the school system. I look forward to working on the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign as it complements my past and future efforts to make sure we have #CleanRide4Kids in Maryland.

I hope you enjoyed my brief life story, now let’s get to work building our sustainable future together in Maryland!

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!  

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters 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 |2019-12-19T04:11:08-05:00July 13th, 2018|Categories: CHISPA|0 Comments

Great news from Prince George's County Council

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chispa Maryland Applauds the Leadership of the Prince George’s County Council in Requesting Governor Hogan to Dedicate Funds for Electric Zero-Emissions School Buses

Upper Marlboro, MD – Yesterday afternoon the Prince George’s County Council approved a resolution to promote a healthier environment for its students and enable Prince George’s County School District to become a cleaner and healthier community. The Council is requesting Governor Larry Hogan dedicate funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund  for the purchase and investment in electric zero-emission school bus fleets.

Volkswagen cheated federal emissions tests and polluted the air we breathe by emitting pollutants that increase respiratory illnesses and further the effects of climate change. Chispa Maryland proposes that these dollars should be reinvested in local communities and school districts, especially those in low income and communities of color where students and families are most at risk of breathing dirty air and disproportionately suffer from pollution. 

Prince George’s County Councilmember Deni Taveras said, “The Clean-Buses resolution (CR-14-2018) sends an important message and starts the conversation in Prince George’s County about protecting community health with clean-energy investments. It is critical that the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funds be used to help those most vulnerable to the negative impacts of air pollution, our children. We hope the Governor will do the right thing and dedicate these funds for investment in electric zero-emission school bus fleets.” 

“Maryland communities, families and children have been under siege from VW’s toxic pollutants for almost 10 years —we’re ready to change that by making sure Governor Hogan knows our communities want clean energy school buses,” said Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Chispa Maryland Director. “This will change the lives of the more than 620,000 Maryland children who breathe dirty diesel air every day riding the bus to school. We need clean buses in the communities where our families live, work and play – it’s time for Maryland’s governor to act.”

Chispa Maryland launched the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign in April 2017, after identifying Volkswagen (VW) settlement dollars available for states’ use. Now it is organizing to build momentum to ensure communities – particularly communities of color – no longer suffer the negative health consequences of diesel school bus emissions.

###

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education 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 Maryland works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and legislators to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland.

By |2019-12-19T04:11:08-05:00March 28th, 2018|Categories: CHISPA|0 Comments

CHISPA MARYLAND DELIVERS OVER 6000 PETITIONS TO GOVERNOR HOGAN FOR #CLEANRIDE4KIDS

 

It has been a month since we stood together in Annapolis with concerned community members, leaders, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter, and League of Conservation Voters as we delivered over 6,000 petitions to Governor Hogan for the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign.

 

Volkswagen cheated federal emissions test, which polluted our air and now they are paying $4.7 billion and more than half of that money is going to the states. The campaign calls for the more than $75 million that Maryland will be receiving from the Volkswagen Mitigation Fund to be used to transition from diesel public school buses to zero emission electric school buses which will benefit the approximately 623,000 kids in Maryland who ride these school buses to and from school.

 

During the press conference, we had community leaders and organizational partners speak on the importance of using this money to invest in our communities, to invest in our children. “Children lungs are still developing, and diesel emissions are not what they should be exposed to” said our Chispa Maryland program director, Ramon Palencia-Calvo. Members of other organizations like David Smedick of Sierra Club, Maryland Chapter expressed the need to make sure the VW money is spent to benefit communities that are most affected by diesel pollution. Ernesto Vargas from the League of Conservation Voters echoed those same thoughts and spoke about the national call for electric school buses stating that “more than 120,000 petitions have been collected nationwide for the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign.”

 

Delegate Carlo Sanchez of District 47 in Prince George’s and a supporter of the campaign added, “I’m proud to stand here today with members of my community, of my district, who are here today to ask the governor, ask the secretary of the environment to invest in our communities.”  In addition, Lindsey Wright, from Councilmember Deni Taveras’ office was also present in support of the campaign.

Rosario, a mom from Gaithersburg Elementary School and an active leader in her community was also present at the press conference. She is one of the dozens of moms who support the campaign and has worked with Chispa Maryland to make sure the money from Volkswagen is invested the right way. Below is a snippet of what she shared [in Spanish]:

“I am here because I want to be listened that we want clean buses. Our kids in our communities in Langley Park and Montgomery [County] are suffering and dying from asthma, from contamination… I think it is time for our schools to mobilize to replace those old buses that run on diesel, to have electric school buses.”

It is time that we follow the leadership of moms like Rosario and invest in our kids. The Maryland administration has a unique opportunity to do the right thing and make sure that the money we are getting from Volkswagen is invested in those communities most affected by diesel pollution.

To take action and add your name alongside the thousands in support for a clean ride for Maryland’s kids, sign up here: https://p2a.co/CpWqtZn

 

 

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!  

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters 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 |2019-12-19T04:11:08-05:00March 9th, 2018|Categories: CHISPA|0 Comments

Class of 2016 Promotores receives the John V. Kabler Memorial Award

On November 15th at our annual Environmental Leadership Awards Dinner, the 2016 Class of Environmental Justice and Action Promotores was awarded with the 2017 John V. KablerMemorial Award.

Established in 2001, the John V. Kabler Memorial Award is presented annually to Maryland’s most outstanding environmental leaders and organizations. John V. Kabler was one of Maryland’s leading environmental activists, credited by friends and associates with helping to build the state’s loosely organized community of conservation groups into a powerful force.

The award was presented to our Promotores for the work organizing their community and creating leadership to fight to protect our mother earth. Our Promotores Edith Marquez and Candida Garcia received the award on behalf of the class and Candida addressed the crowd with a powerful speech. Below is just a snippet!

“If we show something with our work, it is that our communities care about the environment. Because it’s about our health. It’s about surviving and making sure we leave our childrenplanet where they can breathe clean air. We want to leave to the generations that come a planet healthy and free of pollution.We want to be part of the solutions and protect our mother earth”

To read the full address, click here

At Chispa Maryland, our Promotores are our voice. They are the people that work in the community and rally our base. They are our connectors to the community. Together we are changing the political power of Latinos and communities of color in Maryland to have a voice in the fight against climate change. As Promotores, they have helped Chispa Maryland to provide educational workshops in schools, community centers, and churches among others. Together, we also marched this past April at People’s Climate March leading the Creators of Sanctuary Contingent. In addition, our Promotores continue to be involved in our new campaign Clean Buses for Healthy Niños.

To find out more about the program, check out our new video!

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program launched by Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund in 2014. Chispa Maryland works to ensure that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting our air, land, water, public health, and future. Chispa Maryland works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and elected officials to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland.

By |2019-12-19T04:11:08-05:00December 22nd, 2017|Categories: CHISPA|0 Comments

Cándida’s Speech at ELA

On November 15th at our annual Environmental Leadership Awards Dinner, the 2016 Class of Environmental Justice and Action Promotores was awarded with the 2017 John V. Kabler Memorial Award. Cándida García, one of the Promotoras, addressed the crowd with the following speech:

*************

On behalf of Promotora’s first class, I want to thank the Maryland League of Conservation Voters for this special award.Before starting I would like the rest of the promoters who are present to stand up and give them a big round of applause.

My name is Candida Garcia. I am from Honduras and I have lived in this country for 12 years. I am accompanied by my friend Edith Morejón, who is originally from El Salvador. We are both Promotoras and we are parent leaders at the Rosa Parks School in Hyattsville.

I want to thank Chispa for this wonderful opportunity to be an environmental Promotora and for giving us the tools to fight for our communities.

Like many parents in my community, we feel the effects of climate change and pollution. Every day I talk to parents and we realize that many of the children have respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, among others. I even had an experience with my son with asthma. And this is why today I am in this fight.

As a Chispa Promotora we have had the opportunity to create educational workshops in our schools. To create opportunities for other parents to get involved in the environment. We have gone to knock on doors to talk about what we do in Chispa. We marched in April at the People’s Climate March and represented to the section of Creators of Sanctuary. Edith and I even worked with Chispa to graduate the second class of Promotoras this past summer.

If we show something with our work, it is that our communities care about the environment. Because it’s about our health. It’s about surviving and making sure we leave our children a planet where they can breathe clean air. We want to leave to the generations that come a planet healthy and free of pollution.

We want to be part of the solutions and protect our mother earth.

************

 

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program launched by Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund in 2014. Chispa Maryland works to ensure that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting our air, land, water, public health, and future. Chispa Maryland works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and elected officials to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland.

 

By |2019-12-19T04:11:09-05:00December 12th, 2017|Categories: CHISPA|0 Comments