Latinx ‘promotores’ lead the way for environmental action

Reposted with permission from the Bay Journal

Latinx ‘promotores’ lead the way for environmental action

Program has trained more than 100 residents to become advocates for their communities

By Jeremy Cox : September 15, 2020

Candida Garcia had never been involved in environmental causes. But over the past four years, she has founded a community garden, grilled local officials about air quality, campaigned for statewide bans on plastic bags and straws and successfully lobbied her county to purchase electric school buses.

Candida Garcia and students from Rosa Parks Elementary School in Prince George’s County, MD, teamed up to create the school’s community garden.

Garcia chalks up her transformation to a leadership program tailored to a demographic that the White-dominated environmental movement has historically overlooked: the Latinx community.

Including Garcia’s inaugural class of 2016, Chispa Maryland has produced more than 100 graduates from its Promotores program. Over the course of six to eight weekly classes, they are given the basics of environmental justice, advocacy and community organizing — with the hope of creating a generation of grassroots “promoters.”

Garcia and her fellow promotores are finding that their work has never been more difficult or urgent. During one of the most imperative moments in its short history, the program may be the prototype that shows green groups in the Chesapeake Bay region and elsewhere how to diversify their membership, said Ramon Palencia-Calvo, director of Maryland’s Chispa.

“I think there’s an understanding among environmental groups that we need to expand our reach beyond the typical audience — the White middle-class person who has disposable time and income to volunteer for an environmental cause,” he said. “We want to create a movement that represents the entire population of Maryland.”

Nearly 90% of leadership positions in environmental groups nationwide were held by White people as of 2014, according to a widely cited study. Hispanics and Latinos occupied fewer than 3% of those positions.

Due to racist housing policies, their communities, though, tend to bear more environmental burdens, suffering from poorer air quality, greater impacts from climate change and more toxic contamination.

Candida Garcia works at the Rosa Parks Elementary School community garden, which science teachers have used as a living classroom.

“In order to make real change, we needed to build power in those communities that are overburdened by pollution and are underserved,” Palencia-Calvo said.

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, was created by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 2014. It was the fourth state-based LCV organization to have its own Latinx-geared program after New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. LCV affiliates in Connecticut and Nevada launched programs the following year, bringing the total to six nationwide.

Palencia-Calvo, a former fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, has been overseeing the Maryland program from its earliest days. He never worried about finding a receptive audience. Polls routinely show that Hispanics are concerned about global warming and are apt to believe it is caused by humans. They also show a strong commitment to a host of other environmental issues.

So, he and his team started knocking on doors, beginning in Langley Park in Prince George’s County. About three-quarters of the community’s nearly 20,000 residents are Hispanic. Their housing is often plagued by mold and lead-based paint. The outdoors offers little reprieve because the air is fouled by the area’s heavy traffic.

Four years later, about 30 of Chispa’s promotores reside in the densely populated nook just inside the northeastern corner of the District of Columbia’s Capital Beltway. Garcia was one of the first.

Speaking in Spanish with Palencia-Calvo acting as a translator, she said concerns about the health of her four children triggered her interest in the environment. Could one of her son’s severe asthma attacks be linked to bad air quality or her aging home? How could she find out if her drinking water was safe?

She and other Chispa participants gathered with their families in the evenings at the local community center. Childcare wasn’t a problem because Chispa had educational activities waiting for them. Everyone brought a dish to share.

Chispa staff conducted most of the training, but some sessions featured experts from other environmental groups. After 40 hours of training — the total has since been shortened to 24 hours — Garcia received her graduation certificate. She swelled with pride. “Muy feliz” (very happy) is how she describes the feeling today.

Then, Garcia got to work. With financial support from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, she organized a community garden at Rosa Parks Elementary in Hyattsville. It was designed as a “therapy space,” where families could enjoy a rare opportunity to be together, she said. They grew tomatoes, peppers and other staples, which were distributed among some of the school’s low-income families. For the science teachers, it became a living classroom.

Because of the pandemic, the garden was left fallow this year, but Garcia’s other efforts continue to bear fruit. In 2017, Chispa Maryland launched a “Clean Buses for Healthy Ninos” campaign, seeking to steer some of the state’s $75 million Volkswagen settlement money toward zero-emission, electric school buses. Garcia was on the campaign’s front lines, writing a blog post and talking to elected officials.

Last September, the Maryland Department of the Environment invested $2.5 million of that funding in an electric– and propane-bus pilot program in four counties, including Prince George’s.

The Promotores classes have been put on hold this year because of the pandemic, but Chispa leaders hope to restart the program once it’s safe for groups to gather again.

This year’s seemingly unending battle with COVID-19 has plunged Garcia and Palencia-Calvo into territory that would be unfamiliar for many green-focused groups. Garcia, a board member with the Langley Park Civic Association, partnered with Chispa to apply for a grant from LCV’s COVID-19 fund. The association was awarded $20,000, which will be disbursed to families who have suffered financially because of the pandemic. Chispa and the civic association collected an additional $15,000 through community fundraising efforts.

The community has given much to the green movement over the years. Now, it’s time to give back, Garcia said.

“Environmentalism is about the health of the families and the people that we love,” she said.

By |2020-09-23T09:58:31-04:00September 23rd, 2020|Categories: CHISPA, Media|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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

Update: Terrific News for Langley Park Latino Community

July 22,2020

Thank you again for your generosity in donating to our GoFundMe campaign during May 2020 for the “COVID-19 Crisis Fund” for the Latino community of Langley Park. I’m delighted to now report that another $20,000 has been awarded – in addition to the more than $10,000 that you helped raise – to directly assist this community!

I’m so proud of this effort fostered by our CHISPA Maryland program in partnership with the Langley Park Civic Association. “This grant from the League of Conservation Voters will provide a great relief to these families so that they are not left behind, and it will also help our community to move forward together,” said Cándida Garcia, a board member of the Langley Park Civic Association. “The Civic Association will use these funds to provide direct financial relief to immigrant families that are experiencing hardships related to COVID-19 and increase the capacity of the Langley Park Civic Association to better assist residents of this community during the pandemic and beyond.”

The Langley Park community is a longtime partner of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Through our Chispa Maryland program, and in partnership with community members, faith leaders, and the Langley park Civic Association — we have delivered environmental education workshops, advocacy opportunities, and leadership training that has produced over 30 Environmental Justice and Action “Promotores” (advocacy leaders) from this community over the past five years.

“These Promotores and leaders have become the heart and soul of the Chispa Maryland program, and this community has been a key ally in advancing environmental legislation and policies that incorporate environmental justice in Maryland,” said Chispa Maryland Program Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo. “With many community members experiencing income loss due to lay-offs or significant reduction of work hours, and many unable to access federal assistance programs, we consider continued support for the community to be an urgent priority.”

In May, Maryland LCV Education Fund and Chispa Maryland partnered with the Langley Park Civic Association to also assist its immigrant residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Jointly, the two raised over $10,000 through a 10-day GoFundMe campaign to help families with emergency assistance for rent, food, medicine, and other essential items.

“During that same May period, we applied for the $20,000 grant for the community from the national League of Conservation Voters’ COVID-19 Fund,” said Palencia-Calvo. “We are thrilled that the funds have now been awarded, because the community of Langley Park continues to experience hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Those who are interested in supporting Chispa’s COVID-19 community relief efforts should contact Maryland LCV Education Fund at rpcalvo@mdlcv.org

Kim Coble

Executive Director

May 20, 2020- Original Post

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 |2020-07-22T12:20:16-04:00May 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