Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program launched by Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund in 2014. Chispa Maryland ensures that Maryland Latinx families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting our air, land, water, public health, and future. Chispa Maryland works with Latinx families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and elected officials to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latinx communities in Maryland.
Chispa Maryland builds the capacity of Latinxs and their families to influence policy makers and pressure polluters to protect communities’ rights to clean air and water, healthy neighborhoods, and a safe climate for generations to come.
The cultural and political influence of the more than 53 million Latinxs living in our country continues to grow. Latinxs are a diverse and vibrant community who share a common interest in protecting our environment and our health. Polls show they strongly support policies to mitigate climate change and reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere, with nine out of ten Latinxs — regardless of political affiliation — supporting government initiatives to reduce adverse effects of climate change and environmental pollution. Latinxs are sending a strong message to our legislators: YES WE CARE!
However, despite their strong support for environmental protection, Latinxs remain underrepresented in the environmental movement and the health of their families continues to be disproportionately affected by poor environmental conditions. Latinx children are almost twice as likely to be hospitalized with asthma than white children. In addition, pregnant women and children suffer at higher rates from lead poisoning and other contaminants in the air and drinking water. In many communities, problems are compounded by the lack of environmental health education, civic engagement, and availability of language and culturally competent resources.
For more information on Chispa Maryland, please contact Ramon Palencia-Calvo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 531-5091.
Chispa Maryland works with community leaders and organizations to include voices of the Latinx community in the fight to protect the environment. Chispa Maryland advocates for environmental justice in low-income communities and communities of color, which are often the most affected by environmental issues.
Chispa Maryland plans educational activities, field trips, clean-ups, among other activities, to engage the Latinx community in issues that affect them locally, statewide, and nationally. We create family-centered events that give opportunities for Latinxs to discuss issues that affect their everyday lives. In addition, Chispa Maryland also participates in community events and festivals that celebrate Latinx heritage and community.
Some of our past events include:
- Educational fieldtrips to the Anacostia River
- Workshops at schools and community centers: through workshops, we have discussed the importance of protecting the environment while connecting this to health and social justice.
- Festival del Rio: In 2016, Chispa Maryland and other partnering organizations organized a festival for the Anacostia River which aimed to be an inclusive environment for the Latinx community in Maryland. This event featured Latinx traditional music, food and tables featuring environmental organizations.
- Community Clean-ups: Latinx communities have engaged in cleaning up their neighborhoods, parks, schools and local rivers and streams.