NAACP Stresses Need for People of Color to Get a Seat at the Table of an Emerging Green Economy

With climate change emerging as one of the defining issues of our time, NAACP Climate Justice Initiative Director Jacqui Patterson moderated an insightful panel discussion about the need for people of color to gain access to jobs in the emerging green economy.

Former Mayor of Kansas City Congressman Emanuel Cleaver described how few African Americans are presently involved with the issues of energy and sustainability, even though minorities are put at tremendous risk from pollution. He explained that African Americans and Latinos together lead the country in asthma-related deaths, yet skepticism remains about increasing their involvement in the issue.

“People of color have not come to the table yet, but we need to become the leaders of climate change and sustainability. We’ve got a problem [in climate change], so let’s exploit it and let’s fix it.”

Representative Cleaver was joined by Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green for ALL, and Rinku Sen, Executive Director of Applied Research Center.