I was raised in Santa Ana, California, the state with the worst air quality in the United States. Growing up, I suffered from asthma and my allergies acted up constantly due to the smog from pollution, this still affects me today everytime I visit my hometown. And when I was young, lead was discovered in my body because the water in our school was contaminated. The treatment lasted months and it was a bitter experience for my family.
My story is not unique. Millions of Latinos suffer similarly from the effects of pollution and climate change. In fact, the American Lung Association reported that communities of racial and ethnic minorities are three times as likely than non-hispanic whites to live in the most polluted areas in the country.
Our communities are on the front lines, whether it’s due to living in areas with unhealthy air, drinking contaminated water, or being displaced due to hurricanes or wildfires. This means that our health is being threatened not just by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the climate emergency.
That’s why this Earth Day we are making awareness of the importance of protecting our Earth, advocating for environmental justice, and making sure that the people in power are taking action so that the health of our families is no longer at risk.
The first Earth Day was celebrated over 50 years ago when 20 million people in the United States gathered in the streets to protest against environmental pollution, oil spills, and the pollution of rivers and oceans.
Today, the fight continues and it’s our turn to defend our communities.
At Poder Latinx, we believe that the health and safety of our families cannot be driven by corporate profit, and that we all have the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and have access to public lands.
We believe it’s necessary that our State and Federal legislators take action and work hand in hand with President Joe Biden to give attention to this crisis.
This is why we have launched the ECOPODER initiative with events around the country and conversations on social media to educate Latinx communities about how the climate crisis affects us and to unite us in the fight for climate action and search for solutions for this crisis.
Climate change is real. It’s not a story or an invention. It’s not a partisan issue. We need to take constant action to protect our people.
This story is part of an alliance between Univision and Poder Latinx.
Join our community of climate leaders. There is a lot of work to do and the time to act is now. Visit our website: https://poderlatinx.org/