Over 200,000 people gathered in Washington, DC on April 29, 2017 to send a message to President Trump that we will resist attacks on our people, our communities and our planet. The HBCU Climate Change Consortium organized over 200 faculty mentors and students representing 15 HBCUs participating in the People’s Climate March (PCM). Dr. Beverly Wright, Director of the Dillard University Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and Dr. Robert Bullard, Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University are founders of the Consortium. HBCUs represented were Alabama State University, Alcorn State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Claflin University, Clark-Atlanta University, Dillard University, Florida A & M University, Grambling State University, Howard University, Morehouse College, South Carolina State University, Southern University A & M, Baton Rouge, Spelman College, Texas Southern University, and Virginia State University. On Friday, April 28th at Howard University, students, faculty and community leaders participated in Environmental Justice for All, HBCUs Leading the Climate Fight Youth Convergence organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the HBCU Climate Change Consortium, the Hip Hop Caucus, and the People’s Climate Movement. Featured guest panelists were Congressman Donald McEachin, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus, Naomi Klien, author of The Shock Doctor, Tina Johnson, USCAN, Mustafa Ali, Hip Hop Caucus, Dr. Beverly Wright, Dillard University, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, and Dr. Robert Bullard, Texas Southern University. Student panelists included Payton Wilkins, Dillard University Alum, Leah Clarke, Clark-Atlanta University, Savannah Thomas, Howard University, Rashad Grimes, Alabama State University, Lauren Wiggins, Tennessee State University Alum, and Martaze Gaines, Morehouse College. The panelists addressed the topic, This is our Issue… panelists said our children are lead poisoned, our communities have elevated asthma rates, poor air quality, no access to grocery stores, no access to transportation, no health care, and our people are dying. Due to sea-level rise, it is predicted that in the next fifty (50) years, lower line communities in Louisiana will no longer exist. We are fighting for our very existence.
On Saturday, April 29th HBCU students and faculty represented Environmental Justice Frontline Communities at the front of the PCM marching down Pennsylvania Avenue from Capitol Hill to the Washington Monument. The students brought energy and passion to the March as they chanted “HBCU, CLIMATE CHANGE IS TRUE.” Chrissy Wiggs, a Dillard University Psychology, Junior said, “Being a part of the March for Climate Change empowered me to share the critical issues with members in my community and to let them know Climate Change is real and it is happening.” Dr. Robert Bullard encouraged the students to stand in unity, “We are in this together, middle income, little income, no income. We must use our research, science and education for liberation”!!!