Nation’s Largest Environmental Organization Urges Support from Other Major American Institutions
Washington, DC — Today, the Sierra Club, announced its full support for reparations for Black people, affirming that it is impossible to create a healthy, safe, and sustainable planet without acknowledging and materially addressing the past and present economic, cultural, psychological and spiritual impacts of racism.
This Sunday marks the 156th Anniversary of Juneteenth, a celebration of Black resilience and Black liberation that centers Black people’s unique contribution to the struggle for justice and equity in the United States—a struggle that still persists today. In June of 2020, following the 2020 uprisings, the Sierra Club both formally endorsed H.R. 40, The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, and recognized Juneteenth, the ending of slavery in the US, as a Sierra Club holiday. Today’s announcement reasserts the need for a committee to study reparations while declaring reparations as a critical aspect of justice for Black people.
To commemorate this day, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
“As the climate crisis continues to disproportionately harm Black communities, it is up to us to build an intersectional climate justice movement that ensures a habitable planet for all people. And we cannot create that movement without demanding reparations for Black people — a community that is burdened with deep trauma stemming from a legacy of colonialism, genocide, land theft, enslavement, racial terror, racial capitalism, structural discrimination, and exclusion.
“While Juneteenth is a day of celebration, it is also a reminder that we must confront systemic racism directly, in all spaces and at all times, so that we can collectively restore the right of all people to clean air, clean water, and a sustainable, healthy climate. Polluting and extractive industries are only able to exist because they perceive people of color as disposable, therefore, Black liberation is key to solving the global climate crisis. We are eternally grateful to our partners at the Movement for Black Lives for their leadership as a central force in amplifying the demand for reparations for Black Americans.
“Since last summer, the movement to end police brutality against Black Americans has grown in spaces that were not visible before, requiring many of us to answer calls for allyship. We hope this is the first of many calls for racial justice in the environmental movement, as our people, communities and planet can no longer tolerate idle silence.”