Elena Gaona

Chispa and LCV Celebrate the Establishment of the Blackwell School National Historic Site

For Immediate Release July 18, 2024 Contact: Jessie Cohen, jcohen@lcv.org Elena Gaona, egaona@lcv.org LCV Celebrates the Establishment of the Blackwell School National Historic Site Washington D.C.- In response to the Department of the Interior announcing the establishment of the Blackwell School National Historic Site in West Texas as the nation’s newest national park, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Chispa released the following statements: “LCV applauds President Biden and Secretary Haaland for establishing the Blackwell School Historic Site to honor the hardships that Latine students face, both historically and today, and highlight their resilience in the face of segregation and discrimination,” said LCV Conservation Program Director America Fitzpatrick. “This designation builds on the President’s already impressive and historic conservation and climate legacy, which includes the protection of more than 41 million acres of public lands since taking office. We urge the Biden-Harris administration to continue to champion the protection of our nation’s public lands and cultural sites, including by designating the proposed 1908 Springfield Race Riots site, Chuckwalla in the California desert, and many others worthy of permanent protection as national monuments.” *** “The newest national park designated at the Blackwell School National Historic Site represents our nation telling and preserving a little known part of Mexican-American history that is truly American history,” said Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González. “This historic three-room schoolhouse in West Texas is a reminder of the complex history of an education system in the Southwest that segregated Mexican-American students from their White peers from the late 1800s through the 1960s. Today Marfa is a popular place to visit, and visitors will be able to take in the landscape, and a piece of our history, preserved. We are heartened that our national park system is honoring the hardships Mexican-American  students overcame and highlights their resilience in the face of discrimination, providing an opportunity for the nation to learn from their stories.” ###

Chispa and LCV Celebrate the Establishment of the Blackwell School National Historic Site Read More »

LCV and Chispa Statements On Latest MAGA Attempts to Subvert Voting Rights

For Immediate Release July 10, 2024 Contact: Mika Hyer, mhyer@lcv.org, 940-783-2230 En Español: Elena Gaona, egaona@lcv.org, 202-907-9717 LCV and Chispa Statements On Latest MAGA Attempts to Subvert Voting Rights Washington, D.C.— In response to today’s House vote on the SAVE Act, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Chispa issued the following statements: “This anti-voter legislation would make the right to vote harder to exercise for millions of eligible voters while providing no additional security to our election systems,” said LCV Senior Director of Civic Engagement Hilda Nucete. “Every voter in every community, no matter their race, identity, ability, age, or zip code deserves to vote without intimidation or unnecessary  barriers. This bill creates yet another intimidating, confusing, and unnecessary hurdle for eligible voters to exercise their fundamental right. The Senate must reject this baseless, racially motivated, fear-mongering bill and pass crucial and proven voting rights legislation like the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, and statehood for the people of Washington, D.C. to protect voting rights instead of dismantling them.” *** “Our democracy works best when all citizens can participate. Instead, the SAVE Act scapegoats immigrant communities, including in large part Latine communities, and seeks to take away the power of eligible voters,” said Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González. “Requiring Americans to provide a certified birth certificate or a passport to register to vote places an unnecessary burden on eligible voters and disproportionately affects low-income citizens, women, the elderly, those with disabilities, and communities of color. Our elections are already secure and we will continue the work to protect all our rights for a healthy democracy, including our ability to have fair representation and to tackle the climate crisis that is affecting our communities directly.” ###

LCV and Chispa Statements On Latest MAGA Attempts to Subvert Voting Rights Read More »

LCV Statement on Western District Of Louisiana Ruling on LNG Pause

For Immediate Release July 2, 2024 Contact: Kelci Hobson, khobson@lcv.org Washington, D.C.: In response to the U.S. District Court for Louisiana issuing a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by 16 Republican Attorneys General challenging the Department of Energy’s pause on permits for new LNG export authorizations, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Chispa Texas released the following statement: “President Biden heeded the calls of young people and frontline communities in pausing the development of new liquefied methane gas export facilities. This historic step to take on the greedy Oil and Gas CEOs was the right thing to do for consumers, our communities, and our environment. Unfettered LNG exports raise energy bills, pump toxic pollution into the air that further threaten the health of communities neighboring these massive facilities, and fuel the climate crisis,” said Leah Donahey, Senior Federal Advocacy Campaigns Director at League of Conservation Voters. “Despite the ruling, the Department of Energy can and should continue its much-needed, common sense evaluation of whether or not these dangerous LNG exports are in the public interest. This lawsuit was filed by 16 Republican Attorneys General and is a blatant attempt to aid Big Oil and Gas CEOs who will stop at nothing to line their pockets while harming people, our pocketbooks, and the planet.” Previously, LCV launched a $2.5 million campaign in support of the Biden administration’s pause on permitting for LNG export facilities. This included a DC cable buy thanking President Biden for this latest decision in an unprecedented string of action to tackle the climate crisis and digital ads focused on the young people who have been pushing for this kind of bold action. For more information, see  LCV’s LNG fact sheet.  *** “Our communities along the Gulf Coast have suffered from toxic air pollution from fracked methane gas facilities in our backyards, endangering our health with illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, and cancer,” said Chispa Texas Program Director Elida Castillo. “The LNG pause is an opportunity for our Department of Energy to study these harmful effects and fulfill its public duty. But at every turn Big Polluters, and our state leaders who are supported by them, continue to seek irresponsible growth that prioritizes profits over the lives and livelihoods of people and the beautiful spaces we need and love. As our nation literally experiences record-breaking heat everywhere, it’s extremely disappointing that this much-needed action to combat the climate crisis and environmental injustice is facing these hurdles from those in the pockets of the oil and gas industry. Our communities most harmed by emissions of formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, and other toxins from these facilities should not continue to suffer, so fracked methane gas exporters can post record profits quarter after quarter. Our path forward to bring down energy costs for everyone and confront the global climate crisis begins with this pause and not the false narrative being sold to bring more destructive methane gas projects online.” ###

LCV Statement on Western District Of Louisiana Ruling on LNG Pause Read More »

LCV and Chispa Statements on Extreme Heat Protections for Workers and Communities

For immediate release July 2, 2024 Contact: Elena Gaona, egaona@lcv.org, 202-907-9717   Washington, D.C.: In response to President Biden’s announcement of extreme heat measures and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) announcement of the proposed heat rule, the League of Conservation Voters and Chispa released the following statements: “President Biden’s extreme heat measures announced today are a critical step to help workers and communities and are an essential part of responding to the threats posed by the climate crisis. Over the past month people across the country have been experiencing record high temperatures that are a detriment to the health and safety of our families and communities. Heat is the leading cause of death among weather-related events in the United States and we must take action as temperatures continue to surge,” said Sara Chieffo, Vice President of Government Affairs at League of Conservation Voters. “The current extreme heat waves are not natural– they are a result of Big Polluters’ blatant disregard for the very real impacts excessive carbon and toxic pollution has on our climate and health. MAGA Republicans have time and time again sided with Big Polluters and actively attempted to reverse the climate progress made by the Biden Administration, despite knowing the real threats excessive pollution has on our communities, families and climate. We applaud the Biden Administration and the Department of Labor for taking this crucial step forward in protecting the health of our communities by calling for protections for workers in both outdoor and indoor workplaces, requiring employers to create a heat injury and illness prevention plan and calling for employers to take additional safety measures when the heat index reaches a trigger point.” *** “Many of our Latine and communities of color across the nation are experiencing deadly heat waves that get worse and last longer every year, and lead to deaths. For example, our communities in Arizona are dealing with 120-degree heat, and in Nevada families are experiencing heat domes and lack of green space, plus unaffordable utility costs to be able to stay safe. None of this weather, or these conditions, are natural,” said Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González. “Today’s extreme heat protections are critical to life itself for all workers, including Latine workers who help build our nation yet are often exposed to extreme outdoor conditions with little protections. While we will continue to work toward immediate and long term relief from extreme heat for all communities in their homes and in their neighborhoods – such as transitioning to clean energy and greening our streets – our workplaces should also be safe and not expose anyone to death, and today moves us a step closer toward that goal.” ###

LCV and Chispa Statements on Extreme Heat Protections for Workers and Communities Read More »

LCV and Chispa Statements On Biden-Harris Action to Keep Families Together

For Immediate Release June 18, 2024 Contact: Mika Hyer, mhyer@lcv.org, 940-783-2230 En Español: Elena Gaona, egaona@lcv.org, 202-907-9717 Washington, D.C.— In response to today’s announcement from the Biden-Harris administration to help keep hundreds of thousands of families together, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Chispa issued the following statements: “We can’t have environmental justice without a healthy democracy and an immigration system that respects the dignity and humanity of the people and communities most impacted by the climate crisis in our country,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Community and Civic Engagement Sandra Pérez González. “The Biden-Harris administration is taking bold action to keep families together and ensure hundreds of thousands of children and spouses of citizens can access their legal pathway to residency. Communities across the country are seeing the severe impacts of the climate crisis and extreme weather firsthand, and as temperatures continue to rise, our immigrant communities are often on the front lines of environmental injustice, are excluded from opportunities like resiliency investments, and are denied security. This is a step towards realizing an immigration system that centers people and their lived experience, and LCV will continue to support more just and equitable immigration policy for future generations.” *** “Chispa welcomes today’s executive actions to keep families together,” said Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González. “Through my personal experience and our work on the ground in the communities affected most by environmental injustice, we know that families need stability just as much as they need clean air, clean water and a healthy environment. Immigrant families who pay taxes and contribute to their communities often bear the brunt of climate inequality, and children of color especially need all the strong family support that is possible to thrive. Expanding pathways for immigrants and keeping families together, including mixed-status families, will make our communities’ environmental and local work, and our nation, stronger.” ###

LCV and Chispa Statements On Biden-Harris Action to Keep Families Together Read More »

ICYMI: Chispa, Chispa AZ, Chispa NV, and Chispa TX meet with Members of Congress in D.C. to discuss Clean Energy Benefits under IRA and IIJA in Latine Communities Extreme Heat, Clean Air, Electric School Buses, LNG Pause also Discussed

For Immediate Release June 14, 2024 Contact: Elena Gaona, egaona@lcv.org, 202-907-9717 Washington D.C. – Members and community organizers with Chispa National, Chispa Arizona, Chispa Nevada, and Chispa Texas visited Washington, D.C. this week (June 11-14) to meet with their Members of Congress and key Biden-Harris Administration officials to discuss environmental concerns and clean energy investments in Latine communities across the nation. The discussions took place as a total of 80 advocates from 29 League of Conservation Voters state partners from around the country convened in D.C. for an advocacy week to highlight Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) investments transforming communities. Chispa members focused on continued investments and solutions for clean air, clean water, clean land, and extreme heat, such as electric school buses and a continued pause on new LNG facilities in places like the Texas Gulf Coast. They highlighted how investments from the Biden-Harris administration’s affordable clean energy plan are making clean energy and cleaner air a reality by helping fund home energy and vehicle upgrades, and creating good-paying clean energy jobs across the country. The clean energy plan is also saving consumers money as temperatures continue to rise, while combating the climate crisis and environmental injustice. “In my community it can reach 120 degrees. Having this funding and communicating about the opportunities is a matter of life and death,” said Vania Guevara, Advocacy and Political Director, Chispa Arizona, who participated in meetings and also attended a roundtable that included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Chair Debbie Stabenow. “No matter where you live, no matter how much money you make, everyone should have access to clean air, clean water, and public lands. We want a clean energy transition but that cannot come at the expense of our indigenous communities, our working class, or our environment.” WATCH: Roundtable on Inflation Reduction Act Benefits in Local Communities “Our Chispa Texas members had an important opportunity to speak directly to their Members of Congress and administration officials about the issues affecting their daily lives, like stopping out-of-control LNG and hydrogen facilities expansion in their backyards, and access to clean water and clean air,” said Chispa TX Director Elida Castillo. “We were glad to meet with the Department of Energy, EPA and Environmental Justice champions from Texas. Our elected officials got to hear directly from the people, and we hope to continue the conversations for more impactful change brought about by the people, that benefits all our communities immediately and into the future.” View Chispa TX Instagram post. “It was important for my whole family to travel to our nation’s capital because our communities are impacted by poor air quality and heat in Nevada, and we want to raise our voice on behalf of our neighbors and families,” said Guadalupe Lyn, a Chispa Nevada member who traveled to DC with her spouse Rojan Lyn, and teenage son, Nathaniel Lyn. “We met with our representatives and they listened. We discussed electric school buses, charging infrastructure, clean air, clean water, and climate investments that can lower our energy bills and bring good jobs to Nevada. We requested that our federal delegation create a big climate coalition, including Tribes, to learn more about survivorship under this extreme heat and climate change. And we also discussed justice for our community because we want to make sure all these programs are accessible to everyone.” View Chispa NV Instagram post. # # #

ICYMI: Chispa, Chispa AZ, Chispa NV, and Chispa TX meet with Members of Congress in D.C. to discuss Clean Energy Benefits under IRA and IIJA in Latine Communities Extreme Heat, Clean Air, Electric School Buses, LNG Pause also Discussed Read More »

Chispa and LCV Statement on Executive Order Limiting Asylum at the Border

For Immediate Release June 4, 2024 Contact: Elena Gaona, egaona@lcv.org, 202-907-9717 Washington, D.C.— In response to today’s executive order from President Biden on the border, Chispa and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released the following statement: “Chispa along with Chispa Arizona, Chispa Texas, Chispa Maryland, Chispa Nevada, Protégete Colorado, and the League of Conservation Voters work with communities impacted by climate change and environmental injustice, partnering with the power of the people on issues of clean water, clean air, clean lands and fair representation. Many of our Latine communities have a deep and direct connection to immigrant communities in the U.S., and many of the community members we work with have been driven to migrate by climate change,” said Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González. “Today’s executive action on the border does not live up to our American values of offering asylum to those fleeing persecution and violence, and hurts all of our communities. It cannot be the end or the fix to our immigration crisis, a layered and complicated issue that affects the most vulnerable around the world. We need thoughtful, humane and integrated approaches to immigration, just as we do with the climate crisis. We look forward to this administration and future administrations working with all of our communities to make this a reality.” ###

Chispa and LCV Statement on Executive Order Limiting Asylum at the Border Read More »

Declaraciones de LCV y Chispa sobre las nuevas inversiones del programa de autobuses escolares limpios de la EPA

Para publicación inmediata 29 de mayo del 2024 Contacto: Elena Gaona, egaona@lcv.org , 202-907-9717 Washington, D.C.— En respuesta al anuncio de hoy de la administración Biden-Harris de la inversión de casi $900 millones en distritos escolares, en forma de reembolsos del Programa de Autobuses Escolares Limpios de la EPA, Chispa y la Liga de Votantes por la Conservación (LCV)  emitieron las siguientes declaraciones: “El éxito y la demanda por más fondos para autobuses escolares eléctricos muestra que estas inversiones son un paso fundamental para que los niños en todo el país tengan acceso a viajes a la escuela más saludables y limpios, sin importar sus ingresos o su código postal”, dijo la directora senior de Chispa, Estefany Carrasco-González. “La contaminación tóxica de los tubos de escape de vehiculos daña a nuestros niños de color y a los niños de comunidades de bajos recursos, que ya son los más afectados por la crisis climática con tasas más altas de enfermedades respiratorias y otros problemas de salud. Chispa continuará organizándo para garantizar que todas las comunidades, especialmente las de color, vivan un futuro energético más saludable y limpio”. *** “Más del 60% de los fondos de estos premio ayudarán a garantizar que las comunidades tribales, rurales y de bajos ingresos (comunidades históricamente excluidas de inversiones y afectadas por la contaminación tóxica del aire) están en camino a un aire más limpio y más empleos de energía limpia y bien remunerados, al mismo tiempo que protegemos nuestro planeta para las generaciones futuras”, dijo la Asociada de Asuntos Gubernamentales de LCV sobre Cambio Climático y Energía Limpia, Darien Davis. “A medida que la demanda por autobuses de cero emisiones continúa aumentando, las inversiones más recientes de la administración Biden-Harris son casi el doble de la cantidad planificada y se unen a los premios anunciados por la EPA a principios de este año, para que más niños en todo el país tengan un viaje más limpio a la escuela. LCV aplaude a la administración Biden-Harris por continuar cumpliendo sus compromisos para abordar la crisis climática y garantizar que las comunidades con bajos ingresos tengan prioridad en estas inversiones críticas”. ### En inglés: https://chispalcv.org/lcv-and-chispa-statements-on-latest-epa-clean-school-bus-program-rebate-investments/

Declaraciones de LCV y Chispa sobre las nuevas inversiones del programa de autobuses escolares limpios de la EPA Read More »

LCV and Chispa Statements On Latest EPA Clean School Bus Program Rebate Investments

For Immediate Release May 29,  2024 Contact: Mika Hyer, mhyer@lcv.org, 940-783-2230 En Español: Elena Gaona, egaona@lcv.org, 202-907-9717 Washington, D.C.— In response to today’s announcement from the Biden-Harris administration to invest nearly $900 million in school districts from the EPA Clean School Bus Program rebates, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Chispa released the following statements: “More than 60% of this award funding will help ensure low income, rural, and Tribal communities — communities historically excluded from investments and impacted by toxic air pollution — are on track to cleaner air and more good paying, clean energy jobs while protecting our planet for future generations,” said LCV Government Affairs Advocate on Climate Change & Clean Energy Darien Davis. “As demand for zero-emissions buses continues to surge, the most recent investments from the Biden-Harris administration are nearly double the amount planned and build on awards announced by EPA earlier this year, so more children across the country have a cleaner ride to school. LCV applauds the Biden-Harris administration for continuing to deliver on their commitments to tackle the climate crisis and ensure communities with low wealth are prioritized in these critical investments.” *** “The success and demand for the electric school bus funding shows that these investments are a critical step for children across the country to have access to healthier, cleaner rides to school, no matter their income or zip code,” said Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González. “Toxic tailpipe pollution harms our children of color and children in low-wealth communities who are already the most impacted by the climate crisis with higher rates of respiratory illness and other health issues. Chispa will continue to organize to ensure all communities, especially communities of color, lead a healthier and cleaner energy future.” ###

LCV and Chispa Statements On Latest EPA Clean School Bus Program Rebate Investments Read More »

Why we must include our comunidad in the growing green economy: clean energy jobs, lower energy costs, and a healthier climate future

I recently had the honor of visiting the White House during Earth Month and participating in the Roundtable on Latino Economic Empowerment Through Climate Action. The roundtable discussed the historic (in scope and size) number of clean energy investments being made into the U.S. economy right now, and how our Latine communities can be part of this fast-growing green economy. In representing Chispa, I joined two dozen other climate leaders and influencers, plus key Biden-Harris administration and staff, for the discussion. It was not lost on many of us in the room that “we are our ancestors’ wildest dreams,” as my seat partner, Isabel Gonzalez Whitaker, Associate Vice President at Moms Clean Air Force and Director of EcoMadres, said. “I thought so much of my mother and her dreams as an advocate for Latino economic empowerment (having come from Cuba with nothing, struggling to start a business, ultimately becoming a voice for the community) and how much she was with me in that room.” My own story is that my mother, an immigrant from Mexico, cleaned houses for decades in Dallas. She eventually became a successful small business owner with my father, and they also served as leaders in the community. But how do we include more families and communities into the middle class and beyond, out of “barely making it”? We have a monumental opportunity, right now, to bring everyone along into a new green economy that offers dignified good green jobs, lower household costs and reliable energy, and clear benefits to our health and the planet on top of that. With the Affordable Clean Energy Plan front and center, the Biden-Harris administration has done more to protect our climate and move environmental solutions forward than any other administration in American history. At the White House Roundtable we discussed this opportunity, and the moment we have to change the course for generations to come.  Good News: There are Clean Energy Jobs, Jobs, Jobs When we discussed how the green economy can be inclusive of the Latine community, the first thing we discussed was jobs. With announcements such as $7B in grants for the Solar for All program, communities have the opportunity to develop solar projects that will offer clean and reliable energy in their homes. This will offer families more stable prices for their energy, but “the beauty of it,” as a senior administration official put it, is that it also creates well-paying jobs. The large influx of investments is also an opportunity for this green economy sector to be developed sustainably with fair wages, labor standards, and equity. The Affordable Clean Energy Plan (the climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act)  amounts to $369 billion! These resources are being invested in solar and wind all across the U.S., clean transportation, clean energy manufacturing of batteries and other products, and more. The plan is comprehensive and includes many elements important to Latine communities: Community Change Grants fund environmental and climate justice activities to benefit impacted communities through projects that reduce pollution, increase community climate resilience, and build community capacity to address environmental and climate justice challenges.  Direct pay is a program where tax-exempt and governmental entities – such as school districts, local governments, Tribes, territories, and nonprofits – can receive up-front payments to help fund qualifying clean energy projects. These include community solar projects to bring clean energy to neighborhood families; geothermal heating; electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure; and clean vehicles for city fleets. The Justice40 Initiative establishes the goal that 40 percent of the benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, and other investments in the Affordable Clean Energy Plan, must go to communities dealing most with underinvestment and pollution. All of the clean energy projects being created through these historic investments mean jobs for electricians, mechanics, construction workers, technicians, support staff, and thousands of others. Since the Affordable Clean Energy Plan became law in 2022, companies have announced a total of 271,713 new jobs related to 523 new clean energy projects, and over $352 billion in investments across the U.S., according to Climate Power. Latine workers are well represented in the clean energy and clean transportation sectors, and our numbers are growing. Latine workers represent nearly 17 percent of the clean energy workforce. And within the solar installation space alone, roughly one-third of the workers are Latine (31.7%). Finally, the American Climate Corps, a service and workforce training initiative designed to employ youth in addressing climate impacts and building local resilience, will hire 20,000 people, according to the White House. The program represents an excellent opportunity to engage our Latine youth in skill-building in the climate space.  Our families have many opportunities to get into and stay in the middle class with all these jobs and internships for new careers – all while promoting clean air, clean water and a better environment. Cost Savings: The other economic benefit under the Affordable Clean Energy Plan During conversations with climate leaders at the White House, I shared that my teacher friend in Texas received a $900 electric bill in January! Many of the families and communities Chispa works with across the country are finding their skyrocketing utility bills unaffordable. Chispa NV members have even told us they have to choose between utility bills or food or medicine. This is not right. Current tax incentives under the Affordable Clean Energy Plan mean cost savings (in the form of tax rebates or tax credits, plus lower energy bills) for your family when you make clean energy changes such as conducting a home energy audit, upgrading your appliances or installing a heat pump to lower energy cost. The Affordable Energy Plan does two things: it makes it more affordable to install clean energy in your home, with small investments like the more energy efficient appliances, or funding for bigger solutions we know work such as solar panels, and it then means your family has cheaper and more reliable energy for many years to come = real cost savings to

Why we must include our comunidad in the growing green economy: clean energy jobs, lower energy costs, and a healthier climate future Read More »

Become a Volunteer !
Sign Up for Chispa Volunteer
By donating or taking this action, you are affirming your membership in Chispa/League of Conservation Voters and your desire to receive regular Chispa/LCV communications and are entitled to vote for a member of the LCV Board of Directors. By giving your mobile phone number, you agree that Chispa/LCV may call or text you occasionally with important action alerts.
Find Your State
Join the Movement!
Sign Up for Chispa News and Updates