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July Newsletter: Highlighting Community Resilience & Environmental Justice Work

As July and the heat rolls in, we want to highlight our community’s resilience in the face of extreme weather challenges, and our commitment to clean air for our kids by securing funding for electric school buses. Our ongoing efforts to safeguard impacted Latine and communities of color from the harmful impacts of LNG also continue, reflecting our dedication to environmental justice. Join us this month as we continue the fight for cleaner air and healthier neighborhoods for all. Read more below and unite with us in making a positive impact! July Events:  Join Chispa TX for a Town Hall on Ammonia Production and Tax Breaks! Join Chispa Texas and Texas Campaign for the Environment for a crucial community discussion on the risks associated with ammonia production and the proposed tax breaks from Robstown. RSVPs are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Limited door prizes will be available! Mark your calendar for July 18th, 2024, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds, 1213 Terry Shamsie Blvd, Robstown, TX 8380. We look forward to seeing you there! RSVP HERE! Applications Are Now Open for Electric School Bus Funding:                                                      Nearly $1 billion in funding is now available, including $652 million earmarked for school districts to upgrade to clean, electric buses, replacing aging diesel models. The Biden-Harris administration, supported by the EPA and National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Clean Bus Planning Awards, is committed to assisting districts in securing these funds for cleaner transportation solutions. Grant proposals for the EPA Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program are due July 25, 2024. EPA will conduct informational webinars and welcomes inquiries at throughout the application period. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to bring electric school buses to your community! Urge your school district to apply now! For help contacting your school district and urging them to apply for funding, check out the Alliance for Electric School Buses! News ICYMI (In Case You Missed It!)  Extreme Heat Protections for Workers and Communities This week President Biden and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration proposed new extreme heat protections for workers and communities, including worker protections that are vital for anyone who works outdoors. Without a standard in place, all workers’ including Latine workers’ lives are at risk during these increasingly frequent heat waves – from farm workers to firefighters and solar installers, to construction crews. It’s time to take action and ensure their safety! Read our full Chispa statement with LCV here. Washington, DC Fly-In Leaders from Chispa Arizona, Chispa Nevada, Chispa Texas and Chispa national gathered in Washington DC June 11-14  to attend this year’s Conservation Voter Movement Fly-in. Our Chispa programs, along with community leaders, lobbied key Administration officials and elected officials on critical issues including support for a continued LNG pause, clean energy, offshore wind, land protection, electric school buses, and clean energy rebates from the Affordable Clean Energy Plan. Chispa leaders discussed clean air and water, electric vehicle infrastructure, heat islands, and maximizing clean energy tax credits. Check out Chispa TX’s, Chispa NV’s, and Chispa AZ’s posts of their time advocating for our gente in D.C.! And read our press release here. Meet Enviro-Net! Chispa Nevada’s First Digital Committee Our Digital Organizer, Crystal, and Chispa Nevada members officially launched the digital committee at the Chispa NV office! They spent their time together discussing what digital organizing means to them, brainstorming new content ideas, discussing digital practices and tools, and mapping out Chispa Nevada’s digital future. These digital leaders can’t wait to elevate our three campaigns: polluter accountability, clean air and transportation, and federal, and they can’t wait to help Chispa Nevada grow! Interested in learning more about social media, digital tools, and digital organizing? Send Chispa Nevada a DM today! Chispa NV Joins Community Advocates Opposing NV Energy’s Plan to Triple Northern Nevada Basic Service Charge “For many in our community, every dollar counts,” said Astrid Martinez, Community Organizer for Chispa Nevada. “NV Energy tripling fixed charges would hit Latine families and other vulnerable groups the hardest, making it difficult for our families to manage our budgets effectively. This would be the highest fixed charge in the country. We cannot allow this to happen without a fight. We call on the PUCN to protect consumers and reject corporate greed.” Read the full coalition press release here. Chispa Arizona Launches New Website Chispa AZ is thrilled to announce the launch of their new website! Experience seamless browsing with a focus on language justice for both English and Spanish speakers, as well as Disability Justice with settings catering to various needs. To celebrate their launch, they’re hosting a feedback raffle! Participants of the feedback survey have a chance to win a camping starter kit valued at nearly $500! Take the survey today to enter and visit their brand new website here at **This drawing is only open to residents of Arizona** Chispa AZ Launches Voter Registration Drive Across Three Counties! In June, Chispa AZ launched its new voter registration program in Pima, Maricopa, and Yuma counties! Despite the scorching heat, they’ve already begun building crucial relationships, sharing pan dulce, and hitting the pavement to achieve our ambitious goal of registering 40,000 voters. Nicole Morales, Democracy Director at Chispa AZ, emphasizes, “Without a robust democracy, our advocacy for Mother Earth cannot flourish.” Join Chispa Arizona here! Chispa AZ’s Annual Grand Canyon Adventure! Chispa AZ’s annual member-exclusive Grand Canyon trip was a transformative experience, blending adventure, stargazing under pristine skies, captivating theater performances, deep community connections, and profound insights into our connection with Madre Tierra! See more pics and videos from the trip here! Chispa Maryland holds Environmental Justice Workshops The Chispa Maryland team was happy to hold community workshops in June in Langley Park (pictured) and in Baltimore on what #environmentaljustice means for our communities and how we can make the air we breathe, the parks we play in, the water we drink, and the neighborhoods we live in cleaner, healthier and better for all! See Facebook

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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,, 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 »

June Newsletter: Voices of Change, Celebrating Environmental Justice & Pride Month

As June arrives, we’re thrilled to spotlight the voices of our communities taking action for environmental justice, coinciding with the celebration of Pride Month. This month, we focus on the power of collective action and the need for clean air in our neighborhoods to ensure healthy communities. Read on and join us in these efforts! Chispa June Events:  Washington, DC FLY-IN: Our Chispa states are gathering in Washington DC this month to attend this year’s Conservation Voter Movement Fly-in. Our Chispa programs, along with community leaders, will lobby key Administration officials and elected officialson several critical issues includingsupport for a continued LNG pause, clean energy, offshore wind,land protection, and clean energy rebates from the Affordable Clean Energy Plan. We will also discuss clean air and water, promoting electric vehicle infrastructure, heat islands, and maximizing clean energy tax credits. Keep an eye on our socials for updates! More news ICYMI (In Case You Missed It!) Chispa NV and Community Leaders Urge Berkshire Hathaway to Invest in Clean Energy: Chispa NV joined community leaders from Iowa and Nebraska in calling on Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power (NV Energy), to stop polluting our air with methane gas. Our leader, Maria Prentice, had the opportunity to ask a question during the meeting. She stated, “I’m a retiree from Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m here today as a member of Chispa Nevada, a group that’s developing Latine leaders for environmental justice. I’m also here representing many Latine families in Nevada who are struggling to pay their utility bills and want access to affordable, clean electricity. I want to ask today why NV Energy, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, is building new gas plants instead of investing in solar energy when Nevada is one of the sunniest states in the country?” Join Nevada in its polluter accountability efforts, and follow them on Instagram for updates and opportunities to get involved! Chispa AZ’s Nicole Morales Joins Poderistas Panel to Amplify Latina Voices During Election Year: Chispa AZ’s Democracy Director, Nicole Morales, joined a panel for Poderistas to discuss issues important to Latinas, especially during an election year. They listened directly to the women of Arizona about the most urgent issues for them, their families, and their communities in this election cycle and beyond. This event was recorded at the Telemundo studios with Eva Longoria! Check out their post here! Environment and faith panel: “Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and Latino Priorities: Hearing the Cry of Earth and the Poor”  Chispa’s communications director, Elena Gaona, participated in the Latino Leader gathering on “Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and Latino Priorities: Hearing the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor” hosted by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. Speakers included Mark Hugo Lopez (Pew Research Center), Silvia Foster-Frau (Washington Post), Christian Soenen (Georgetown Initiative), Auxiliary Bishop Evelio Menjivar (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington), and Bishop Joseph Tyson (Catholic Climate Covenant). An engaged live audience attended, and hundreds watched the live stream and recorded video. Elena shared stories from Chispa’s work and outlined how Latino communities experience environmental crises—their urgency, their physical effects, and their closeness to environmental justice and to the spirit for people of faith. Religion News Service ran an article about the event.   Protégete Colorado Unites With Latino Leaders at the GreenLatinos Summit: Chispa leaders and staff from several states, including Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González attended the GreenLatinos summit this year in El Yunque, Puerto Rico. In addition, Beatriz Soto, Director of Protégete, and Rebeca Medrano, Manager of Strategic Alliances, participated in a panel at the National GreenLatinos Summit. This dynamic event united the vibrant Latino environmental community, passionate climate justice champions, influential community leaders, and dedicated policy advocates, all striving towards a future of environmental justice. Check out photos from the panel and summit! Debunking LNG Myths: Why Biden’s Pause on Gas Exports Benefits People and the Planet: It’s been nearly five months since President Biden paused approvals for all new liquefied methane gas export projects, but misinformation about the decision still looms large. LCV breaks down the impacts of LNG and why the pause is a win for people, communities, and the planet this week on The Power Source Blog.    Carmen Hernandez, a Comadre from Gregory, Texas, emphasized the importance of taking action: “We want to keep on living for as long as we can. The future of our children is at stake.” New Analysis on President Biden’s Climate Action: A new analysis from Climate Power and 20 other climate groups including Chispa highlights President Biden’s significant climate actions. According to the report, Biden has taken more than 320 environmental actions to address climate change. Lori Lodes, Climate Power’s executive director, stated, “The analysis identified more than 300 meaningful climate actions that are creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs, lowering energy costs, protecting our lands, and holding Big Oil accountable. President Biden made climate action a priority from Day 1, and he’s just getting started.” Read more here! Y en español aquí, por Telemundo.   Celebrating World Environment Day with Corazón Latino short films: We celebrated World Environment Day yesterday by watching the award-winning Corazón Latino (in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, JPixx, and Heart Theatre) short films, “Addressing Our Future Now: The Environmental Justice Lens in the Forest Service Mission through DEIA – A JEDI Project.” The films highlight the crucial role of diversity and inclusivity in environmental justice and public lands. The films (available here) are a strategic effort to fulfill the USDA Forest Service’s obligations under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Justice40 Initiative. The effort includes three films (more to come), focusing on African-American, Latino, Indigenous, and Asian American perspectives in public lands management and how forests and public lands are experienced by different communities.. Revolutionizing School Transportation: EPA’s Clean School Bus Program Winners Announced!: The EPA unveiled the winners of the highly anticipated Clean School Bus

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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

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LCV and Chispa Celebrate Biden-Harris Administration Earth Day Announcements

Washington, D.C. — In response today’s speech from President Biden in Virginia to announce the $7 billion in funding for Solar for All grant recipients and new announcements expanding the American Climate Corps, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Chispa, and Chispa Nevada released the following statements: “President Biden has done more than any president in history to deliver on tackling the climate crisis and pollution, and we’re excited for the Biden-Harris administration’s continued commitment on clean energy and environmental justice the President announced for this year’s Earth Day,” said Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo. “The historic Solar For All investments are a major step towards lowering energy costs for families across the country, helping combat the climate crisis at the scale and rate science requires, and putting us on the path for a clean energy future for all of our communities, especially in communities of color and those with low wealth. The Biden-Harris administration is continuing to invest in our youth and future generations with high-quality jobs to tackle the climate crisis through the American Climate Corps. We’re all in with the Biden-Harris administration to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our communities, our climate, and our future.” *** “Today’s Solar for All announcement is a welcome relief for our communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and rising energy costs for far too long,” said Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González. “Chispa congratulates all the community-led winners who will soon be in a stronger position to lead us into a healthier and better energy future by expanding access to clean, local, affordable and reliable energy for all.” *** “Chispa Nevada is proud to congratulate the Nevada Clean Energy Fund on winning Solar For All funding for low-income and multi-family housing,” said Audrey Peral, Program Director for Chispa Nevada. “As we approach the Nevada summer, with electricity rates at an all-time high and our families living in neighborhoods with the hottest temperatures, our community needs urgent access to programs that will lower our utility bills and reduce climate pollution. We look forward to working with NCEF to develop solar projects that will transition Latine families, including renters and low-income households, to clean and local solar energy.” ### These announcements build on major progress announced by the Biden-Harris administration in advance of Earth Day to protect clean air and water, advance clean energy and clean energy jobs, hold Big Polluters accountable, protect public lands, ensure historic protections for the Arctic, and more.

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Chispa LCV Celebrates Earth Week 2024 with joy and continued efforts

For Immediate Release April 16, 2024 Contact: Elena Gaona | | 202-907-9717 Washington, D.C. – Chispa LCV is celebrating Earth Week with joyful family events honoring Latine work for the environment this week, as well as highlighting continued and critical fights for clean water, air and land. “As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we’re inspired by the many communities we’ve worked with in our Chispa states, where Latine families and communities of color have organized and raised their voices for healthier environments so they can breathe, live, and be proud,” said Chispa Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González. “We celebrate this week for Madre Tierra, and the work our grassroots leaders and communities have led for better environmental policies, cleaner air, better energy, less polluted transportation, safer water, and more respect for land and people. But the disproportionate environmental attacks on our people and places continue, and we cannot rest. Our lives and futures, and those of our children’s, are at stake.” Chispa Earth Day and Earth Week events include: Chispa TX April 18 desalination hearing: Join Chispa TX and partners at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s public hearing on the City of Corpus Christi’s proposed water discharge permit for the Inner Harbor, also known as the Hillcrest Desalination Plant project, on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 7 PM. Speak up against desalination’s impact on local communities, including reduced water, higher rates, and environmental health concerns. Let’s say NO to desalination and protect our bay life! Join us and support Hillcrest residents. If you want to comment, you can also visit and use permit number WQ0005289000.  Chispa AZ April 20th Earth Day Festival: The countdown begins! Join @chispaarizona and @azaanhpiforequity to celebrate Madre Tierra with the AZ community at #EarthDayFestival24 in Cielito Park on April 20 from 4-7 pm! Don’t miss out; celebrate the intersections between our Latinx and AANHPI communities for environmental justice. RSVP at Chispa NV April 21st Dia Del Niño: Join Chispa NV and the community at the Walnut Community Center, 3075 N. Walnut Road, Las Vegas, NV from 2-6 pm! Celebrate with Chispa Nevada as you enjoy the food, piñatas, face painting, and more! The first 500 children will receive a free toy; no need to RSVP! April 22, 12-4 pm: Chispa Nevada is partnering with Climate Action’s for the Affordable Clean Energy Celebration on April 22nd at the Durango Hills YMCA! Representative Susie Lee will be discussing climate progress, money-saving solutions, clean energy, and tax benefits with the community! Join us this Earth Day!  April 24, 5-7 pm: Join Chispa Nevada on April 24th to celebrate our madre tierra and Dia Del Niño with a carne asada and park cleanup at Sunset Park! They will be talking about Chispa Nevada, the ways we’re protecting our madre tierra, and providing updates for the comunidad! Chispa Maryland April 20, 9 am – 12 pm: Celebrate Earth Day with the Friends of Patterson Park! Join Chispa Maryland and the Friends of Patterson Park for this year’s Spring Volunteer Extravaganza! Get outside and meet your neighbors, get some exercise, and help care for our park! We will care for young trees, plant new trees, pick up trash, pull trash out of the lake, edge walkways, and so much more. We’ll bring the tools, we just need you! Location: Meet on the Eastside of the Park near the corner of Bank and Ellwood Ave in Baltimore City. Register Today! April 20, 10 am -1 pm: CareFirst Earth Day Celebration. Join us at the CareFirst Engagement Center to celebrate Earth Day. Let’s come together to clean up our community and celebrate our planet. After the cleanup, stick around for lunch and hear guests speak, including Chispa Maryland, on the importance of a clean environment. Location: CareFirst Engagement Center located at 1501 S Clinton Street, Suite 100, Baltimore, MD 21224 Register Today! April 22, 9 am – 12 pm: Growing Green With Pride. Help beautify the Langley Park Community in Prince George’s County by joining your neighbors for a day of cleaning and protecting the environment. Together with Chispa Maryland, we are joined by Langley Park Civic Association, PG Parks, and Nature Forward. All supplies will be provided. Location: Langley Park Community Center (at parking lot) 1500 Merrimac Drive, Hyattsville 20783. For more information, call 202-706-2176 or email April 27, 11 am – 4 pm: Montgomery County Greenfest. The Montgomery County GreenFest is the largest annual environmental festival in Montgomery County, MD. GreenFest is organized by a coalition of public and non-profit partners, including Chispa Maryland. People of all ages come together to celebrate, learn, and start or continue their journey to improving our community and the environment! Location: BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr, Germantown, MD 20874 Click here for more information.  Protégete CO April 20th, 1-4 pm Protégete will participate with Walking Mountains in Avon, CO along with several other organizations doing work with the environment and sustainability at the Sustainability Festival, at Walking Mountains Science Center, Avon Tang Campus. This will be an event for the Latino community to learn more about sustainability and the organizations that use it daily. We will be sharing information about our leadership programs, join us! ### Para publicación inmediata 16 de abril de 2024 Contacto: Elena Gaona | | 202-907-9717 Chispa LCV Celebra la Semana de la Tierra 2024 con alegría y continuo esfuerzo Washington, D.C. – Chispa LCV está celebrando la Semana de la Tierra con alegres eventos familiares que honran el trabajo latine por el medio ambiente esta semana, además de resaltar las luchas continuas y críticas por el agua, el aire y la tierra limpios. “Al celebrar nuestro décimo aniversario, nos inspiran las muchas comunidades con las que hemos trabajado en nuestros estados de Chispa, donde las familias latinas y las comunidades de color se han organizado y alzado sus voces por un medio ambiente más saludable para que puedan respirar, vivir y sentirse orgullosos”, dijo la directora senior de Chispa, Estefany

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LCV and Chispa Texas Statements on EPA’s Final HON Rule

Washington, D.C. — In response to EPA’s final rule on Hazardous Organics National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (HON) announced today, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released the following statements: “The Biden-Harris administration has once again taken important steps to cut pollution that unfairly burdens fenceline communities across the country, especially those in the Gulf Coast and Ohio River Valley where there is a high concentration of toxic chemical facilities,” said LCV Vice President for Government Affairs Sara Chieffo. “Slashing emissions of air toxics from these facilities, like ethylene oxide and chloroprene, is essential to improve public health and we urge the administration to continue working to address the many sources of toxic air pollution that disproportionately impact communities of color and low wealth communities. Today’s rule demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s continued commitment to prioritizing clean, safe air for every community.” *** “As a program that is made up of frontline community members, we applaud the EPA for today’s HON rule. The right to breathe clean air should never be determined by where you live,” said Chispa TX Program Director Elida Castillo. “Too many chemical plants in our communities have taken advantage of weak regulations and have spewed hazardous pollutants into our air, our water, and our land, exposing residents to harmful cancer-causing emissions. Our communities have a high proportion of residents of all ages with respiratory and heart issues resulting from the air we breathe. We cannot stress enough the need for more fenceline monitoring, and this is a positive step toward closing that gap. We thank the EPA for finalizing this rule to strengthen protections for the clean air we all deserve.” ###

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Every day, more than 650,000 children in Maryland ride to school on a school bus powered by diesel fuel, which exposes children to toxic exhaust that increases their lifetime risk of respiratory illnesses and even cancer. Approximately one in 10 of these young bus riders suffer from asthma — a leading cause of school absenteeism — and this asthma rate is higher among minority groups. In Baltimore City and Baltimore County, parents are increasingly rallying in support of both their children and cleaner air, thanks to Chispa Maryland. Chispa, which means “spark” in Spanish, is a program launched in 2014 by Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Chispa Maryland ensures that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting our air, land, water, public health, and future. The Chispa Maryland team has been engaging and connecting with concerned mothers through canvassing, community house meetings, tabling at events, and PTA meetings. The immediate goal, says Morena Zelaya, the organizing manager for Chispa Maryland, is to encourage these new advocates to push their school boards to commit to transitioning their school bus fleets to zero-emission electric school buses that will protect the health of children and their communities. The response has been extremely encouraging, says Morena. She and her partner, Chispa Maryland Community Organizer Elíseo Magos González, are now training a new group of 20 Baltimore County volunteer promoters – or “promotores” – to be leaders on environmental issues that are important to the community, and several of these promotores have already reached out to their school boards about the advantages of electric school buses. Through their work in the Baltimore region, Morena and Eliseo have also established a strong partnership with another Latino-outreach group, Comité Latino de Baltimore. Health concerns are a driving theme for much of their Latino audience, says Morena. “Several of our new promotores are mothers whose children have asthma. They care about the electric school bus issue and about climate justice because they want better health outcomes for their children, and a better future.” “Many of the community members we support haven’t had the same education or opportunities that Morena and I have,” says Eliseo. “But they are eager to learn and advocate. I’m confident they will continue to pass the information along and soon we will have a better environment.” Although the bulk of Chispa Maryland’s work is with Maryland’s Latino communities, the group welcomes support from anyone in Maryland who is interested in advocating for environmental justice locally and statewide. In fact, says Morena, Chispa’s efforts just received a significant boost from a non-Latino PTA president, Rachel Lemus, who offered to advocate for electric school buses at an upcoming Board of Education meeting, and another community leader who is using her Facebook page to promote Chispa and electric school buses. “We plan to continue to expand the program to communities throughout Maryland, and everyone is welcome,” says Morena. “We need all the help we can get!” To learn more or to get involved with Chispa Maryland, please contact Eliseo via email at or via phone at 240-705-6865. ###


Growing Up with Madre Tierra

They say that the things you are introduced to you at a young age will remain with you forever. Growing up in northern Mexico, Culiacán Sinaloa, I spent some of the most critical years of my life living with my amá, my grandma Guadalupe. We lived in a big mysterious cream-colored corner house just five minutes away from doña Teo’s tiendita and 20 steps across a cyber (a spot where community goes to access computers and internet). During those years under amá’s wing, care, and guidance, I had the opportunity to learn how to nurture the earth and live more sustainably. Amá always lived and taught me the more sustainable way of life, starting with how we washed our clothes. Amá has a lavadero by the bathrooms; I would help her wash clothes and head to the patio, where we would hang our “chiras” on the tendedero. The patio was always a fun and busy area. That was the space we used to dry our clothes, play with our familia, and we would also garden there. Two of the four walls are covered with plants, matas, and all types of greens. One of my favorites was her Hierba Buena that she would use to make me a tea at night. Not only did amá teach me how to wash my clothes more sustainably by using the right amount needed and how to garden from early on, but she also taught me about the harmful effects of gas and opted to instead use an electric stove, where she would spend extra hours cooking the menudos, caldo de pollo, and all the time consuming Mexican foods one can think of. My grandma always taught me how important it is to take care of what we have and take only what we need. One of the most important teachings she passed on to me, and that I keep close to my heart, is how to be resourceful and innovate with what we have. This includes the many uses of containers where we would store different things. Growing up with her was always a mystery. What will the butter container have in it this time? Is this box of cookies really cookies, or is it full of sewing items? I only found out when I opened them. This is because my amá was so resourceful and would upcycle anything she could, making art and finding new homes for items others see as trash. All the tips and tricks my grandma shared with me were a lifestyle. She would go out of her way to take care of a plant, how she didn’t care if the food would take longer because of the small electric stove to avoid potentially toxic fumes, or how she air-dried our clothes in el tendedero so they wouldn’t shrink thus conserving precious limited resources. It all has a deeper purpose; it all was done with love. It is all to protect and nourish. This moment of reminiscence brings me back to the present day. Are our “Earth Day” practices looking like Guadalupe’s everyday life? What more can I do? What more can we do? We can take collective action. More now than ever, Madre Tierra needs us. She loves that there are ones who care for her, water her, nurture her, and flourish her. But it is time we do more for her. We must give back just a little bit of what she gives to us. I invite you all to get to know our Chispa programs, and if there is a Chispa program in your state, join us! Taking care of Mama Tiera looks different for everyone but, there are actions we must all take that will strengthen our unity and the possibilities to make it happen. Help us make it happen! Join us in fighting for our beautiful Earth, the planet we call home, and beautiful people we call comunidad. As I look around and breathe in the low quality air we do now, I know we must all come together and demand decision-makers to protect Madre Tierra. Our decision-makers have the power to be responsive to their communities and to do what is suitable for the health of Mama Tierra and nuestra gente. Join us by urging the EPA for clean truck standards. Stringent standards will ensure we create a planet where our air is cleaner and our communities healthier. Our comunidades are suffering with every breath they take and we need urgent reform and climate action now! 

Growing Up with Madre Tierra Read More »

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