Video

Building Racial Justice through a Green New Deal

Thursday September 24, 2020 6:00pm - 7:30pm

The Green New Deal isn’t about a single law, but rather an overarching vision of tackling heat-trapping carbon emissions and social inequalities at the same time, and in the same places, year after year. In a world of racial capitalism, this can only be achieved through a relentless struggle to abolish racial injustice. How can the Green New Deal movement put the values and campaigns of the Black liberation struggle at the heart of its vision? How can the Green New Deal movement help advance a broad, multi-racial, working class agenda of climate justice? 

On the one hand, these questions demand answers that involve theory, analysis, and long-term vision. These questions also demand short-term answers involving concrete campaigns in fall 2020 and early 2021. And they require a critical look at already-existing efforts to merge racial justice and climate action, like California’s policy framework of investing substantially in frontline communities. 

In this panel, co-sponsored by Penn’s Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative and McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, we’ll hear from Kaniela Ing, the lead organizer of the grassroots network People’s Action’s Green New Deal campaign; Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, a philosopher who is reconceptualizing the links between demands for reparations and for climate justice; and, J. Mijin Cha, a legal scholar and labor activist who has worked on climate justice policy in New York and California. Nikil Saval, a Green New Deal advocate and the Democratic candidate for State Senate in Pennsylvania’s First District, will moderate the discussion. Daniel Aldana Cohen and Billy Fleming will introduce the panel

Speakers

J Mijin Cha

J. Mijin Cha

Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy Occidental College

J. Mijin Cha is an assistant professor of urban and environmental policy at Occidental College. She is also a fellow at the Worker Institute, Cornell University. Dr. Cha's research explores the intersection of inequality and climate change, particularly labor/climate coalitions. Her current research focus is on just transition- how to transition fossil fuel communities and workers equitably into a low-carbon future. Dr. Cha received her B.S. from Cornell University, J.D. from Univ. of California, Hastings, and LLM and PhD degrees from the Univ. of London, SOAS.

Kaniela Ing

Kaniela Ing

Climate Justice Campaign Director People's Action Institute

Kaniela Ing is the Climate Justice Campaign Director for People's Action Institute. He comes from the working class and has a ten-year background of student, indigenous rights, and community organizing. He first ran for office at 23 years old, and served as a State Legislator in Hawaii from 2012-2018, where he wrote and passed bills for community solar, on-bill financing, and the nation’s first state-wide 100% renewable energy goal among others.  Kaniela is currently based in Honolulu, HI and serves on the national advisory board of Climate Power 2020, the Green New Deal Network, and the United Frontlines Table. In his free time, he directs the Hawaii Community Bail fund, organizes within Native and pacific Islander communities, and enjoys parenting his two toddlers.

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Georgetown University

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University.  He studies and teaches social and political philosophy, with an emphasis on the Black radical tradition and anti-colonial thought.   

Moderators

Nikil Saval

Nikil Saval

Democratic Nominee PA First Senatorial District Senate of the State of Pennsylvania

Nikil Saval is the Democratic nominee for State Senate in Pennsylvania's First Senatorial District. He worked with UNITE HERE as a researcher and organizer, and he co-founded Reclaim Philadelphia, which helped recruit and elect progressives to every level of state and city office. In 2018, he became the first Asian American Democratic ward leader in Philadelphia. A former editor-in-chief of n+1, he is the author of Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace, a cultural history of the office, and he writes for the New Yorker and the New York Times on architecture, housing and design. 

Daniel Aldana Cohen

Daniel Aldana Cohen

Assistant Professor of Sociology; Director University of Pennsylvania; Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative (SC)2
Billy Fleming

Billy Fleming

Wilks Family Director Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology