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March 27, 2014

Hip Hop Caucus Empowers Youth For Climate Action

image from http://aviary.blob.core.windows.net/k-mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp-14032720/8c434054-d6c3-4c58-aab0-d789f017d08f.png
Rev. Yearwood speaking at the Forward on Climate Rally in Feb. 2013

What do a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, a comedian, a hip hop artist, a minister, a global sustainability expert, and a civil rights leader have in common?

They all want you to act on climate disruption.

Raheem DeVaughn, Amanda Seales, Dee-1, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Dr. Micheal Dorsey, and Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley will be speaking and performing at the Hip Hop Caucus’ Act On Climate campus tour starting tonight.

The Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) was founded in 2004 by Rev. Lennox Yearwood “to organize young people to be active in elections, policymaking and service projects. [They] mobilize, educate, and engage young people, ages 14 to 40, on the social, issues that directly impact their lives and communities.”

This includes issues like economics, education, healthcare, housing, environment, and social justice.

The HHC “harnesses the platforms of our celebrity, media, and entertainment partners to inform and move the urban community to action.” That diverse community includes more than 650,000 people. Seventy percent of them are under the age of 40, 60 percent of them are women, and a majority of members are African American and Latino.

One of the main challenges facing these communities is climate disruption, which already disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income communities, and will only get worse unless major changes are made.

“The effects of climate change are expected to be more severe for some segments of society than others because of geographic location, the degree of association with climate-sensitive environments, and unique cultural, economic, or political characteristics of particular landscapes and human populations,” a study from the United States Department of Agriculture states. “Social vulnerability and equity in the context of climate change are important because some populations may have less capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate-related hazards and effects.”

That’s why the HHC is hosting the campus tour this year to reach out to young people around the country. Their message for our leaders is clear: “we need them to act on the issue of climate change.”

Their campus tour has gained major notoriety and is supported by the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and André Carson (D-IN). EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is expected to make an appearance during the tour.

The Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice program has been working for over 20 years to link environmental quality and social justice, and the Sierra Club is proud to support the Act on Climate campus tour.

The tour begins tonight at 6 p.m. EST at Hampton University in Virginia and will continue on to Central State University in Wilberforce, OH, Wayne State University in Detroit, Howard University in Washington, D.C., North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, NC, and conclude at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta.

--Cindy Carr, Sierra Club Media Team


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