We, the members of the National Association for Multicultural Education, are committed to improving educational equity and social justice for all people. As we prepare to gather in New Orleans for our 18th annual conference, this resolution declares our recognition of the direct linkage between our goals for social justice with those specifically addressing environmental justice.
We recognizing the direct link of social and environmental justice, both founded on principles of equality, fair treatment, democracy and the fundamental right to a safe environment. They share a fundamental belief in our interdependence and the sacredness of Mother Earth as a common foundation to diverse spiritual and cultural belief systems. Both social and environmental justice affirm human rights guaranteeing political, economic, cultural and environmental self determination to all peoples, and mandate that public policy and resource distribution be based upon mutual respect for the rights of all peoples to live free of bias and discrimination. Including government actions that cause increased isolation or segregation through the forced movement or removal of people
The social dynamics underlying the barriers to educational equality are the same disparities of wealth, power and race in our society that create the disproportionate environmental hazards faced by low income and communities of color.
Both social justice and environmental justice acknowledge the seamless connection between natural/environmental and social/racial conditions and decisions. Both social and environmental justice reject the concept of race/class “neutrality”, and insist on examination of who benefits and who bears the burdens of policies and procedures. Research in both social and environmental justice reveals the disproportionately high degree to which communities of color are exposed to pollution (and the corresponding low level of environmental benefits they enjoy) result from of deep societal racism and classism.
Environmental injustice creates primary barriers to effective learning. Living conditions, land use decisions, and environmental conditions directly impact citizen’s quality of life, readiness for learning, productivity, and overall health.
THEREFORE, advocates and activists in social and environmental justice demand priority efforts to reverse centuries of inequities and oppression, including the disproportionate exposure to high levels of pollution and hazardous living conditions existing in communities of color.
The members of NAME declare our RESOLVE to work to correct inequities related to environmental racism and classism.
We resolve to work for focused, determined actions by government and officials to remove the mechanisms keeping generations of under-served communities of color at extreme risk. Primary to these efforts are vigorous and consistent enforcement of environmental regulations (i.e. reinstating policies that monitoring agencies collect data and generate strategies to address the disproportionate pollution and land use policies experienced by minority communities, and identification of sources of local environmental risks within communities).
We are further resolved that people from all sectors of the affected under-served communities of color participate as equal partners in the decision-making, planning, and implementation of corrective steps.
We further declare a call for action to develop and implement just and equitable ecological policies consistent with the ethnic, cultural and historic integrity of the communities involved, in order to prevent new disasters, while also accelerating the work rebuilding areas affected by past tragedies including Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
Passed unanimously by the NAME Board, July 2008
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