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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Coalition Calls for Environmental Justice

Sep 01, 2015 08:44PM

With Gathering on the National Mall

by Robin Fillmore
The National Mall will be the gathering place for diverse voices rallying around environmental justice on the morning of September 24. The Moral March for Climate Justice is a coalition of diverse groups—those who identify as green supporters, social justice organizations, family-based groups and religious organizations—coming together to raise up the message that climate is first and foremost, a moral issue

The catalyst for this event is Pope Francis’ visit to Washington, D.C. and his address to Congress at 9:20 that morning. There will an opportunity to listen to the Pope’s message on the Mall and immediately following the speech, the rally will begin.

The night before, an all-night prayer vigil will be held, sponsored by the Franciscans Action Network, and all are invited to join for a part of the evening, or for the entire vigil. The day following the rally, September 25, will be held for advocacy actions. Groups who are interested in engaging with their members of Congress will be encouraged to set their own appointments but watch for talking points and tips for effective member-meetings.

Participants and organizers see this event as part of an effort to keep the focus on climate justice in the lead-up to and beyond the international climate negotiations in Paris this December

According to Jamie Konopacky, one of the organizers, the success of the day will come if local and regional environmental justice efforts are given a national platform. Advocates who are working on efforts across the Eastern Seaboard, including a local group organizing around the Pepco plant in Washington, D.C., will be sharing their stories at the podium.

Similar efforts are being waged throughout the country and their organizers will be coming to D.C. for the rally. Here they will be sharing of their attempts to change local and regional decisions that impact the environmental health of their communities. The organizers of the rally continue to seek out more stories of resistance and resilience, and encourage those with a story to contact them before the rally at

The coalition has also been working with the Hip-Hop Caucus, a nationally acclaimed civil and human rights organization that draws together activism with the arts. One of their key issues is environmental justice and climate change and they will be part of these events.

Organizer Konopacky notes, “"Like the Pope says, the moral message of environmental and climate justice is a message for everyone. It's not just for people of faith. We want to be a part of continuing the effort to build an inclusive environmental and climate justice movement that has a hope of infiltrating what seems to be an impenetrable congress. One of the goals of the environmental and climate justice movements is to implement environmental and climate justice principles in local, state, national and international policies. Creating platforms to raise up the stories of individuals and communities is critical to bringing about this policy transformation. The gathering on September 24 is one opportunity to create a platform to raise up the environmental and climate justice message."

Location: National Mall, between 4th and 7th. For more information, visit


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