It’s inspiring when parents invest their precious time into strengthening and using their civic voice. It’s also inspiring to be part of a shift we’ve noticed in the national conversation. Air pollution, clean energy, and climate change are no longer “environmental” issues. They are now American issues. They aren’t just for scientists, wonks, treehuggers, or economists. American families from all walks of life are talking about this stuff, because they – we – understand the moral urgency.
Pulling off the Mama Summits takes some serious dedication. As we catch our collective breath after a very full spring (15 states in four months, with two more states yet to come — phew!), we wanted to share with you some highlights of our Mama Summits.
To those who participated in Mama Summit 2015, we thank you from the bottom of our bursting hearts. We couldn’t be more proud of the hundreds upon hundreds of you who spoke with scores of lawmakers and their staff at Mama Summits across the country.
And for those who didn’t join us this year, see you next time, ok?
The California Mama Summit was hosted by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Southern Californian mother of two and member of the Latino Caucus. More than 50 participants met with nearly 30 legislators to talk about why they care about climate change.
The Colorado Mama Summit had 40 participants. The press conference featured Alice Madden, former majority leader of the Colorado House of Representatives, and also formerly with the US Department of Energy. Angela Alfaro from Protegete and Servicios de la Raza also spoke.
At the Illinois Mama Summit, parents met with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to discuss reducing carbon dioxide emissions, fixing the broken Renewable Portfolio Standard in Illinois, and improving local air quality. The press conference featured powerhouse supermoms Carrie Woodruff and Robin Garlish, who spoke about their children, both of whom suffer from severe asthma. Participants met with Governor Rauner’s adviser for energy and the environment — who reportedly was still wearing his “Mompartisan” button the next day!
At the Indiana Mama Summit, participants met with Indiana Senator Jean Breaux, who offered to sponsor a resolution to form a study committee and hold a hearing on the link between energy and children’s health. Participants also had a chance to chat with Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, who is from Southwest Indiana and is a grandmother. The Indiana Mama Summit solidified partnerships with long-standing statewide groups, helped build our name in Indiana, and started important conversations with those who have the most influence in our state.
The Maryland Mama Summit garnered the support of over 60 members and some amazing supermoms, many with powerful stories to share about how climate change and air pollution have impacted their families. Participants visited 25 offices in the state capitol to talk about climate change, including Governor Hogan’s office. Lawmakers acknowledged the Mama Summit on the floor of the Maryland House of Representatives, applauding supermom Lisa Bardack and Interfaith Power and Light director, Joelle Novey, who was holding her adorable four-month-old baby.
A diverse group of 80 participants met with more than 20 lawmakers and their staff in Michigan. Reverend Yvette Griffin, who tragically lost her granddaughter to asthma last year, spoke alongside a state senator, a rabbi, an asthma educator, and a supermom about how air pollution from coal plants harms our children.
New Hampshire Mama Summit participants enjoyed an excellent program of distinguished speakers, and were treated to a video message of welcome from Congresswoman Kuster. In addition to holding meetings with lawmakers to talk about the importance of clean air, participants also received a letter of support from Senator Kelly Ayotte (R).
In New Jersey, more than 50 families and partners participated in the Mama Summit, with a powerhouse of strong women partners and supermoms speaking at the press conference. Republican Senator Robert Singer and Democrat John McKeon stopped by to greet participants and to talk about the importance of parents coming to Trenton to advocate for children’s health.
The New York Mama Summit was co-sponsored with Clean and Healthy New York and focused on toxic chemicals in children’s products. More than 50 participants gathered in Albany for a press conference on the steps of the Million Dollar Staircase and meetings with more than 30 lawmakers to talk about children’s health.
The North Carolina Mama Summit delivered a powerful message that moms, dads, grandparents, health advocates and faith leaders are united and serious about holding legislators accountable for clean air and climate justice. The impetus to act on air quality and climate is strong for North Carolina Moms Clean Air Force members, many of whom live in counties that received a failing grade from the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report, and where imminent sea level rise and oil and gas exploration threaten the health and economy of residents throughout the state.
The Ohio Mama Summit brought together a contingent of mostly brand new moms who completed 15 visits to lawmakers’ offices to discuss climate change. State Representative Nickie Antonio was the keynote speaker for the press conference, which received local radio coverage.
The Oregon Mama Summit was Moms Clean Air Force’s first event in the state. Participants spoke with their state lawmakers about pricing carbon, cutting diesel pollution, and getting toxic chemicals out of children’s products. High school students also joined to discuss pollution from ports in their Portland community.
In Pennsylvania, parents from all four corners – and in between – of the state came together in Harrisburg for a day of education, outreach, and networking. Pennsylvania parents spoke about the health impacts of pollution in this traditional coal state currently booming with fracking activity, as well as their concern for global warming and the state’s impact on the entire globe. Moms, teachers, scientists, and health professionals reached more than 100 legislative offices — including meeting with Governor Wolf — asking them to cut carbon and methane pollution.
In Tennessee, more than 30 members and partners traveled from all over the Volunteer state to Nashville, eager to share their stories about how air pollution and climate change are impacting their families. Participants met with 12 legislators, imparting the urgency of protecting our children, and held a press conference that garnered support from Councilman Lonnell Matthews, Jr., along with supermom Anne Brock and indoor air quality advocate Daniela Kunz.
The Virginia Mama Summit included over 60 attendees with more than 30 legislative meetings and drop-offs of literature in lawmakers’ offices. All carbon emissions associated with transportation for the Summit were offset by MOM’s Organic Market, via TerraPass.