This is great news for everyone who breathes air. Diesel-powered buses produce exhaust that doesn’t just smell really bad—it’s a major health hazard too. Pollution from these buses contains tiny particles that can lodge deep in our lungs, triggering asthma attacks, harming our hearts, and causing cancer. As Public Health Policy Director Molly Rauch (pictured above) writes in a statement quoted by the Associated Press: “It doesn’t make sense to send our kids to school on buses that create brain-harming, lung-harming, cancer-causing, climate-harming pollution. Our kids, our bus drivers, and our communities deserve better.″
The Associated Press article ran in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Albuquerque Journal, and hundreds of other outlets in both Spanish and English. A number of outlets also quoted Molly in their original reporting and roundups, including PBS News Hour, M Live, EcoWatch, Nexus Media News, and the White House.
Moms Clean Air Force organizers across the nation joined Molly in responding to EPA’s announcement. In a quote that ran in Odessa American and Yahoo News!, New Mexico state coordinator Ana Rios says: “The Clean School Buses program will bring many health benefits to our children as they will breathe cleaner air. I hope to see more electric school buses in Albuquerque as we work together to reduce the air pollution impacting our beloved communities and prioritize clean air and good health for all families.” Ana writes in a letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal that she and her family are particularly excited about the transition to an all-electric school bus future because they live in an area of Albuquerque that is plagued by heavy air pollution.
Michigan state coordinator Elizabeth Hauptman is grateful that school districts in her state are receiving this electric school bus funding too. Her son has asthma, and as she writes in Congressman Kildee’s press release: “His health depends on clean air.” Elizabeth says that swapping diesel buses for electric ones will make “life easier, safer, and healthier for kids like mine.” Elizabeth also worked with partners to organize a press conference in Lansing, Michigan, to celebrate the electric bus funding rolling into the state. The event was covered by local outlets, including WWJAM (CBS News Radio) and WLAJ (ABC).
Down in the Lone Star State, Texas state coordinator Erandi Treviño is celebrating the electric school bus funding from EPA. She tells the Houston Chronicle that “Having these new electric school buses is not going to solve the entire problem [of air pollution], but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.” Erandi is right, which is why moms are already gearing up to spread the word about the next round of Clean School Bus funding when it becomes available. Learn more about the program on the EPA website, which features a photo of a Kids Clean Air Force member!
MOMS GET OUT THE VOTE
The November 8 midterm elections are right around the corner, and as a new US citizen, EcoMadres Program Manager Carolina Peña-Alarcón can’t wait to vote for the first time. Carolina shares her story in an op-ed for Newsweek, urging fellow Latinos to join her at the polls: “Whether we were born in this country or became citizens through the naturalization process, we are all Americans. Voting is a right, a privilege, and a civic duty. Yet too many give up this right and let others make decisions for us. Don’t give away your power this election year or any year. Our children are counting on us to protect their health, the planet, and their futures.”
In an interview with Parabolica, Carolina says that she hopes the Soy Latino Si Voto campaign that EcoMadres is leading with Corazon Latino will inspire Latinos to vote. The campaign showcases a combination of music and other culturally relevant media to mobilize the Latino voter base. Iowa state coordinator Karin Stein tells Univision: “Music is a way to engage families and start natural, enjoyable conversations that give [our communities] the tools they need to take action.” This quote has been translated from the original Spanish.
Our Florida state coordinator Yaritza Perez shares Carolina’s enthusiasm for voting, telling Front Page Live: “Imagine if all those people who think ‘my vote doesn’t matter,’ voted. We’d have probably twice as many voters, which could be the difference in every election. Some elections are determined by just a few votes.” This Q&A with Yaritza also ran in Spanish.
LIVING ON THE FRONTLINES OF POLLUTION
Carolina was also featured in a Maryland Matters article about her work with EcoMadres. Carolina tells the paper that it is her mission to educate Latino families about the disproportionate health risks they face, saying: “Latino children represent one in every six children in the United States and face a higher risk of asthma attacks exacerbated by air pollution than white children.” Almost 10 million Hispanics live in counties where the air is unhealthy to breathe.
Houston, Texas, is one of the areas that has failed to meet the federal standards for ground-level ozone. Often called “smog,” ozone is a powerful lung irritant. It triggers asthma attacks, increases risk of lung infections, and can be especially dangerous to kids, older adults, and those with underlying conditions. Houston-area regulators, however, have been unable to rein in this type of air pollution, leading the federal government to step in and require that the state do more to cut ozone. Our Texas state coordinator Erandi tells the Houston Chronicle that this gives her hope: “I feel like once the EPA takes action … it’s going to have to force some changes and that’s what we really desperately need.”
- EcoMadres and Corazón Latino launched three Spanish-language jingles that seek to empower Latino voters to exercise their right to vote. The jingles aired during Desde Nevada’s program “The Force for a Better Future.”
- National Manager of Health Equity Almeta Cooper participated in a conversation about maternal and child health that was produced by Health Law Weekly.
- Moms Clean Air Force was mentioned in a Southern Alliance for Clean Energy press release about the EPA Clean School Bus awards announcement.