When EcoMadres Program Manager Carolina Peña-Alarcón started to mobilize Latino voters ahead of the November 8 Midterm Election, she didn’t expect to be able to cast her own vote. Carolina immigrated to the US from Bolivia in 2001, but was not yet a US citizen.
Then, in September, her citizenship was approved. In a moving essay for INSIDER that also ran in MSN, Newsbreak, and insidexpress, Carolina recalls: “Suddenly, this is not just a campaign I was working on. It will be my story, too.” Carolina was proud to cast her ballot last Tuesday when she voted to protect our kids, our climate, and public health. Carolina underscores the importance of voting in her INSIDER essay, writing: “Many of us feel frustrated with our leaders. People who are discouraged by the system might want to opt out of voting. But that’s the greatest power we have. We can’t leave that on the table because we’re overwhelmed by the way the system has failed us.”
National Field Manager Ali Simpson (above) shares Carolina’s dedication to getting people to the polls. Ali led Moms Clean Air Force’s Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts, working tirelessly with our organizers to engage with voters in their communities. In all, Moms signed and mailed over 1,300 pledge cards and postcards that encouraged friends and family to vote. Ali tells The 19th: “We’re focused on mobilizing moms and dads and caretakers to advocate on behalf of their children who don’t have a vote and don’t have a voice.”
Carolina and EcoMadres Field Project Manager Liz Hurtado co-led our GOTV efforts in the Latino community. They partnered with Corazon Latino to revive the Soy Latino, Sí Voto (SLSV) campaign and boost voter turnout in key states. Telemundo Noticias reports on SLSV and their collaboration with award-winning cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who published weekly cartoons to energize the Latino voter base. Read an English translation of the Telemundo Noticias article in The Limited Times.
LEAVING DIESEL IN THE REARVIEW
Our Georgia organizer Lily Zwaan teamed up with local partners to plan a press conference in celebration of the zero-pollution buses set to roll into Georgia school districts with the help of EPA Clean School Bus funding. Electric school buses purchased with the EPA rebates will replace traditional diesel buses, which spew health-harming tailpipe pollution that our kids breathe every time they go to school on one of them. Lily says it best in her remarks, which were quoted by Atlanta News First: “We need to be really concerned for our next generation and the world that they are going to inherit but they are also here, right now, and their health is being impacted by air pollution. So, something like these electric school buses is really exciting.” Other speakers echoed Lily’s enthusiasm. Watch segments of their remarks on the CW69 Atlanta.
Our EcoMadres leader Carolina also talked to media about the EPA Clean School Bus awards. In an interview with Univision Philadelphia, Carolina emphasizes that cutting tailpipe pollution by swapping diesel buses for electric models will benefit the Latino community in particular: “As children’s lungs develop, they are inhaling the harmful air that is impacting them and that is why so many incidents of asthma are occurring, especially in our Latin American community.” Asthma rates are disproportionately high among Latino children, who are also 40% more likely to die from an asthma attack than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. Yet, many of these children rely on dirty diesel buses to travel to and from school. Giving them access to a clean ride allows them to breathe easier and focus more on learning. As Carolina tells Univision 24/7: “This is great news for all children.” Quotes have been translated from the original Spanish.
“LOVE INTO ACTION”
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute podcast The Climate Conversation interviewed our Director and Co-Founder Dominique Browning for their “Love into Action” episode about motherhood and climate activism. Dominique talks about the history of Moms Clean Air Force and shares that she was moved to found the organization when her own children were leaving home. Around that time, she started reading “mommy blogs” and was frustrated to find that many of them recommended safer products available for purchase without any discussion of how to transform the system that allows harmful products into our homes in the first place. She says: “Nothing was pointed towards, what can we do to make systemic change? …Talk[ing] about these issues in a personal and relevant and accessible way, and harness[ing] that energy around children to a political and systemic change… were the way for me to keep sort of being a mother, in the sense of feeling protective and putting children front and center.”
In the 12 years since Dominique started Moms Clean Air Force, the organization has built a membership of over 1.4 million, united by the “mompartisan” mission to protect our children’s health. As Moms collaborator Heather McTeer Toney says during an interview with the Weather Channel’s show Pattrn: “If there’s anything that moms can get behind–parents in general–it’s making sure that our kids are safe.”
- A quote from Public Health Policy Director Molly Rauch’s statement on EPA’s Clean School Bus awards announcement was featured in The Oakland Press, District Administration, and Nation of Change, along with an Associated Press piece that ran in over 600 other outlets.
- NJ Today lists Moms Clean Air Force as one of the organizations endorings the Cumulative Impacts Act of 2022, which would “create critical protections for environmental justice and frontline communities overburdened by air and water pollution.”
- The Pampa News reports on a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that aims to cut methane pollution from oil and gas operations. As leaders move into implementation mode, Texas organizer Erandi Treviño stresses the importance of using monitoring systems that can detect this invisible super-pollutant: “Because we can’t see them, we can’t capture them, our ability to even measure the quality of the air at any given time is limited [without detection equipment].”
- The auto and lifestyle blog Latinaology ran the Colorado Moms team’s press statement about EPA’s Clean School Bus awards announcement.