Over 300 people spoke out for environmental justice at our annual Advocacy Day at the Illinois State Capitol last Thursday, April 26th!
Thank you to people of faith from across the state who woke up early, got on the buses, and traveled to Springfield to join fellow environmentalists and community advocates.
Your dedication to speaking out makes possible systemic changes that are desperately needed to heal our Earth.
Every year around Earth Day, we partner with the Illinois Environmental Council, Sierra Club, and other organizations for Advocacy Day. Our continued annual presence is vital to address environmental concerns that arise each legislative session.
During the morning, people had the opportunity to educate their legislators about issues that affect the health of our bodies, our neighborhoods, and our ecosystems.
We promoted clean air by urging our state representatives and state senators to transition towards a clean energy future with wind and solar energy, rather than keeping polluting coal-fired plants open.
We advocated for clean water by educating our legislators that 1/8 of all lead service line pipes are found here in Illinois. We called on our elected officials to make a plan to replace these lead pipes, reduce leaks, and create protections for low-income water ratepayers.
We educated our legislators about broadening the environmental movement to be more inclusive and connecting it with other justice issues. We advocated for making voting accessible to pre-trial detainees and for voter education for people who are released from prison. Citizens who have the right to vote deserve access to do so, in order to make their voices heard on issues that affect their health and community.
We also educated our legislators about the importance of protecting environmental and worker safety laws, endangered species, and land conservation.
A contingent from the Catholic Conference of Illinois called upon Catholic legislators to heed Laudato Si’ (Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment) in addressing both the social and ecological injustices caused by environmental degradation.
At noon, we gathered outside for an energizing rally to make a visible statement and demonstrate mass support for environmental justice. People of all ages inspired us with their speeches about the impact of these issues on their lives and their vision for a healthy and just future for all.
The work of faithful advocacy for environmental justice doesn’t end after April 26th.
We need everyone – regardless of whether you were able to attend Advocacy Day – to continue to take action for systemic social and environmental change.
An in-district visit with your state legislators can go a long ways towards building relationships and influencing key policies. Please contact Policy Director, Pastor Booker Vance, to get involved.