By Tasneem Essop, CAN International Executive Director
We are bearing witness to unprecedented actions by the Trump-led government in the US. The deployment of the military on domestic soil is not only unconstitutional, but also a chilling signal that America is hurtling towards fascism. Trump has, in effect, declared war on his own citizens.
We have witnessed unbelievably violent responses by the police in many cities across the US in reaction to the justified and necessary protests against the horrific murder of George Floyd who was killed by a policeman in Minneapolis. Thousands have been arrested, spurring protests in cities across the world in an important demonstration of global solidarity.
All of this takes place within the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is impacting Black and brown communities disproportionately in the US, as it is everywhere else. It has laid bare the fault-lines of poverty and inequality in that country and the world.
The disproportionate burdens that Black and brown people, especially those living in poverty and suffering inequality across the world, face, is also fundamentally a feature of the climate crisis. Those bearing the worst impacts of climate change are not responsible for the cause of the climate crisis. The very systems that have contributed to the climate crisis has systemic racism built into its fabric. This is the climate injustice that we all need to fight against.
While we are struggling to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and while we are fighting racial injustice and autocratic rule in the US and elsewhere, many people are continuing to suffer the destructive impacts of climate change. The violence of the loss of life, livelihoods, homes and safety is devastating. And yet again, it is mainly Black and brown bodies on the line. We have seen this in the Pacific with cyclone Harold and in Bangladesh and India with Cyclone Amphan. Mega-swarms of locust, heatwaves, floods and landslides are all threatening millions with hunger and conflict and exacerbating the social and economic insecurity caused by the pandemic.
As a network we stand for equity, justice and human rights and we have recognised the fundamental connection between social and climate justice. It is now incumbent on us to express our support for those fighting racial injustice in the US right now, but it is also important for us to reflect the fight against racial injustice and systemic racism in all the work we do on climate, including the way we work, our policy positions and ensuring that our decision-making structures and platforms are inclusive.
We stand in solidarity with all our colleagues and allies in the US during these tragic and turbulent times and call for justice for George Floyd, Ahmad Arbary, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and all other Black and brown women and men who have been subjected to police violence and systemic racism in the US.