Coalition of Latino leaders calls for voters to focus on climate change
A coalition of Hispanic activists and community leaders on Thursday called on voters to choose candidates who will act to counteract climate change, an issue that disproportionately affects Latinos.
In an open letter, the group laid out how pollution and climate change affect minorities, particularly Latinos, at higher rates.
“Across the United States, Latino, Black, and Indigenous children are dying at higher rates. A new report from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC found that children of color accounted for 78 percent of all COVID-19 deaths,” reads the letter. “Nearly half of the fatalities are Latino children. These deaths expose something we already knew: Our kids are living with air so polluted and toxic that it is making them more vulnerable to disease and even death.”
The coalition, which includes representatives from several progressive groups as well as the two largest nonpartisan Latino civil rights organizations, UnidosUS and the League of United Latin American Citizens, also includes representatives from the medical and scientific communities, and a former director of public engagement at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The environment has consistently polled as a top issue for Hispanic voters, many of whom live in areas susceptible to climate change, like Florida and California, and in neighborhoods closer to polluting industries.
“According to research by Climate Power, an overwhelming 77 percent of Latino voters support a strong message of action to combat the climate crisis,” reads the letter.
Climate Power 2020 is a political operation focused on opposing President Trump’s environmental record.
Multiple independent surveys have consistently shown Hispanics are more likely to understand climate change as a result of human factors and to view it as a top issue for policymakers.
“Climate change and environmental justice are not only top-tier issues for Latinos but climate action motivates their decisions to vote and for whom. And young Latinos in particular are deeply concerned about a bleak future if there is no action on climate,” reads the letter.
Although the letter does not explicitly call for voters to support any particular candidate, it asks voters to support candidates “who believe that climate change is real and are willing to take strong action against fossil fuel companies that are putting profit over people,” a statement that aligns with former Vice President Joe Biden’s stated goals on environmental policy.