The purpose of this publication is to ground federal investments and identify both the challenges and opportunities for frontline and fenceline communities by centering their voices and their past, current, and future issue priorities. The communities and programs showcased in this report serve as examples to Build Back Better, and they represent the wide breadth of constituents across urban and rural landscapes, Indigenous communities, and programs that fall within this spectrum.
This publication highlights the investments within IIJA that have the potential to aid and lift up environmental justice communities specifically. This publication is to serve as a quick reference guide, broken down section-by-section, into what funds are becoming available for specific projects. It covers transportation infrastructure investments, water, energy, broadband, improving community resilience, and allocations specifically for indigenous communities.
In December 2020, the National Wildlife Federation partnered with Outdoor Afro, The Links, Inc., Patagonia, and Black AF in STEM to shed light on the challenges that Black people face in safely accessing outdoor green spaces. In addition to hearing about challenges and barriers, several recommendations surfaced to address the intersectional issues faced by Black communities.
In collaboration with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), including Grambling State University, Southern University and A&M College, the National Wildlife Federation is currently engaging students on science-based projects to protect the Mississippi River Watershed. This project builds upon over 3 years of student engagement, which includes providing students at HBCUs with career and professional development training and resources.
Over the spring and summer of 2020, the National Wildlife Federation worked in collaboration with our national and local partners to hold a series of roundtable conversations. In addition to gaining valuable insights to help guide National Wildlife Federation involvement and policy advocacy, the roundtables served as a key platform for participants to build relationships and share resources.
The Southeast and Caribbean Environmental Justice Community of Practice, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, honors the existing work of frontline communities and brings together federal, state, NGO, academic, and community leaders dedicated to more equitably serving vulnerable populations as a mechanism for increased collaboration and synergy. Frontline and fenceline practitioners from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are convened on a bi-monthly basis.
Through the support of the Kresge Foundation, we’ve co-developed a program with community leaders to address climate-induced flooding, water and sewage, infrastructure, and public health issues impacting city residents.
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