We Deserve to Breathe

After the Supreme Court limited the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fight climate change in a landmark ruling yesterday, the Black Hive at the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

“Recently, the conservative, white supremacist majority of the U.S. Supreme Court announced its catastrophic decision to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, which we know will cause harm to millions of Black, Indigenous, and people of color across the United States – and the globe. 

We know that living in a safe, clean, and thriving environment should be a right for Black people. The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms that corporate polluters in Black communities hold more power than the Black people in those communities – and their decision will have lasting and deadly impacts on our health.

Industries based on the usage and generation of fossil-derived fuels are killing our communities. Research has shown that these toxic industries create disparate health impacts, where Black and poor people bear a disproportionately high burden of living with fossil fuel pollution across the United States. Black people have 1.54 times the exposure to particulate matter compared to the overall population.

The liberation of Black people – and all people requires that we justly transition to a renewable and regenerative economy. 

We are faced with the fierce urgency of now, and we are running out of time. This is year three of the critical decade to slow down climate change. To achieve this, we need bold policies that center frontline communities. The Black Hive, the Movement for Black Lives’ climate collective, inked a “National Black Climate Mandate,” which demands federal guarantee and protections to stop the pollution of Black communities and federal prioritization and investments in cleaning up Black communities from toxic pollution and exposure.

How can the U.S. ensure this protection if the U.S. itself is a major contributor to the creation of greenhouse gas emissions that burdens our comrades in the Global South and across the world?

How will this impact the federal commitment to advancing environmental justice and the implementation of Justice 40, an executive order that mandates 40% of federal funds be spent in disadvantaged communities?

The Biden Administration must act boldly and swiftly to:

  • Declare a Climate Emergency under the National Emergencies Act. At this critical point, climate change cannot be denied, silenced, or forgotten.
  • Put an end to corporate and fossil fuel bailouts and advance corporate accountability by urging Congress to suspend the filibuster and institutionalize the EPA’s ability to regulate air pollution (including greenhouse gasses), which was first passed in the Clean Air Act. 
  • We know that true liberation cannot be achieved with a court system and while we work toward a vision of abolition. Communities are calling for an expansion of the courts.

Urgent action is imperative. Science and our lived experiences as unionized Black and Brown bodies across the Global South show us every single day. Another world is possible. We just have to be brave enough to step into it.”


The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.