Equity Summit 2015

Last week Brian and Adrian attended the Policy Link Equity Summit 2015 in Los Angeles on behalf of the Moving Forward Network. Air Alliance Houston is a proud member of the Moving Forward Network, which sent more than fifty delegates to the Equity Summit to promote our Zero Emissions Campaign.

This was our first experience with Policy Link, a nonprofit organization that “connects the work of people on the ground to the creation of sustainable communities of opportunity that allow everyone to participate and prosper.” Since its founding in 1999, Policy Link has held four Equity Summits. Policy Link defines “equity” as “just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.”

Equity Summit 2015 included sixty session offerings, hundreds of speakers, and more than three thousand participants. Topics ranged from digital organizing through social media, to the Black Lives Matter movement, to the local impacts of the global trade network.

This last item–and transportation equity in particular–was what brought the Moving Forward Network to Equity Summit 2015. The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the largest ports in America, are major hubs of the American shipping industry. Unlike the Houston Ship Channel, where 85% of shipping is bulk cargo related to the petrochemical industry, the port of Los Angeles deals largely in containerized cargo. This leads to a vast freight network and an “inland empire” of millions of square feet of warehouse space to store, sort, and ship containerized goods.

As you might expect, the impacts of this industry are inequitably distributed, with low-income and minority communities more likely to suffer the negative impacts of goods movement. The Moving Forward Network seeks to end this inequity by “transform[ing] the global trade system by supporting the organizing, advocacy, education and research efforts of partners around the United States toward improving public health, quality of life, environmental integrity, labor conditions and environmental justice.”

The Moving Forward Network’s latest effort on this front is the Zero Campaign, and it was the Zero Campaign that we were promoting as delegates to Equity Summit 2015. We’re seeking 100,000 signatures on a petition to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, asking the EPA to end emissions from goods movement. The only way to end the injustice of inequitable impacts of freight movement is to end those impacts altogether. With zero emissions, no one is harmed by goods movement.

Today, we count many of the 3,000 attendees of Equity Summit 2015 as signers of the Zero Campaign petition. Please, if you haven’t signed the petition, join us today in asking for Zero Emissions Now.