Energy & Environment

Vermont Conversation: Rev. Lennox Yearwood on why ‘racial justice is climate justice’

Lennox Yearwood
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. is the founder and president of the Hip Hop Caucus. Photo via Flickr/Elvert Barnes

The Vermont Conversation with David Goodman is a VTDigger podcast that features in-depth interviews on local and national issues with politicians, activists, artists, changemakers and citizens who are making a difference. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify to hear more.

The conviction of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is a milestone in the movement for Black lives and racial justice. It is a rare moment of accountability for the police killings of Black, Indigenous and people of color. Since 2005, 140 police officers have been arrested for on-duty killings in the U.S.; just seven were convicted of murder.

Chauvin’s conviction comes during Earth Week, the days of environmental activism leading up to Earth Day on April 22. A central part of Earth Week this year is the We Shall Breathe virtual summit, which connects the climate crisis to issues of pollution, poverty, police brutality and the Covid-19 pandemic, and places them all within a racial justice framework. We Shall Breathe is sponsored by the Hip Hop Caucus, led by its founder and president, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. Rev. Yearwood is a minister, community activist, U.S. Air Force veteran, and a national leader in the environmental justice movement.

“Climate justice is racial justice, and racial justice is climate justice,” Rev. Yearwood tells the Vermont Conversation.

“I believe that another world is possible that is not based on extraction,” Yearwood says. “I believe that another world is possible where you are not judged by the hue of your skin. That we can be brothers and sisters. That we can coexist together.”

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David Goodman

About David

David Goodman is an award-winning journalist and the author of a dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers that he co-authored with his sister, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe and other publications. He is the host of The Vermont Conversation, a VTDigger podcast featuring in-depth interviews about local and national topics. The Vermont Conversation is also an hour-long weekly radio program that can be heard on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WDEV/Radio Vermont.

Email: [email protected]

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