Growing up in Spartanburg, South Carolina — a predominantly Black community where the EPA designated two severely contaminated Superfund sites and four Brownfield sites — I knew many in the community and from my family who experienced rare illnesses and died.
But rather than try to get out of Spartanburg, I dedicated my life to making it a better place to live. In 1997, I founded the ReGenesis Community Development Corporation to confront environmental injustices in my community. And since then, we’ve leveraged millions to clean up contaminated Brownfield and Superfund sites, created job training initiatives to construct new affordable, energy efficient housing, and brought health care to a medically underserved community. Our work is proof that economic investments transform communities when they prioritize environmental justice.
That is why when Jay Inslee visited my hometown last spring, I was thrilled to see someone on the national stage committed to frontline communities like Spartanburg. And my excitement for electing a climate president has not diminished: It’s why I joined Evergreen’s advisory board and why I helped Joe Biden put together his plan for environmental justice.
The great news is that Joe Biden’s newly released plan for environmental justice delivers, prioritizing 40% of federal green investments targeted to support disadvantaged communities. This is a huge commitment for our communities within a $2 trillion plan.
Investments like these will go straight to Spartanburg and other communities like mine across the country. It’s a powerful first step toward rebuilding communities hit first and worst by climate change. This plan will create countless good jobs that make communities like Spartanburg direct participants in cutting edge solutions to immense problems climate change created and/or exacerbated. I know how important Biden’s plan is because I’ve seen it happen in my own community.
Joe Biden, Jay Inslee, and I agree that there can be no solution to climate change without environmental justice. Do you?
Thanks for your support,
Harold Mitchell Jr.
Advisory Board Member, Evergreen Action