March 26- 28th: Chispa Joins Puerto Ricans In Calling For More Aid After Hurricane Maria
Alex Rodriguez- Chispa Community Organizer
Alex- “On March 26, I attended the 5th Annual Latino Legislative Luncheon hosted by the Hispanic Federation. The purpose of the event was to honor the growing power and influence of Latinos in Connecticut. It was inspiring to learn of all the ongoing projects organized by Latinos to better their communities. I shared Chispa’s ongoing advocacy for electric school buses and clean energy bills with many who attended. At the event, I crossed paths with Senator Richard Blumenthal, who co-sponsored a $146 billion dollar “Marshall Plan” to help revitalize Puerto Rico’s economy and infrastructure after Hurricane Maria.
Following this encounter, I attended a meeting with Congressman John Larson alongside 30 climate change refugees staying at the Red Roof Inn paid by FEMA. After FEMA announced it would rescind The families shared their needs for:
1. Securing more housing vouchers for the families
2. More money for school districts
3. Bipartisan bill providing more federal aid
4. Rep. Larson promising to keep Puerto Rico & Virgin Island's recovery a prominent issue
This aligns our goal of empowering underserved communities to fight back against climate change, and send a strong message at the national level.
Following this meeting, Chispa CT will publish an Op-Ed detailing the struggles Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Islander families have endured, and will call more equal representation at the federal level as Puerto Rico has a non voting congressional representative and no U.S. senator.”
March 15th: Food and Waste Meeting
David Canty - Chispa Promotor
David- “On March 15, our Chispa team attended a Food and Waste meeting at the boathouse in Keney Park. There, we met Herb Virgo, an environmentalist I had previously worked with and was surprised to see. I worked with him at a gardening site in the summertime and in that short amount of time, Herb taught me a lot, from aquaponics to composting. He taught me that big or small, everyone has an effect on the environment and if community members all chipped in, we can make a positive impact on the earth for years to come.
Looking back on this event, I’d like to share the practice of composting with my peers and everyone around me because there is a lot of food that goes to waste. One of the food waste advocacy groups reported that they saved 2.2 million pounds in food waste. If more people composted in America, communities would burn less food waste. It would not only make our communities cleaner but healthier. “
March 9th: Asking DEEP for #CleanRide4Kids
Anderson Elien- Chispa Promotor
Anderson - “On March 9, our Chispa Connecticut team submitted a joint letter with at least 10 environmental allies to the Department for Energy and Environmental. Protection. In this letter, we asked DEEP to use the money they gained from the Volkswagen Mitigation Fund towards electric buses, as part of Chispa LCV’s #CleanRide4Kids campaign. On top of this, each member of our team submitted a public comment as well. It was important for our team to ask DEEP to fund electric school buses because we believe that the $55.7 million dollars Volkswagen paid to CT should go toward clean transportation for school children as they are the most susceptible to respiratory illness. The majority of school buses are fueled by diesel which causes the bus to emit harmful toxins such as nitrogen oxide which has been proven to aggravate asthma. Electric school buses emit no toxins and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. Over 120,000 people support our #CleanRide4Kids campaign, and we will continue to advocate clean transportation for children in underserved communities in Hartford and more.”
March 3rd: Get Charged About EVs!
Da’kquie Jones- Chispa Promotor
Da’kquie- “On March 3rd, our Chispa team attended CT Sierra Club’s Get Charged about EVs event because our community organizers, Chispa CT was invited to share the progress our clean buses for healthy Niños has made. Our team has collected over 3,000 signatures in favor of the Volkswagen mitigation money going toward electric school buses for kids. During this event it was really exciting there were 5 speakers. One speaker was from DEEP, one speaker was from the Acadia Center, and there were electric vehicle owners who spoke as well. What I enjoyed most about the meeting was that there were electric vehicle owners who were able to articulate how much they saved on fueling their vehicles with electricity rather than oil or natural gas. A few owners drove Tesla vehicles, one drove a Chevrolet Bolt, and one owner drove a Nissan Wind. I enjoyed hearing about the new Model 3 approaching the markets. CT Sierra Club provided coffee, bagels, and other refreshments which made for a great time. In Chispa CT’s reporting, we informed the audience of the public comment deadline to DEEP on March 9th. We asked the audience to sign on to our join organizational letter asking DEEP to invest the $55.7 Million dollars CT gained from the Volkswagen settlement toward electric school buses. We also invited everyone to submit individual public comments as well.”