Celebrating local and statewide victories in the 2016 Election
It is time to mourn, and then commit to our fight for environmental justice.
Without doubt, a Trump presidency is a devastating blow to our communities and our environment. As a people of color and women led alliance, with members who work directly in the constituencies targeted by Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric, we reject the racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti LGBTQ sentiment, and misogyny that has characterized his campaign. We mourn for the attacks we are already seeing in communities of color and immigrant communities. We mourn for the loss of our collective potential, the ground our movements could have gained in the next four years. Now we must focus on our collective resistance.
We commit to organize, protect and lift each other up, our communities, and our movements. We affirm the importance of our work to advance environmental justice. We affirm the possibility that here in California we can forge a different path than the one Donald Trump will set nationally, one that is guided by our values of dignity, respect and justice for all and Mother Earth.
Our affirmation is held up by incredible local victories that we have seen unfold across the state:
- In the Inland Valley, a community-led campaign for Eloise Gomez Reyes defeated Big Oil-backed Assembly Member Cheryl Brown, replacing a Moderate Dem with a progressive leader;
- In San Jose, community advocate and Indian-American Ash Kalra defeated a pro-business candidate, adding an important new voice to the California Assembly;
- In San Diego, long-time community organizer Georgette Gomez ran an inspiring community-led campaign and was elected to the City Council;
- In Richmond, community groups came together to successfully run a slate of candidates for City Council, where there is now a progressive majority;
- In the small town of Arvin in the Central Valley, amidst the fracking fields, Jose Gurrola, an emerging environmental justice champion, is on the cusp of becoming Mayor;
- In the Bay Area, rent control measures passed in multiple cities, addressing the crisis of gentrification;
- In Monterey County, roughly 75 percent people of color, voters passed Measure Z, a ban on new fracking and other extractive drilling processes that also phases out all existing land use for the purpose of extractive drilling;
- In Los Angeles, 76 percent of voters passed a bond to finance affordable housing for the homeless community.
Votes are still being counted, but California is positioned to secure a democratic supermajority in the legislature. In fact, 7 of the 11 candidates CEJA Action endorsed were elected. These candidate victories are mostly people of color that won through a vibrant ground campaign.
Other important additions to the State legislature include Monique Limon, a new Assembly Member from the Ventura area with strong community ties; Ana Caballero, representing Salinas; Henry Stern, a long-time climate champion from Santa Monica; and Todd Gloria, from San Diego. In a much needed change for the Inland Valley, Sabrina Cervantes unseated Republican Eric Linder to help secure the supermajority.
Even though the Democrats overall have deeply divided politics, the supermajority opens doors and will be needed in the face of a right wing federal government. Our state also passed powerful measures to ban plastic bags, decriminalize youth, and continue taxing the rich; 10 out of the 14 statewide ballot measures landed in favor of CEJA Action’s supported positions.
We send our congratulations and gratitude to all the people who knocked on doors, made phone calls, and displayed courageous leadership to make these local, regional and statewide victories possible.
Our work to advance environmental and climate justice is more important than ever. Our challenge is to continue building our power, lift up community-led solutions, and build the infrastructure to create the national impact that will be so desperately needed. We hold tight to the vision of the world we want to create, and remember that now is the time to build stronger unity in our communities and our state!