Maybe you've seen us on Instagram, or maybe at our climate strike in September of 2019. But what is ACCO, and where in the world did we come from?
The Austin Climate Coalition began as an idea sprouted in the minds of just a few teenagers. After helping to organize a city-wide climate strike in conjunction with other activist groups, we realized that there was an abundance of young Austinites eager to fight for climate action, but with no community base to unite them. We, a group of around 20 high schoolers from all across the area, decided to form a coalition that would be student-lead and would work to combat climate change within our local community. We started meeting during the weekends to discuss what was detrimental and unsustainable in our city, and how we could make a difference. We quickly realized that our voices needed to be heard, and that we had the power to make drastic change for the better. Since then, we have operated as a free form (without any designated president or other positions), youth-lead organization, and have hosted a variety of events advocating for movement in our generation to fight with us.
We are the young voices of Austin, of Texas, of America, and of the world, and we refuse to watch our futures disappear. We are taking matters into our own hands, and we hope you'll join the fight right alongside us!
Check out this KUTX video from our 9/20/2019 strike!
Pledge of Allyship to BIPOC Organizations
Police brutality is, and always has been, an integral part of the systemic oppression of Black communities. The most recent protests are only the latest in a decades-long effort to abolish the rampant racism and anti-blackness inherent in the American justice system and communities around the world. As allies, we must demand reflection and change, from ourselves and those we know. As a collection of climate activist organizations in Austin, Texas, we want to ensure that our commitment to change is backed by thorough planning and real calls to action, followed by genuine growth and accountability. We recognize injustice as the core of the issues we fight for and pledge to take action against the oppression of Black, Indigenous, LatinX, Asian, and marginalized communities in all aspects of our work. As we analyze the history of the environmental movement, we recognize that the majority of western climate action has neglected racial justice and actively suppressed BIPOC activist voices. It is critical to take responsibility for how western culture has colonized environmental activism by dismissing non-western cultures’ insight and knowledge. Therefore, we will reflect and reform within our current organizations to advocate for actions that prioritize social justice, and use our platforms to amplify BIPOC perspectives in the environmental movement.
In order to enact real change, we commit ourselves and our organizations to:
- Recognize that the environmental movement around the world and Austin specifically, has been focused on the perspective and experiences of white peoples. We must commit to unlearning the white superiority complex of the environmental movement, while taking the time to learn about the history of environmental activism within BIPOC communities - Educate our members and our community about histories of environmental racism, both in Austin and within environmental movements, that has perpetuated environmental injustice affecting BIPOC communities - Amplify/Uplift BIPOC activists’ demands and teachings - In our organizations, create an inclusive culture that does not discriminate against race, gender, or religion - Refocus our group’s efforts to hold justice at our core of our actions - Support BIPOC organizations/organizers with our resources - Support and participate in peaceful Black-led demonstrations protesting police violence and systemic discrimination.
In our pursuit of racial justice, we are working together to host a webinar series to educate our members about the oppression, exploitation, and destruction faced by BIPOC communities.