Rural America is often misunderstood as a conservative monolith. This misconception keeps progresive movements from investing in rural communities — but these communities are critical if we want to advance environmental justice. In this panel, Lydia Avila, a program officer at the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, speaks with three grassroots, rural organizers who are also grantee partners with the fund: Johana Bencomo with New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (NM CAFe), Janie Hill-Scott with Georgia WAND, and Veronica Coptis with Center for Coalfield Justice. All of the panelists are grantees of the Equity Fund, which invests in Black and women-led organizing around climate change in eight, largely rural states: Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Virginia, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina. 

The panelists discuss the challenges and fears that rural communities face, particularly around a just transition away from a fossil-fuel based economy. They share how deep listening and community conversations have helped them build trust around climate equity in their communities — paving the way for lasting policy changes.




Read the entire issue on Organizing in Rural America. 



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