Protecting the future of our planet — and all of the people on it — is everyone's responsibility. And with Earth Day coming up, there are plenty of opportunities to make our communities greener and greater. Here are just a few of the ways you can stand up for the environment and social justice this week.
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All Month Long:
Everywhere: Make every day Earth Day.
Earth Day officially takes place on April 22 — and this year will also be marked by the historic March for Science in Washington, D.C. and more than 400 other cities around the world. Of course, everyone should make caring for the planet a priority every day of the year.
You can do your part to support this effort year-round by joining your local chapter of the Sierra Club, the biggest grassroots environmental justice organization in the country. Whether you want to support legislation protecting the environment or encourage people to enjoy and value the natural wonders in your area, the Sierra Club is a great place to start.
Earthjustice provides legal support for nearly every environmental movement in the country. Whether the goal is to remove lead from drinking water or ban the use of highly toxic chemicals, you can help by taking action with Earthjustice.
This week, there will be marches calling for Trump's tax returns and a fair tax system; an environmental justice conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico; a gathering for prison abolitionists in Richmond, Virginia; the National Day of Silence for LGBTQ youth; and we're looking ahead to a gay film festival in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Saturday, April 15
Everywhere: Demand transparency and fair taxation at the Tax March.
Various times and locations
This Saturday, marchers will take to the streets in almost every state to demand the release of Donald Trump's tax returns. He is the first president in 40 years to not make that information publicly available, and organizers want to know why. In addition to that demand, organizers are also calling for reform of our current tax system. Rather than uphold the massive tax breaks for corporations which the Trump administration has proposed, protesters are pushing for an economic system that does not punish the poor or exempt the wealthy from being taxed. Join a march near you and continue the American tradition of rising up for fair taxation.
Wednesday, April 19
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Examine how capitalism affects the environment at Decolonizing Nature.
Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. – Saturday, 1 p.m.
National Hispanic Cultural Center
1701 4th St. SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
The University of New Mexico is hosting a summit on environmental justice, with a focus on how people exploit the natural world for profit. Experts from a variety of disciplines will lead discussions, and attendees will be able to dive into how art, politics, and even the food we eat have an impact on the environment. The conference is free, but registration is required to confirm seating.
Thursday, April 20
Richmond, Virginia: Create a world without prisons at ROOTS Weekend Richmond.
Thursday, 12 p.m. – Sunday, 1 p.m.
Various locations in Richmond
ROOTS Weekends are short conferences in different cities around the country that bring artists and activists together to organize around specific issues. This installment is focused on prison abolition. Formerly incarcerated people, members of law enforcement, and others who have a vested interest in ending the prison system as we know it will come together to make art and build strategies for their shared goals. The cost of registration for the full weekend is on a sliding scale.
Friday, April 21
Everywhere: Stand with bullied LGBTQ youth during the National Day of Silence.
Wherever you are
Every year, students across the country take a daylong vow of silence to support LGBTQ youth. Queer youth are silenced by bullying and violence far too often. This show of solidarity draws attention to the voices we do not hear. Some schools and student groups will have events to mark the day, but people are also encouraged to take the pledge on their own if they can. You can register to participate and find resources for organizing at your school at the GLSEN website.
Thursday, June 1 – Sunday, June 4
Charlotte, North Carolina: Attend the 2017 Gay Charlotte Film Festival.
Thursday, 6:30 p.m. – Sunday, 8 p.m.
New Science Center Auditorium
100 Beatties Ford Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28216
Charlotte Pride hosts an annual film festival for the LGBTQ community and its allies. The goal is to share the visions and stories of a diverse queer community to foster a deeper understanding between these two groups. The festival features documentaries and movies from around the world as well as submissions from local filmmakers. VIP passes and general admission tickets will go on sale soon. Ticket sales will also support the work of Charlotte Pride, making sure that the queer community of Charlotte keeps growing and celebrating each other for years to come.
We can turn away from the destructive paths of pollution and prejudice to a future in which all of us are happier, healthier, and thriving. Whether that means bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!