On July 17th 2018, at the NAACP’s 109th Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas, the NAACP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. We were honored to welcome PACJA Co-Founders Mithika Mwenda who traveled from Kenya and Augustine Njamnshi who traveled from Cameroon, as they joined with NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and Board Chairman Leon Russell in signing this historic agreement.
Key components of the MoU include a joint commitment to: Plan and engage in joint programming to advance emissions reductions, clean energy, and climate adaptation/resilience; Develop strategic joint global organizing campaigns across the African Diaspora and within the Continent and; Conduct joint advocacy with the United States Government and the United Nations.
“It was our deepest honor to formalize this relationship with the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between PACJA and the NAACP. It is a milestone in a long standing relationship that began in Copenhagen in 2009 when we filmed the PACJA delegation marching through the halls of the United Nations Climate Talks chanting “Two Degrees is Suicide” referring to the lack of ambition and commitment of polluting nations to do what is necessary to save the planet from the global catastrophe of climate change,” said Jacqueline Patterson, Senior Director, NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program.
In his remarks after the signing of the MoU, PACJA Executive Secretary Mithika Mwenda stated, “The environment is our responsibility, individually and collectively, climate change is a concern that NAACP has setup structures within the institution to respond appropriately. You have made climate change your agenda on advocacy and gone beyond to mobilize from the grassroots in the neighborhoods all through to the Conference of Parties in 2015 when NAACP in partnership with PACJA co-hosted different side events. Together, we amplified a racial justice analysis and a set of equity-based demands in the discourse on climate change impacts, mitigation, and adaptation. The year 2015 saw the launch of the UN Decade on People of African Descent. The voice of movements like the NAACP and PACJA will be particularly critical in reaching the goals and aspirations of people of African Descent.”
The next step is the plan to jointly launch the Global Afro Descendent Leadership Initiative on Climate Justice during the meetings of the Global Climate Action Summit, in September, followed by further launch activities at the 24th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Then the real work begins of exacting systemic change at global, national, state, and local levels as we work together to continue to bend the arc towards justice.