Moms and Parents Gather in Sacramento to Show Support for Climate and Clean Energy Action

Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez with Mama Summit participants

Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez with Mama Summit participants

By: Loni Russell, California Field Manager, Moms Clean Air Force

Who among us has not felt the power of a mom? My mom was one of the hardest-working women I’ve ever known, yet she still found the time to do so much for me. So when moms take on the role of advocates and activists, watch out.

Last week, moms in California showed up big time. And as the lead organizer for that event, I’m here to give you a birds-eye view of what happens when moms decide to raise their voices.

On Thursday, May 21, over 40 mothers, parents, grandparents, and supporters from across California gathered in Sacramento at the state capitol building for our Mamma Summit California. The Mamma Summit is part of a series of events hosted by Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF), an organization which encourages and enables moms and parents to advocate for climate action for the health and future of their families. We at MCAF teamed up with Environmental Defense Fund, Climate Parents, the American Lung Association in California, The Greenlining Institute, and California Interfaith Power and Light to put together a full day of advocacy for participants.

Our group of moms, motivated to make their voices heard, showed up bright and early to the Capitol.  They came to tell lawmakers that they expect California to continue to lead on fighting climate change and supporting clean energy to protect their air and keep their kids healthy and thriving. We were honored that the Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, architect of this year’s Senate climate package on which the Summit’s advocacy was based, greeted us first thing in the morning to thank the parents for their resolve. Senators Fran Pavley, mother in her own right of California’s climate leadership, and Richard Pan, staunch defender of children’s health, also came by to thank us for being there and reinforce the importance of our presence.

Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de León with Mama Summit participants

Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León with Mama Summit participants

Breaking into smaller groups for legislative office visits, MCAF representatives shared with 25 elected representatives and their staff why issues of clean air, clean energy, and climate action are important to them, their families, and their communities. And, the MCAF representatives highlighted how some pending bills on climate pollution and energy can make a lasting difference. In the Senate, SB 350 (De León, Leno) and SB 32 (Pavley) together set an overarching greenhouse gas pollution reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and call for a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use, 50 percent renewable energy target, and a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency in existing buildings. In the Assembly, Speaker Toni Atkins is leading her chamber with AB 1288, a bill which also recognizes the importance of long-term targets for California’s cap-and-trade program. Further, Natural Resources Committee Chair Das Williams is advancing AB 645 to strengthen the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030. Finally, the MCAF folks made sure to thank California’s leaders for their amazing work to protect California families on these issues.

Senators Fran Pavely and Richard Pan with Mama Summit participants

Senators Fran Pavely and Richard Pan with Mama Summit participants

After the meetings everyone reconvened for a great lunch hosted by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez – a strong advocate for families and mother of two in San Diego. During the lunchtime program, speakers offered unique perspectives on why we need to continue to fight for the health of our families and communities through climate action. Will Barrett of American Lung Association in California presented the progress made in air quality as well as the work still needed to make air everywhere healthy to breath. Sekita Grant from The Greenlining Institute reminded us of the vitality of making our climate and clean energy solutions equitable and available to all communities, especially low and moderate income communities and communities of color. And then the honorable Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez shared her vision of a future that balances different priorities such as climate, jobs, and equity. But there was one connecting thread: Moms make a difference, are powerful advocates for change, and they’re going to continue to do everything they can to protect the health of our children and keep polluters accountable.

As Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez remarked, “Nobody is stronger or more passionate for what they want to see in the future than moms.” And from my perspective, even though it’s my job to live and breathe MCAF almost every day, I never, ever fail to get truly inspired by all the passionate moms, parents, grandparents, and supporters who rally together to link the issue of fighting climate change to fighting for the future of our families. Their strong and consistent voices shed a light of hope that we can tackle these problems and make a better future for those who come after us, especially our kids, and I’m glad those voices were heard in California.

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