The Road to Climate Justice Begins with Powerful Storytelling

by Leslie Fields-Cruz

The headlines are daunting: “Racism is Magnifying the Deadly Impact of Rising Heat” (Nature), “Poor Neighborhoods Bear the Brunt of Extreme Heat“ (LA Times), “Black Americans are Drowning Because of Climate Change” (The Black Wall Street Times).” I spent last week sweating through a vicious heatwave in Southern California. Miserable is the only way to describe how it feels living in a place where temperatures hover around triple digits all day and into the night, day after day, without air conditioning. (Note, the AC where I’m staying was out for several days.)

Extreme heatwaves, flash floods, ice storms, blizzards, dust storms, brush fires, hurricanes, and tornados are occurring across the U.S. with increased frequency and intensity. The impact of such events on our communities is typically much worse than that experienced by other Americans. Which is why BPM has added climate change to its Open Call priorities this year.

If you, or someone you know, is working on a project that has a climate change theme, we hope you’ll consider submitting it to our Open Call. We welcome nonfiction projects of all types and at all stages of development.

Should you have questions about how to submit a project to the Open Call, we urge you to schedule a Q&A session with BPM Programs Director Denise Greene. She is offering 10-minute consultation appointments this week and next. See the Open Call webpage for details.

We also invite you to consider attending our upcoming Climate Change Black Media Story Summit, which is planned for Sat. Nov. 12, in Houston. Once again BPM is joining forces with the Houston Cinema Arts Society and the Austin Film Society to convene Black media storytellers, scholars, public policymakers, and grass-roots organizers for robust conversations about the types of media stories we need to move policy and community participation in the direction of climate justice.

Details about the Climate Change Story Summit will appear on our website in the coming weeks. This hybrid event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Mark your calendars today.

— Fields-Cruz is the executive director of Black Public Media

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Black Public Media

Black Public Media (BPM) develops, produces, funds, and distributes media content about the African American and global Black experience.