“Flood of Voices” Block Party brings Activists and Community Together to Spread Awareness about Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Hampton Roads Region

Innovative gathering bring music, art, and education to community to call for climate action, urge Virginia leaders to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Today, environmental advocacy groups hosted a first-of-its-kind block party in King Lincoln Park aimed at spreading awareness about sea level rise and climate change. Residents from the Hampton Roads region joined for a fun party where art, music, and games were creatively used to tell the story of how climate change impacts the region.

“As the current EPA and Presidential administrations push back on historic accomplishments made by those who have done the work before us,” said BeKura W. Shabazz First Alliance Consulting Group & Field Organizer, Federal Climate Action State Lead, Virginia Conservation Network, “we continue to forage forward fighting to protect those environmental protections that we have come to realize encompass more than just nature, we must stay the course and strong by uniting through the commonalities that make us human.”

Hampton Roads is the second-most populated area in the United States vulnerable to sea level rise. Flooding is predicted to increase six more inches by the year 2030. This means six more inches of water on the roads when it rains, causing far more neighborhoods to enter the floodplain.

“The disparity between environmental justice and social justice diminishes with every event, like the Flood of Voices Block Party, that is held in the community,” said Kiquanda Baker, Hampton Roads Organizer, Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “It’s past time we make the connection that environmental injustices affect minority communities the most. Remember, when we fight for the environment, we fight for ourselves.”

“Flood of Voices” is a storytelling series created to amplify the voices of those directly affected by flooding and rising tides, especially those whose voices aren’t normally heard. Our most vulnerable communities are among the first to experience the effects from climate change, and too often, the last to know what they can do about it. Ranging from coal dust pollution to coastal flooding, these communities are left to deal with the impacts of climate change simply because they are not given the chance to take preventative action. Flood of Voices hopes to not only amplify the voices of the unheard but also to educate our communities on how to take action.

“The effects of environmental racism throughout the years has contributed to the decline in mental health, public safety, and economic opportunity in communities of color,” said said LaTonya Wallace, community activist and field manager for Virginia Civic Engagement Table. “Poor air, water, and land quality in these communities have led to many learning and comprehension disabilities leading to students doing poorly in school. It can also increase the occurrences of natural disasters such as nuisance flooding, heavily polluted air, and land subsidence which can deter businesses from wanting to start up in heavily polluted communities of color which leads to weak, unstable economies. It’s time to take action.”

Virginia now has the opportunity to make major moves on climate while accessing millions of dollars in funding for coastal adaptation to protect our communities. By joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state cap-and-trade program, Virginia could unlock crucial funds for adaptation measures throughout Virginia while guaranteeing long-term reductions in carbon emissions in a way that is proven cost-effective. Read more about RGGI here.

“We need to work together with our leaders to make decisions that are beneficial for everyone,” said said Ann Creasy, Hampton Roads Outreach Coordinator, Chesapeake Bay Group Sierra Club. “Community members can promote and hold their elected officials accountable on environmental issues by joining programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Encourage your local governments to make decisions that put us on the path to one hundred percent clean energy by 2050.”

The Flood of Voices Block Party aimed to spread awareness to the local community on the climate change issues that impact Hampton Roads and local neighborhoods. From fossil fuel pollution to sea level rise, attendees danced, sang, and otherwise artistically expressed their concerns on climate change impacts.

The event was coordinated by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Mothers Out Front Hampton Roads, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, York River Group Sierra Club, First Alliance Consulting LLC, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Chesapeake Bay Group Sierra Club, and the Virginia Conservation Network.

CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org; 608-620-8819
Quan Baker, Hampton Roads Coordinator, quan@chesapeakeclimate.org, 757-918-0588

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