September 2019. Members of Higher Ground are on the front line of the growing effort to radically reorient national priorities to confront the environmental and climate crisis. Despite the personal challenges they face – damaged property or homelessness, rising insurance costs, family debt, physical illness and emotional stress -- they have organized and protested to stop flooding, slow global warming and fight environmental injustice.
This summer members participated in our United Flooded States of America campaign, bombarding local, state and national politicians with videos, photographs, emails and postcards, that documents the flooding that plagues many communities and often goes unaddressed. Here are some of their achievements:
In Charleston, SC, members of Lowcountry Flooded States of America, unveiled our United Flooded States of America banner at a public hearing to protest their city's continuing push to develop in flood prone areas.
They went on to host a rally, in partnership with the Concerned Citizens of Johns Island, and Johns Island Progressive Club, attended by state senators, city council members, the mayor from a neighboring town, and four of the five candidates for Charleston mayor. The event was covered by Charleston City Paper, ABCNews4, and Live5News.
Also in flood-ravaged South Carolina, April O’Leary, of Horry County Rising, hosted a United Flooded States of America spaghetti dinner, and produced two videos and 12 Facebook Live educational forums, tagging in key state politicians. She and other SC environmental justice advocates have spoken about flooding with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke.
In Gulfport, MS, Katherine Egland, co-founder of the environmental justice nonprofit, EEECHO is helping two historically renowned African American communities fight commercial development on a vital, adjacent wetland. Aa matched her with a scientific team through our partnership with the Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) of the America Geophysical Union., and found her an ace, pro bono lawyer (Professor Desiree Hensley from the University of Mississippi) to go on the offensive. Watch here for updates!
In the borough of Staten Island, New York, Gabriella Velardi Ward of the Coalition for Wetlands and Forests hosted a public forum on climate change and flooding. Her group is fighting commercial development that threatens to flood residents and destroy a sensitive wetland that is home for endangered turtles. (Yay turtles!) Campaign members sent over 1,700 letters of protest to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and earned the support of Congressman Max Rose. See the media coverage in Curbed, Crain’s, the Gothamist, SiLive and City Limits.
Finally, here are pictures of just a few of our other intrepid, Higher Ground team members from across the country rallying, protesting and organizing.
April O'Leary (Horry County Rising) at a rally for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Ana Zimmerman (Lowcountry Flooded States of America, Charleston) with Bernie Saunders.