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.

Ana Zimmerman from Lowcountry Flooded States of America.

Anti flooding rally in Charleston.

Anti flooding rally in Charleston.

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.

Presidential Candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg met with April O'Leary, from Horry County Rising, in Conway, South Carolina. He mentioned her in his speech!

In addition, Susan Lyons and Diane Aghapour from Groundswell Charleston!, traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby their U.S. legislators. Susan was featured in this video by News21.

Susan Lyons and Diane Aghapour in Washington D.C.

Susan Lyons and Diane Aghapour in Washington D.C.


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!

John Johnson, former elected official and long time resident of North Gulfport at a meeting with TEX scientists.

John Johnson, former elected official and long time resident of North Gulfport at a meeting with TEX scientists.

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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.

Members of the    Coalition for Wetlands and Forests    in Staten Island.

Members of the Coalition for Wetlands and Forests in Staten Island.

Finally, here are pictures of just a few of our other intrepid, Higher Ground team members from across the country rallying, protesting and organizing.

Hilton Kelley of    Community In-Power and Development Association    in Port Arthur, TX.

Hilton Kelley of Community In-Power and Development Association in Port Arthur, TX.

Members of    A Community Voice    from New Orleans, LA.

Members of A Community Voice from New Orleans, LA.

A Community Voice also involved the local schools.

A Community Voice also involved the local schools.

 
Kevin and Irma McKinney from the    Flood Victims of Richwood   , Texas .

Kevin and Irma McKinney from the Flood Victims of Richwood, Texas.

Camille Hadley (left) of    Little Growers    in Melbourne, FL, and members of her family, with State Representative Randy Fine (in blue t-shirt).

Camille Hadley (left) of Little Growers in Melbourne, FL, and members of her family, with State Representative Randy Fine (in blue t-shirt).

Nick DeStefano, resident of Pequannock, NJ describing how he helped secure federal funds to get homes elevated.

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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.