Economic & Environmental Justice

Making sure our communities have a safe, clean environment is crucial to the advancement and integration of immigrant and refugee communities in America. Unfortunately, immigrant and refugee communities, along with communi.ties of color, tend to be more adversely affected by air pollution, water contamination, climate change, and other environmental factors that can cause poor health outcomes. Often, the communities that shoulder the worst of this burden have contributed the least to cause the issue.

Solutions to climate change, pollution, and other environmental issues have traditionally excluded the voices of communities of color, and have not taken into account the needs of diverse communities. By building power in immigrant and refugee communities and building a space for their voices to be heard in policy discussions, OneAmerica is working to provide environmental justice for all

What we’re doing:

Our Climate & Environment

Addressing climate change and making sure our communities have a safe, clean environment is crucial to the advancement and integration of immigrant and refugee communities in America.  Solutions to climate change, pollution, and other environmental issues have traditionally excluded the voices of communities of color, and have not taken into account the needs of diverse communities. By building power in immigrant and refugee communities and building a space for their voices to be heard in policy discussions, OneAmerica is working to provide environmental justice for all.

A partnership called Front and Centered, consisting of OneAmerica, Puget Sound Sage, Washington Community Action Network, Got Green, the A

OneAmerica Vancouver Organizer Glicerio speaks about the effects of oil trains on the community.

sian Pacific Islander Coalition, El Centro de la Raza, Climate Solutions, Community to Community, and the Latino Community Fund created the Principles for Climate Justice [pdf], a groundbreaking guide to carbon pricing policy that is racially and economically equitable.

OneAmerica is also a founding partner of the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy, a broad coalition of labor, environmental, faith, and racial equity organizations dedicated to finding equitable solutions to climate change in Washington State, in the legislature and at the ballot box.

And we’ve contributed to major victories along the way:

  • Statewide policies to ensure translation of emergency notification, such as would occur in the event of a wildfire, flood, earthquake, or other disaster, to ensure that everyone is notified when disaster strikes.
  • OneAmerica, as part of the Stand Up to Oil campaign, prevented the construction of the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal at the Port of Vancouver in Washington State.  The terminal would have led to increased carbon emissions while also subjecting low-income communities of color to reduced air quality increased noise pollution, and the acute threats of oil spills and deadly explosions.
  • As part of the Farmworker Coalition, OneAmerica has also driven local campaigns to address the impacts of pesticides on workers and communities.
  • As part of Transit for All, OneAmerica helped to create ORCA Lift, a regional low-income transit fare and national model and we won tens of billions of dollars in new investments in transportation projects to connect communities to jobs, to reduce carbon pollution and to spur equitable community development.

Wages & Opportunity

OneAmerica also played a central role in some of the most significant campaigns in the nation to improve wages and working conditions for low wage workers, including:

  • The first $15/hour minimum wage in the nation in the City of SeaTac
  • The $15/hour minimum wage in the City of Seattle
  • The nation’s highest statewide minimum wage, which also included a statewide paid sick and safe leave policy for Washington’s working families.

OneAmerica has also played a critical role in the growing movement toward community workforce agreements and targeted priority hire strategies to connect residents of low-income communities in the Puget Sound Region to training and job opportunities that have too often overlooked the talents and potential of immigrants, refugees, women and other people of color.