Wisconsin Senate candidate Dem chaired state task force linking racism to climate change
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Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, the state’s Democratic Senate candidate, chaired a government task force on climate change that recommended anti-racism education.
The so-called Climate Change Task Force — which Gov. Tony Evers, D-Wis., created and appointed Barnes to lead in October 2019 — was designed to develop strategies for the state government to continue to fight climate change. Barnes and the other members of the task force delivered a final report more than a year later in December 2020, which outlined 55 solutions to fight global warming and promote “environmental justice”.
“In order to address this crisis and the environmental injustices associated with it, we must take urgent action, and we must ensure that those actions are fair and inclusive – nothing less will continue the long pattern of environmental racism that we witnessed in this country,” Barnes said in a statement after the report was released.
Among its policy recommendations, the task force recommended the implementation of an anti-racism education program in all government entities through executive action and legislation. The task force claimed that racism was linked to climate change.
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“Environmental racism and climate change are inextricably linked because entrenched racism and biases that exist in social, governmental, corporate and financial systems determine who benefits from activities that produce harmful emissions and who suffers the most,” indicates the report.
“Historically, communities of color and low-income communities have suffered the most.”
The report adds that “systemic racism remains embedded in our social structures” and that the historical and racial literacy of the average American is “depressingly weak.” He also suggested using unconscious bias education to prevent future unjust laws.
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Additionally, the task force suggested that the state government should expand its support for adding climate science to its K-12 public school curriculum.
“In order to achieve environmental justice in Wisconsin, government agencies – as well as others, including businesses, nonprofits, foundations, financial institutions, and the education system – must confront racism and the biases that exist within their systems,” the report said.
Other recommendations included creating an Office of Environmental Justice, conducting a racial disparity impact study, and launching an “education campaign” on climate change. The report notes that proposals to divest from fossil fuel investments and ban future oil and gas projects have been discussed but not finalized.
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Barnes, meanwhile, has previously championed critical race theory (CRT), arguing that religious education is more akin to “indoctrination.”
“Many of the same people who are mobilizing against critical race theory on the basis of ‘indoctrination’ are totally on board with tax dollars for religious education,” he tweeted on the 23rd. June 2021. “Make sense.”
CRT refers to a school of thought that broadly aims to study the impact of racism on major societal institutions. Local school districts nationwide have come under heavy criticism over the past year for introducing CRT concepts into K-12 curricula.
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Barnes is running to oust incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in the upcoming November midterm elections. The race is classified as a “toss toss” by Cook Political Report and a recent Fox News poll showed Barnes with a slight lead over Johnson.
Barnes’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment.