In the ongoing pursuit of genuine environmental justice, the Environmental Justice League proudly stands as a voice for primarily Black residents facing air quality challenges. Recognizing the vital importance of prioritizing our communities in the transition to a cleaner economy, we wholeheartedly support Assembly Bill 2465 (AB 2465).

AB 2465 spotlights a critical aspect of environmental justice – equity. It addresses the disparities experienced by socially disadvantaged groups and nonprofit organizations, particularly those led by people of color. These groups often grapple with smaller budgets, limited staffing, and less funding compared to their counterparts led by white individuals.

AB 2465 aims to rectify the modern-day redlining exclusion. Diverse-led organizations, despite their invaluable contributions, are systematically excluded from traditional grant processes. This results in them receiving less funding with more restrictive conditions, perpetuating a cycle of inequality that AB 2465 seeks to break.

The bill recognizes that change starts from within. AB 2465 mandates certain state agencies to implement equity in specific grant programs where people of color and diverse-led organizations are underrepresented or absent. By introducing preference points for these organizations during the grant application evaluation process, the bill aims to uplift projects sponsored by people of color in communities designed to serve them.

Crucially, AB 2465 doesn’t require the State of California to allocate additional funding or divert resources from existing programs. Instead, it represents a visionary step toward acknowledging and rectifying historic harms. By encouraging the state to lead by example, AB 2465 positions California as a trailblazer in building capacity among communities that have endured discrimination.

In conclusion, AB 2465 is a beacon of hope for environmental justice, ensuring that the transition to a cleaner and more equitable future involves everyone. As proponents of this vital legislation, we look forward to witnessing the positive impact it will have on the empowerment of Black, Brown, AAPI, Native American, and Women-led organizations to better serve their communities.