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One person can make a sustainable difference; but an individual’s measurable impact is diluted if he, she, or they attempts to focus on more issues than they can handle.

While there’s many issues that matter to me, I’m focusing my energy on two of them–racism and climate change–and harnessing my mindfulness practices, writing, coaching, reading, relationships, pro bono work, financial investments and, ultimately, activism to help drive meaningful policy changes.

Systemic Racism: I’m especially concerned about policies that drive systemic discrimination against Black people in the shape of disproportionate COVID-19 infections and impacts; inequitable voting access; inequitable criminal justice actions and mass incarceration; inequitable economic impacts and employment opportunities; and excessive use of police force,. 

Climate Change: I want to influence policy changes that help the U.S. contribute to reversing the shift in global or regional climate patterns, occurring from the mid-to-late 20th Century onward, attributed largely to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. This includes our nation rejoining the 2015 Paris Agreement delineating emissions reduction targets for 2030 and 2050.

Systemic racism and accelerating climate change interact, reinforce, and strengthen each other. Racist policies and practices continue, as they’ve done for more than 400 years, to drive and fund governmental and capitalistic endeavors that marginalize people of color. These same individuals are, therefore, more at risk than the rest of the U.S. population to the destruction, disease, and increased poverty that follows severe weather and severe weather events caused by climate change.

Black women, standing at the intersection of racism, patriarchy, and climate change, receive a double-hit and Black transsexual women take a triple-hit.

I think a lot about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assertion that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Conversely, I think that addressing one systemic injustice can have an indirect, positive impact on other inequities.

This includes gender and LGBTQ equity: the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender or gender identification, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations and needs equally, regardless of gender or gender identification. Women still earn less money on average than men, despite being just as qualified (if not more qualified) for various professional roles. Too many women and members of the LGBTQ community are still victims of violence and abuse. Too many do not have adequate health care coverage. And reproductive rights are constantly under attack by conservatives.

Although racism and climate change are the primary focus areas for my activism, on my blog I regularly write about gender and LGBTQ equity and several other topics that address the quality of life for all people. I hope you find some of this content helpful.

 

John M. DeMarco is a writer, strategist, and executive coach based in Nashville, Tennessee.