On October 18, 2016, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) held Climate Victory 2016 night. At the event, the non-profit, non-partisan organization Hip Hop Caucus and its President and CEO Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. took home the prestigious Climate Leadership Award for activism around climate change. The organization stimulates civic and electoral activism among young voters via culture and hip-hop music to inspire social change and environmental protections.
People’s Climate Music is helping to expand the climate movement by organizing diverse and influential artists to create music and culture that inspire action “to solve the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced – climate change.” The various organizations leading People’s Climate Music include 350.org, Avaaz, NRDC, and Sierra Club.
Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr., president and CEO, accepted the award on behalf of the Hip Hop Caucus.
“The Hip Hop Caucus is extremely honored to receive the 2016 Climate Victory Award from the prestigious League of Conservation Voters. For the past decade, we have fought for justice by working to solve climate change at the international, national, and local levels. We continue to educate communities about the importance of climate justice and demand legislation that ensures every person is provided with clean air, water, and even street corners. We are committed to a sustainable future, particularly in underserved communities of color.”
Hip Hop Caucus has four organizational goals:
- Community Organizing: To organize 14 – 40 year-olds, who identify with Hip Hop Culture, and share values of justice, equality, and opportunity.
- Grassroots Leadership Development: To provide leadership training and real-world civic leadership opportunities for cultural influencers at the grassroots level.
- Communicate to Large Audiences: Through partnerships with artists, celebrities, and media, to drive narratives about important issues through cultural channels reaching millions of people.
- Cultivate and Promote Thought Leadership: To source solutions for local to global challenges from our communities and advocate for them to decision makers and influencers.
Erin Rogers of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation presented the award to the Hip Hop Caucus. The annual event also featured a musical performance by Grammy Award nominee, climate activist Antonique Smith and remarks by Senator Charles E. Schumer (NY).
Schumer spoke about the important work that the LCV does to confront “the most challenging environmental issues of our time – from global warming to reducing toxins in the air and water to preserving open space.” He thanked LCV for their commitment to a cleaner, healthier planet and vowed to continue to use his Congressional influence to fight for resources and push for policies that will “help safeguard our planet for another generation.”
The Work of the League of Conservation Voters
LCV works to turn environmental values into national, state, and local priorities. The organization collaborates with partners and advocates for sound environmental laws and policies, holds elected officials accountable for their votes and actions, and elects pro-environment candidates who will champion priority issues. LCV President Gene Karpinski acknowledged the important work that the Hip Hop Caucus contributes to the environmental action community.
“We must remain vigilant and lead on actions to curb climate change with an all-hands-on-deck approach. Here we celebrate Rev. Yearwood and the communities of color and champions helping us engage diverse stakeholders, open paths for our youth to be the climate leaders of tomorrow. Together, we’ll make sure our politicians truly feel this movement’s heartbeat. They need to hear the voices of the people who are on the front lines of the climate fight, experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand.”
The award was held at LCV’s 14th Annual New York Dinner at the Hilton Midtown’s Trianon Ballroom with an estimated 200 LCV members in attendance.
Photo Credit: Hip Hop Caucus