As NCRP begins to build its climate justice and just transition (CJJT) movement investment project work, we recognize and honor the intersecting paths of this work across a number of existing frontline communities.  

This Asian American and Pacific Islander [Asian immigrant refugee] Month, we are excited to be sharing expertise from Filipino-American climate justice frontline leader and Co-Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Christine Cordero. In this first of a series of three blog posts, NCRP’s Senior Movement Engagement Associate for Climate Justice, Senowa Mize-Fox sits down with Christine to discuss the connection between narrative change and organizing and why it’s such a key part of APEN’s strategy in bringing about a healthier planet for all and a regenerative economy.     

Senowa Mize-Fox: Christine, you come into this role at APEN deeply rooted in narrative strategy and change work, could you elaborate on why this is so important to building power on the frontlines? In Asian immigrant refugee communities specifically?  

Christine Cordero: Narrative strategy is important only inasmuch as you have the organizing strategy, the people, and infrastructure to carry it out. Why is narrative strategy  important for building power on the frontlines? Because when it comes to climate and environmental issues, these things feel really, really big. Often people’s entry point into climate is either individual action or all the ways we are going to die. Neither of those things actually lead to what we need, which is systemic solutions and collective action.  

So, the power of narrative strategy is about how you tell the story. Not just the story about the things we are fighting against, but also the things we are building towards. For example, what would it actually look like to live in a world based on a regenerative economy that works for all people?    

 Historically, BIPOC communities have been the environmental justice sacrifice zones for an economy that benefits a few people at the expense of our lives and our health. For Asian immigrant refugee communities, this is a narrative that you don’t often hear—at least in the US. However, when you do this work, you start to understand the bigger picture around these extractions. Whole regimes created war, colonialism, and imperialism to extract the resources of resource-rich places, which for a lot of Asian immigrant communities were our ancestral homelands. War was made there to facilitate economic extraction and exploitation.   

Read the full article about immigrant refugee communities and climate action by  Senowa Mize-Fox at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.