After a missed flight connection and a 5 1/2 hour drive from Houston, Bayou Grace Environmental Outreach Volunteer Coordinator, Diane Huhn, is glad to be back on the bayou after an exciting advocacy trip to Washington, DC. Diane joined twelve fellow Gulf Coast advocates involved in the Equity and Inclusion Campaign to advocate for issues related to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster ranging from short- and long-term ecosystem restoration to ensuring proper outreach to limited English proficient residents to adequate support for on-the-ground non-profits to a fair and transparent claims process.
Advocates met with a wide array of federal officials and congressional members including staff of Senators Kerry, Carper, Landrieu, Boxer and Dorgan and Representatives Cao and Melancon. The team also met with staff from the Council on Environmental Quality, Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce, FEMA, Homeland Security, Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the office of the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. And as a former Michigander, Diane was particularly excited by a guest appearance by the second most senior member of the House of Representatives, John Conyers, during a meeting with House Committee on the Judiciary staff. It was indeed a busy few days as the team also held briefings for the Natural Resources Committee and Energy and Commerce Subcommittees.
The Equity and Inclusion Campaign is a nonpartisan coalition of local, regional and national activists, organizations and community members advocating for structural solutions to confront persistent poverty and inequity across the three Gulf Coast states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The vision for the Equity and Inclusion Campaign is to establish sustainable Gulf Coast communities characterized by economic, social and environmental fairness. The Campaign is working to effect systemic change so that all people are included, valued and empowered. The Equity and Inclusion Campaign’s primary activity is coordinated policy advocacy at the federal level to ensure an appropriate level of resources and attention for an equitable and inclusive Gulf Coast recovery. The Campaign has sponsored multiple legislative trips to Washington, D.C. where scores of community members and advocates including the Bayou Grace team have met with Members of Congress, Administration officials and their staff.
Bayou Grace continues to serve as an guiding voice in the Equity and Inclusions’ Environment and Infrastructure Working Group and looks forward to future advocacy opportunities with the campaign. If you would like to get involved in the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, please visit www.equityandinclusion.org.