On Friday April 16, United students and professor Dr. Justin Sabia-Tanis attended a virtual call with a staff member from Rep. Betty McCullom's office, coordinated by Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light. The meeting included more than 60 faith leaders from St. Paul calling for strong federal action on the environment and climate justice. Student Stephani Pescitelli read a statement that the students wrote. Video below:
Transcript of the speech:
Hello and thank you to Josh and everyone for showing up for this important conversation.
My name is Stephani Pescitelli and I am here on behalf of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities--a learning community based in St. Paul just east of the Mississippi off of I-94.
While we represent a very diverse range of beliefs, backgrounds, and faiths, each of our wisdom traditions calls us to the same truth:
In this reality of climate change, healing the separation between each other, to the land and waters, and our histories represent the most important existential and ethical challenges to our collective wellbeing in our time.
These Climate Crisis challenges are soul-deep, and their solutions must be, too.
It’s clear from Rep. McCollum’s commitment to protection of natural areas that your office understands the importance of right relationship to the land as a foundation for flourishing.
As emerging spiritual leaders and your constituents in District 4, we urge you to take bold action on this commitment by fighting for Biden’s green infrastructure plan in Congress, and specifically ensuring funds are available for climate action projects that center racial justice and BIPOC leadership.
One example of this kind of project that is close to our hearts and our school is the proposal for the Rondo Land Bridge:
This bridge would reconnect a historically black neighborhood devastated by the construction of 94 in the ‘60s, and at the same time offer green jobs, housing, and parks that sequester carbon and provide access to green space.
Bold, creative projects like The Rondo Land Bridge imagine a world where racial reparations, climate action, and economic vitality are part of the same landscape.
We urge you to join us--the students of United Seminary, in making this vision possible in neighborhoods here and across the country by making sure this federal plan can reach its full potential for bridging separation and building a racially and environmentally just future for all.
--we sincerely thank you for your time and attention today.