Young Leaders Press conference, “Breaking the Green Ceiling”

This morning Got Green held a press conference in front of the King County Juvenile, notorious for destroying the lives of young people of color, fighting for rights and opportunities for our community’s youth. The press conference was focused in particular on green internships and gaps in access to sustainable living alternatives for our urban youth.

Speaking and Performing at the press conference this morning were:

Carlynn Newhouse, Youth Speaks Poet

Rashad Johnson, Poet / Performer

Mo!, Got Green, Program Organizer for the Young Leaders in the Green Economy project

Lylianna Allala, Environmental Professionals of Color (EPOC)

Lisa Chen, Executive Director of Food Empowerment Education Sustainability (FEEST)

Mike O’Brien Seattle City Council Member

Green jobs and internships are vitally important to our society because the world we want to live in will not simply materialize, rather, we must live our lives in such a way as to bring it about and, green jobs and internships are one part of that process. Furthermore, because green internships are socially responsible and engaging, providing them for our urban youth will not only provide sustainable and rewarding alternatives to less desirable activities and outcomes, it will also instruct our youth about how to construct and consume responsibly, and how to utilize and maintain community relationships to build the future we desire while providing the resources and services our city and its people need today.

The Youth are engaged, knowledgeable and making moves to ensure their own futures. And at least some of our elected officials are actively engaged in making resources available for our youth to participate in green internships and thus, benefiting the broader community.

GotGreen? Released a Press Release this morning prior to the press conference:

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 5, 2015

Contact: Murphy Stack, 206.466.7712, murphy@gotgreen.org

New Report finds a “Green” Glass Ceiling for Seattle’s Young Workers of Color

Community Leaders Calling for Green Paid Internships

SEATTLE–Today, Got Green’s “Young Leaders” released a new report that identifies access challenges for young workers of

color who want to pursue “green” career pathways and calls on elected officials and public agencies to invest in paid

internships that can provide an entry into these fields.

The report, “Breaking the Green Ceiling: Investing in Young Workers of Color, Paid Environmental Internships, Career

Pathways,“ is part of Got Green’s Green Pathways Campaign, which advocates for creating more career pathways to

leadership positions for young people of color that will benefit our communities and the environment. The term “green ceiling”

refers to the 16% cap of people of color employed in green fields including, foundations, non-profits, government agencies.

Community partners – Environmental Professionals of Color, Youth Speaks, The Washington Bus, and Food Empowerment

Education Sustainability Team (FEEST) joined Got Green’s Young Leaders to make the announcement outside the King

County Detention Center.

“There’s been a lot of talk lately about income gaps in our region, we need to move from conversations to action,” said Mo!

Avery, Got Green’s Young Leaders Organizer. “The Young Leaders chose the Youth Jail for the press conference to illustrate

where funds that could be used to invest in our youth are actually going. Rather than funding organizations that could train the

youth and give them valuable career skills to help uplift our communities, money is instead being poured into an institution that

often acts as a massive barrier to careers and upward mobility for young people of color.”

According to report findings, in many green industries, unpaid internships have become a replacement for entry-level, paid

jobs. Unpaid internships create significant barriers for many young people of color who often cannot afford to work without

compensation. Instead, young workers of color find minimum wage jobs with no career trajectory and limited employment

skills, making it even more difficult to pursue meaningful work for our communities and environment.

Got Green applauds the Mayor’s recently announced Youth Employment Initiative that will create 2000 new jobs. This is a

move in the right direction that Got Green is working to build off of. Got Green’s recommendations from the report include;

expand the definition and number of “green” paid work experience opportunities which we define as good for the environment

and our communities at the same time; do targeted outreach to young adults of color to increase racial diversity in the

environmental jobs field; develop systems to help young adults move into career pathways.

“Seattle is a leader in climate action, but falls short on equity measures, we risk leaving behind the young adults who can help

us maintain that leadership role tomorrow. The investment in a brighter future and a healthier planet begins with investing in

the empowerment of the youth of color,” said Laurie Torres, Got Green Young Leader.

###”

~GotGreen?

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