Union of Justice – European POC Climate Justice Network
In our series of interviews with Culture of Solidarity Fund grantees, meet the union of justice and their project European POC Climate Justice Network:
The European POC Climate Justice Network will revive a culture of solidarity to unite, create and build a vibrant network of European POC (people of colour) activists, groups and changemakers who focus/work on climate justice. This network will facilitate training, collaboration, mentoring, and capacity-building support, including education around democracy, democratic participation, and democratic change. They will also help encourage networking through a digital platform, campaigns, events and outreach work. They will run a mentorship scheme for budding activists from across Europe. The network will also guide members through their projects from conception to completion, amplify their ideas and campaigns, and celebrate their achievements and wins.
We interviewed Magid Magid, the lead on the project, and we dived into how the project will contribute to making Europe an open and shared public space for everyone and more.
Who are you, and what made you think of the project?
My name is Magid, and I’m the lead on the European POC Climate Justice Network. I always had this project in mind, and it was something I’ve always wanted to do since January 2020, and on the back of Brexit and happening. I realised that now more than ever, we really need to have a closer relationship with Europe and our closest neighbours, especially on issues with no borders, such as the climate crisis and migration.
I was fortunate enough to work in the European parliament, and I created a network of people I worked with across Europe. I was able to utilise that and make sure that the issues that I care about the most can be highlighted. So with the climate crisis, there’s a clear and crucial connection between both climate and race. We can’t talk about the climate crisis without recognising that it is also an inequality and race issue. I felt that now more than ever, do we really need to tackle this.
The people suffering the most from the climate crisis are the people in the global South. So when we say, ‘we need to protect our future’ for a lot of people (global South), it’s the present that needs to be protected. We need to look at the climate crisis on a global and pan European scale. Even in the UK and all across Europe, the people who suffer the most from the climate crisis and air pollution are the Black and brown communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the deep inequality in society and highlighted what many of us say that ‘we are only as secure as the most vulnerable amongst us’. So it was through a point of reflection that I thought with the way things were going that I thought that it is a great opportunity to really get this project off the ground and make something of it.
What will your project contribute to Europe post-corona?
The climate crisis isn’t going to go away. Therefore this network is always going to be there post Corona. If anything, by educating people and mentoring other people and sharing those skills, the network will only get stronger. Hopefully, when we’re living in a post-Corona world, there’ll be more opportunities for having physical events and doing a lot more because, of course, a lot of things are quite limited at the moment.
How do you envision it to grow from local to pan European?
We will build out the network and bring in as many different people across Europe to be involved in the process. Through working with European NGOs on climate and connecting with groups of campaigners in the past and online we will already be able to do a quite a lot in terms of growing from local to pan European due to the amazing actors and groups that we are already connected to across Europe.
And – finally – how does your project help to make Europe an open and shared public space for everyone?
The project helps to make Europe an open and shared public space by bringing people together from across Europe and by working together with different colleagues and individuals across Europe. This will make those involved in the network feel like we are all Europeans working towards the common goal against the climate crisis.