By Jimena Jimenez
Volunteer with MN350's Green New Deal Narrative Team

Climate justice encapsulates more than working against climate change. Working toward sustainability must not only be about the environment, but about protecting the people in our community as well.

The city of Minneapolis owes its vibrancy to the hard work and dedication of countless individuals who put in the physical labor to build it. Unfortunately, there are many of these same individuals who are not provided with the necessary protections or compensation to live and feel secure in the same community they’ve built.

David Francisco Moreno is a painter and member of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha/Center for Workers United in Struggle (CTUL). David has experienced months of wage theft while working in an industry that exposes him to hazardous chemicals without proper protection. Sadly, his story is not unique. CTUL has seen unregulated corporations exploit both people and the environment through practices that lead to environmental degradation while violating human rights.

CTUL is a worker-led organization that represents numerous low-wage workers, primarily from Black and Brown neighborhoods in Minneapolis, who are fighting for their rights. They’ve witnessed firsthand the adverse impact of such practices on marginalized communities. Addressing climate justice requires acknowledging that environmental degradation and social inequality are problems that go hand in hand.

Low-income neighborhoods, which due to systemic economic injustice are often predominantly inhabited by people of color, often deal with the disproportionate burdens of pollution and environmental hazards. These communities face heightened exposure to air and water pollution, greater impacts of climate change, and poor housing insulation and regulations, all of which worsen existing social and economic disparities.

To build a truly sustainable and equitable Minneapolis, the Climate & Equity Plan must incorporate principles of climate justice like those CTUL fights for and protect workers like David. Read David and CTUL‘s full stories – as part of MN350’s Stories from the Green New Deal series – to learn more about their work in making the future sustainable for all.


Jimena Jimenez is an electrical engineering student at the University of Minnesota. Volunteering with MN350 has exposed her to the often-overlooked impacts of industries in the local community and environment in Minneapolis. Motivated by these new perspectives, Jimena aims to enhance her skills in policy and science communication to empower community members with knowledge and awareness key to driving sustainable innovation and climate justice.