By: Isaiah Robinson
HOUSTON — Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore kicked off the “Vote your Future: Vote Climate” campaign at Texas Southern University Wed., Feb. 19, as part of a rally to bring awareness to environmental justice.
The event included a roundtable discussion with media and a meeting with the TSU Student Government Association (SGA). There was also a rally which included Gore and the “Father of Environmental Justice,” Dr. Robert Bullard, a voter registration fair and a MOVE Texas Party at the Polls with free pizza, games, music, photo booth and giveaways.
“Vote your Future: Vote Climate” is a national campaign by Gore and the Climate Reality Action Fund to drive voter registration and rally support for climate action in the lead-up to the 2020 elections.
During the roundtable discussion, Gore highlighted the need for youth to get involved, emphasizing their votes do count, the importance of environmental justice and the need to increase the number of climate voters.
After the roundtable discussion and meeting with the SGA, the rally began bringing forth a fun, vibrant and informative atmosphere encouraging students about the need to vote and informing them about the climate crisis
“It’s important that we as African American communities stay active and remain involved in environmental justice,” said Dr. Jacqueline Smith, member of the NAACP—Houston Environmental Climate Justice Committee.
The distinguished professor introduced Gore and noted the importance young black Americans to be the next leaders.
“African Americans are the front line of climate impact and we need to have the leaders to do it,” Bullard said. “Here at TSU, we are training young people to fill in that.”
In fact, the reason the former vice president kicked off his campaign drive at TSU is because of his longtime mentorship and friendship with Bullard.
Gore gave his speech about the importance of the young Americans to vote, climate issues in Houston, Texas, global warming pollution, issues of race and environmental injustice and highlighted the need of saving our democracy to solve the climate crisis.
“The connection between environmental injustice and the climate crisis at large, is the fact that minorities and those in poverty or underserved communities are far more likely to be a victim of environmental injustice and harm not only is the Unites States, but everywhere in the world,” Gore said.
When asked about Texas HBCU’s like TSU being underfunded, he said Historically Black Colleges and Universities should be adequately funded and are “an extremely valuable resource for the country and the world.”
Gore also spoke on the value of HBCUs and the notable scholars who’ve attended historically black colleges.
“The facts speak louder than any prejudice can possibly command.” Gore said.