We first learned about “Just Recovery” from our movement allies in the Gulf South; they coined the term during Hurricane Harvey recovery coordinating calls convened by Bryan Parras. They saw that top-down, charitable giving often misses the people who are most in need of assistance and ignores the leadership of those who have been organizing for justice long before the storm hit.
For us, Just Recovery is about an intentional focus on equity and access, about directly supporting and prioritizing grassroots groups working at the intersection of racial, economic and environmental justice. Through a Just Recovery approach, frontline organizations are driving the process to address the most pressing concerns of under-resourced areas while strengthening their organizational capacity to win on long-term campaigns. It is about solidarity, not charity.
A Just Recovery also demands that we hold accountable the corporate and governmental bad actors that are contributing to climate disruption and perpetuating environmental racism. We recognize that superstorms like Hurricane Florence are the result of a broken economic and political system that dismisses the reality of climate change and continues with business as usual. Such climate disasters amplify systemic harms and therefore require systemic solutions.