The Labor Network for Sustainability helped to organize and participated in a series of Green New Deal Town Halls across the state of New Jersey this spring. Working with the Sunrise Movement, SEIU 32BJ, the Sierra Club, BlueWave NJ, and ForwardNotBack, a pro-worker, pro-social justice vision for a climate-safe future was brought to crowds from Highland Park to Neptune to Newark.

At the 32BJ union hall in Newark, union members from the property service union were joined by climate activists, environmental justice activists, and community members to hear about why their union became one of the first to endorse the Green New Deal resolution. “We’re holding this town hall to show that New Jerseyans are serious in their support for the Green New Deal,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ SEIU vice president and New Jersey state director.

Brown said that the labor and climate justice movements are closely connected, and collaboration between the two is an important step toward addressing inequities that New Jersey’s working people face as a result of climate change. LNS Convergence Steering Committee Member, Todd Vachon, said: “The Labor Network for Sustainability is dedicated to making a living on a living planet and the Green New Deal lays out a bold vision for having both good jobs and a healthy environment, not just one or the other.”

The crowds, ranging in size from 50 to over 150 were overwhelmingly supportive of the Green New Deal and wanted to hear more about it and how they could get involved. “Join an organization like one of the ones hosting today’s event,” replied Jeff Tittle of the Sierra Club. “Get out and vote for candidates that will address the climate crisis,” said Ed Potosnak, Director of the NJ League of Conservation voters. “Speak to your friends, family and co-workers about it. If you are in a union, speak with your shop steward and union leadership about it,” said Vachon.

These town hall events corresponded with the “Road to a Green New Deal” speaking tour organized by The Sunrise Movement which concluded earlier this month. If you are interested in organizing a town hall in your local area and are looking for some materials, LNS is happy to help out—just send us an email!

Rev. Ronald Tuff of Green Faith, New Jersey welcomes attendees to the Green New Deal Town Hall at SEIU 32BJ’s office in Newark, NJ. Headsets with translation into Spanish were provided for non-English speaking attendees.