Connecting with Catholics (in Spanish!)
By Juan Rios, with Valentina Harmanz, Abigail Lane, and Gaby Perez
Climate change affects everyone, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby endeavors to engage people from all backgrounds and sectors of our society in advocating for climate solutions. However, despite our ever-growing Spanish resource pages, Latinx membership is still under-represented in CCL.
So, we created the Latinx Catholic Outreach Team, a subset of CCL’s Catholic Action Team. The overall team uses Catholic Social Teaching on Care for Creation to educate and activate Catholics on global warming and putting a price on carbon. Our particular team brings that type of outreach to the Spanish-speaking community.
This effort is done in partnership with the Diversity Action Team to increase the participation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) within CCL. Our primary objective in assisting the Diversity Team is to establish effective internal communications between Hispanic members, many of whom are Catholic. Statistically, 77% of Latino Catholics understand that earth’s warming is caused by human activity. Hence they are an important group to mobilize to assist with climate advocacy. Although we have been targeting Spanish Catholic audiences, we also want to reach out to all Latinx communities regardless of faith affiliation.
Presentations and social posts
Our main activities to date have been scheduling and presenting faith-based presentations tied to Pope Francis’ messaging and CCL’s carbon pricing solution. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all presentations have been virtual. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, also known as On Care for Our Common Home, lays out the urgent need to take action on climate change. In the encyclical, Pope Francis critiques western consumerism and environmental degradation. In our presentations, we tie that to the characteristics of a good climate solution that is in line with Catholic social teaching. We also discuss how CCL’s Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act can help restore communities already impacted by climate change via the dividend, which tends to be beneficial to the poor (in other words, not regressive).
Check out an example of our presentations here:
We are also in the process of trying to improve CCL’s Spanish presence on Twitter and Facebook and in other Spanish-language outlets. The underlying inspiration is the tie to Pope Francis’ message to create a more livable world for everyone. We want to spread this message to the Spanish-speaking population while increasing the Latinx voice within CCL and beyond.
You can support our outreach
If you’d like to help with this type of outreach, get started by checking out some of our group’s resources. Valentina and I have made introductory videos on our support for Laudato Si to motivate Latinos/as to take action. One of our group’s founders, Steven Coleman, has written a booklet on the “Catholic’s Response to Global Warming” that is available in both English and Spanish—a helpful starting point for parishes and individuals. Our Google Drive, accessible through CCL Community, contains a wealth of resources.
Another way to help is to share the recordings in this post with friends to help spread the word about our group. We are looking for other energetic Latinos/as to help spread the word about creating a more livable world for everyone.
We are also always on the lookout for presentation opportunities for our speakers. Whether you speak Spanish or not, if you have connections to the Spanish-speaking Catholic community or have an interest in reaching out to people with this background, your input is welcome! You can assist us by setting up a live Zoom presentation within your local community or by hosting a screening of one of our recorded presentations. Reach out to myself (Juan Rios) or Roger Ingersoll through our team on CCL Community to get started.