LEAD workshop
(Image credit: Foundation For Louisiana LEAD: Baton Rouge video)

In coastal Louisiana, rising seas and heavier rainfall can flood homes and neighborhoods.

From the 9th ward of New Orleans to towns along the bayous, low-income communities of color face some of the greatest threats, but they are often excluded from conversations about climate policy.

“They are seeing the impacts but may not have the jargon or specific language and tools that decision-makers are using,” says Caressa Chester of the Foundation for Louisiana.

The foundation offers a leadership development program called LEAD the Coast. Participants learn the science of global warming and how it is having local impacts. They discuss how race, power, and privilege influence policy, and they join a supportive community of new leaders.

“It offers them a space to share information, sharpen skills, exchange knowledge, and build pathways to leadership roles and positions,” Chester says.

She says some participants have gone on to form nonprofits in their communities, and one even testified before Congress about the impacts of climate change.

“So they are equipped with all of the knowledge and information possible in order to be as effective as possible,” she says, “and to build their own power and confidence in having those conversations.”

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Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.