Brown Girl Surf is excited to share about the launch of the Ocean Justice Forum! The Ocean Justice Forum is a coalition of 18 grassroots and national nonprofit organizations, including Brown Girl Surf, who are working towards advancing an ocean policy agenda that promotes the goals of economic, racial, climate, and environmental justice.
Brown Girl Surf is proud of our role in ensuring that equitable access to the ocean remains a key policy priority for the Ocean Justice Forum. In California, the public’s access to the ocean is in theory protected by law, however we know that persistent inequities across race, including housing discrimination, intergenerational wealth gaps, and deficits in public transportation, as well as illegal and prohibitive coastal access and permitting systems, have created barriers for people of color to reside and/or engage with coastal areas.
And this is just the case in California. According to a new report by the Center for American Progress, only 10 percent of this country’s coastline is covered by strong legal protections that ensure equitable public access. The other 90 percent is at the whim of private property owners and wealthy coastal developers.
Access isn’t the only thing we’ve been fighting for, however. We also know that Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in coastal communities have been disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis, including rising sea levels and intensifying storms, as well as by pollution, overfishing, and loss of habitat and biodiversity. We have co-created the Ocean Justice policy platform so that systematically marginalized and harmed communities will no longer be deliberately left out of the decisions and actions that directly affect them and their relationship with the ocean.