Media company launches 12-month climate campaign

Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Black-owned media company SmileyAudioMedia is set to launch a new $2 million, 12-month-long climate campaign aimed at empowering communities of color, among other goals, it was announced Jan. 12.

SmileyAudioMedia’s flagship L.A.-based radio station, KBLA Talk 1580, will lead the effort in collaboration with public and private partners such as the ar, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port of Los Angeles, CalEndow, California Community Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Other partners are expected to be announced later on during the campaign.

“The harsher impacts of climate change weigh heavily on communities of color,” Tavis Smiley, KBLA’s chief visionary officer, host of the nationally syndicated “Tavis Smiley Show,” said in a statement. “In these underserved communities, families are less likely to have air conditioning, shade trees, bus shelters, water and energy effective appliances and other infrastructure that’s critical to mitigate a changing climate.”

A news conference was held at the MLK Memorial Tree Grove inside Kenneth Hahn State Park, offering more insight on the climate initiative.

The Climate Justice Campaign aims to center the voices of communities of color in the climate conversation, connect at-risk fellow citizens with advocacy organizations, increase climate health literacy and highlight frontline climate justice advocates of color.

During the next 12 months, there will be a robust schedule of climate-themed broadcasts and special programming, as well as four free community events per quarter, two town halls broadcast nationally from Los Angeles, and a social media and marketing campaign, according to the statement.

Going Public PR, a Black-owned and female-owned communications and branding agency, will lead the coordination of the events.

“As the most ‘trusted, credible and reliable’ media source in Southern California for African Americans and beyond, our talk station is committed to do more than just talk in these troubled times,” Smiley added. “There is a clear connection between Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s moral consistence on the notion of reverence for human life or the interconnected nature of life and the future of our world house.”

He continued to say that on this MLK holiday weekend, “KBLA assigns itself the task of elevating the climate conversation by amplifying the voices of those who are most impacted by the climate catastrophes we are all witnessing in real time. In a real sense, climate is king.”

“LADWP is a proud partner in this climate justice campaign, and it perfectly complements the numerous climate equity initiatives we already have underway,” Martin Adams, general manager of the department, said in a statement.

“From our Project Powerhouse program that facilitates the building of affordable housing by absorbing costs and expediting project approvals, to our Powered by Equity initiative, a road map to ensuring clean energy equity for all Angelenos, LADWP is working to honor the legacy of Dr. King’s values of justice every day.”

Benjamin Todd Jealous, executive director of the Sierra Club, emphasized in a statement that for years Black communities have long been forced to live in “sacrifice zones, shouldering a heavy burden of population that has manufactured health crisis for families, especially children.”