Adjusting A Just Transition: Challenges in Progressive Politics in Richmond, California

Authors: Mia Renauld*, Northeastern University
Topics: Energy, Ethnicity and Race, Environment
Keywords: environmental justice, place-making, racial formation
Session Type: Paper


Richmond, California is known both for the Chevron Richmond oil refinery, one of the largest and oldest in the country, and for being a minority majority city with some of the progressive politics in the country. A long history of environmental justice activism has culminated in Richmond becoming a Climate Justice Alliance our power pilot city for a just transition and the germination of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, a progressive non-partisan political alliance fighting Big Oil and Big Banks on an unprecedented level. Though such a movement for a just transition has put Richmond on the map, it has also further exacerbated existing tensions within the city between different racial groups and with Chevron Richmond. This paper aims to explore how place-making and sense of place are challenged by corporate community relations practices and progressive political organizing by triangulating archival research, oral histories, interviews, and data from participant observation. Moreover, it challenges common conceptions about environmental and social justice organizing by exploring the various ways these practices further divide the very communities they seek to bring together.

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