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How We Got Here

Gulf South for a Green New Deal launched in May 2019 at Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans, LA with more than 800 attendees formally representing more than 30 tribal nations, neighborhood associations, faith groups, student groups, and community organizations. Following the launch, the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) facilitated a six-month, collective, bottom-up process with frontline communities across the Gulf South to develop a policy platform rooted in the values and priorities of the most impacted communities across 5 states. Starting with a critical analysis of US House Resolution 109 (AKA “The Green New Deal Resolution”), we concluded that even well-intentioned federal policy often excludes Southern perspectives, communities, and realities, thereby missing opportunities for systemic change in this nation’s most influential region. 


This six-month collective conversation in 2019 yielded the Gulf South for a Green New Deal Policy Platform. The policy platform is a living document serves as a foundational starting point informing localized policy development, communications and actions.  The Gulf South for a Green New Deal policy platform has been submitted to multiple U.S. congressional committees, including the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, House Committee on Natural Resources, Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. Moreover, this document serves as the organizing vision for Gulf South for a Green New Deal and lays out the shared values that hold participants accountable and actualizes a shared vision on the unique requirements for a successful Green New Deal in the Gulf South.

In 2020, Gulf South for a Green New Deal built regional movement infrastructure through regional convergences, strategic convenings, and innovative spaces for collective healing and reconciliation. The October 2020 Gulf Gathering, anchored in partnership with Healthy Gulf, convened more than 120 Gulf South leaders representing organizations from all five Gulf South states over four days in order to build our plan of action for 2021.

Five Approaches that
Guide Our Work

HEAL + RECONCILE

Honor, archive, and advance the inherent sovereign rights and traditional knowledge of Indigenous principles and methods of healing the human relationship to the land and to one another. Reconcile the relationships of communities traditionally pitted against one another.

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CONNECT + BUILD

Connect the dots between the climate crisis, coastal crisis, the toxic impact of the extractive and polluting industries, and the economic and political crisis in the Gulf South.

SHIFT + RE-IMAGINE

Shift frontline relationships through information sharing, community participatory research, and collaborative analysis development toward an intersectional approach for shared liberation. Re-imagine a collective future for the Gulf South through equity and justice. Build a tailored strategy and communications campaign to shift the national narrative about the value, role, and leadership of Gulf South region.

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DEMOCRATIZE + ORGANIZE

Democratize information and political processes toward structural shifts that dismantle systems of oppression. Organize aligned regional direct action, policy, and communication campaigns that advance the unique collective grassroots shift towards a just transition, moving away from extractive economies and toward a sustainable future.

RESOURCE + RE-INVEST

Resource and support the thought leadership and frontline work of Gulf South leaders through the development of progressive organizing, legal, and funding relationships and alternative forms of community controlled dollars in climate resilience and resistance of Southern frontlines.

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Why the Gulf South

"As goes the South, so goes the nation."

- W.E.B. Du Bois

Connected by the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf South is the U.S.’s third coast with deep and historic ties to the Caribbean and Central America. The formal Gulf South is comprised of five states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. This region plays a pivotal role in the US economy, current national defense infrastructure, and the ongoing global advancement of liberty, science, social justice, and social innovation.

The combined GDP of these five Gulf South states would constitute the world’s 5th largest economy, ahead of countries like England, India, France, and Brazil. The five Gulf South states produce 11.5% of the nation’s agricultural products by value and have the most productive fisheries outside of Alaska. Fifty-one active military outposts and most of the nation’s strategic oil reserves are located in the Gulf South. It is also the region that gave birth to the US’s greatest social movements. Freedom and liberation work are an integral part of the Gulf South’s history. Today, Gulf South communities retain a strong connection to culture, family, community, and land.

The Gulf South continues to play a significant role in the socio-economic transformation of the US. Social movements originating in Gulf South states have given rise to historic and modern struggles for human rights and civil rights around the globe. And while the political South has had a dark history, southern political resistance in states like Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida have proven some of the most effective use of our modern democracy. W.E.B. Du Bois characterized the relevancy of the US South as a key link in the chain for the American working class fighting against exploitation and violent suppression. “As goes the South, so goes the nation” was a statement of fact of our national reality then and is a statement of fact for our reality now. Generations of communities that have survived government sponsored genocide, enslavement, and decades of environmental racism have important perspectives for the vision of social transformation presented in the Green New Deal.

For more history and context on the Gulf South's role insider broader political, economic, and cultural trends, please see the full Gulf South for a Green New Deal policy platform.