As executive director of the climate justice organization Got Green, Jill Mangaliman, a queer, Filipino-American community organizer, is a leader in Seattle’s growing drive for climate justice, a branch of the environmental movement focused on ending environmental racism and giving low-income people and people of color a say in policy decisions that impact their communities.
In 2016, Mangaliman, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, was part of a coalition of environmental and social justice groups that united to defeat Initiative 732, a carbon-tax proposal. Critics said it was an insufficient response to a climate crisis that has already had a disproportionate impact on communities of color, which are often located in places that have polluted air, water and soil, and which lack access to healthy food, convenient public transportation and affordable housing.
In the past year, Mangaliman and Got Green also led a coalition that pushed the city to create its priority hire legislation, which requires city construction contractors to hire workers from economically distressed ZIP codes and increase apprenticeship opportunities for women, people of color and low-income workers. Ultimately, though, the goal for Mangaliman and other climate justice activists is a wholesale transformation of the economy, from one based on fossil fuels to one that is sustainable and provides viable living-wage jobs for people of color and other marginalized workers. It’s a big lift—one that involves first acknowledging that the traditional environmental movement has excluded many of those most impacted by climate change. Fortunately, Mangaliman isn’t afraid of starting uncomfortable conversations.
Read about the rest of 2017's Most Influential Seattleites here.