Our Approach

We believe that in order to advance justice, efforts must be led by the communities directly affected by the injustices we address. We are recognized for bridging the rural/urban divide and building out an intersectional analysis to our work, based in racial, gender, economic, reproductive, rural, and environmental injustices in directly affected communities. We are multiracial, cross-class, and interfaith.

We inform and help lead movements that are addressing nuclear weapons, war and systemic violence, nuclear energy and fossil fuels, environmental contamination, defense spending, inadequate political representation, the lack of public funding and community control of our tax dollars, and the lack of leadership development in communities of color.

Georgia WAND invests in the leadership of women of color and working-class women that lack community-driven distribution of public resources, such as funding for jobs and job training, adequate housing, access to public health, quality education, safety from state violence, economic security, and a clean environment. We focus on education, grassroots organizing, lobbying, leadership development, and coalition work.

We believe that through Just Transitions, as defined below, we will reach our goals.

1. Just Economic Transition

Many citizens of Burke County are dependent on the nuclear industry for jobs. We believe people shouldn’t have to choose between gainful employment and their health. Therefore, we are developing a sustainable jobs policy centering workers in the nuclear industry. We seek to educate people about where the federal government’s $4.2 trillion budget really goes.

2. Just Political Transition

We believe in educating voters and encouraging them to use their voice–through voting, lobbying, and talking with their communities about the issues that are most important to them. We are advancing community involvement in holding industries, government agencies, and local, state, and federal elected officials accountable to their communities.

Georgia WAND has a comprehensive civic engagement process: education, voter registration, Get Out The Vote, holding elected officials accountable, running for office, being a leader in their community, and advancing an equity agenda lens in their leadership.

3. Just Environmental and Health Transition

Exposure to tritium, a radionuclide released from Savannah River Site (SRS) nuclear weapons complex’s production and maintenance of nuclear weapons and nuclear power Plant Vogtle’s routine emissions, results in major risks to human health. Research shows women are more vulnerable than men, and children are more vulnerable than adults when it comes to health impacts of radiation. The fact that many of the women most impacted by nuclear radiation in Georgia are low-income and Black is an injustice.

We are advancing Nuclear Harm Reduction strategies to protect public health; to increase survival in areas affected by the nuclear industry; to create economic opportunities for rural communities to thrive; to address the need to reinstate independent radiological environmental monitoring in Georgia; to educate people about environmental justice concepts and environmental hazards; to facilitate community involvement in holding industries and elected officials accountable; and to advance greater transparency in industry and government. We brokered and are working on a three-year, participatory educational monitoring and sampling program; the Radionuclide Education Monitoring and Outreach Program (REMOP) with the Savannah River Ecology Lab.

We monitor activities and policy decisions that affect the Savannah River Site (SRS)  and nuclear power plants. We translate technical information about nuclear weapons, nuclear power, nuclear policies, and nuclear waste; its effects on national security; and its environmental impacts into terms that are meaningful to our members and to the communities near nuclear facilities. Our involvement with the international Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) and IEER (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) over the past decade strengthens our capability to disseminate updated and detailed information in a timely fashion that can enable communities to organize and take action.

4. Just Cultural Transition

In order to move away from militarism, racial injustices, and individualism and move toward peace-making, shared power, and valuing our oneness, humanity, and mutual accountability. We must increase iterations of youth, women, the LGBTQI community, and frontline community voices driving the narrative. We are seeking increased media attention in targeted local and regional media markets and communities. We must change public opinion and social mores if we want to sustain changes in education, public policy and representation, and leadership development.

 

Georgia WAND is a convener. We bring people together, including people whose lived expertise from facing the worst of our society’s cultural norms; people who have technical, political, and educational expertise and care about their community, country, humanity, and the Earth. We know that by connecting and educating people across ideological and experiential differences, we are illuminating connections between tax spending inequities, political representation, industry and national defense accountability, environmental extraction, and the ways white supremacy and a history of imperialism going back centuries has negatively affected us all.

As people build a better understanding of the impact each of us can have in the world, for example that people can vote for their local electric co-op board and directly impact the cost of their utility bills, we will get more and more involved in our democracy and civil society. We will become more civically engaged and take on leadership roles within our communities, helping define new ways of holding one another and industry accountable without contextualizing “the other” as “good or bad” but operating outside of an agreed upon framework.

We will vote for people who represent not just our best interests but those of our community and environment. We will feel more ownership over the cultural, economic, political, and religious systems that pit people against one another. As change occurs in communities, and people demand cleaner air, water, and land, for example, organizations are also enriched by increased community engagement. As individuals, congregations, and families come together, Georgia WAND is helping create a third way. And we are seeking others to join us.