Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By San Francisco Bay View (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Black employees say racism is rife at Cal Air Resources Board

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Attorney Mary Nichols is far from the only commentator drawing a parallel between the police terrorism that murdered George Floyd and awakened a formerly indifferent world and the equally ubiquitous environmental racism that chokes, sickens and kills poor Black and Brown people in hoods around the country every day.

by Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media 

Mary Nichols, an influential California attorney known and respected in environmental policy circles across the United States, is finding herself at the center of a racial storm brewing at home. 

Black employees say racism is widespread at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the organization Nichols chairs. 

In September, African American employees hit CARB with a 13-page letter alleging that they have been experiencing racism – widespread, routine and systemic, they point out – at the air-pollution and climate agency.  

The “Concerned Black Employees at CARB (CBE CARB),” the Black group that submitted the letter, says its members have been the target of cynical comments at the organization and that they have been excluded from promotions and have had to face other atrocities because of the color of their skin.

The letter details discriminatory hiring practices, incidents of intimidation, low representation of Black employees, and a general lack of support. CARB, the letter alleges, has a total of 1,627 employees and only 73 of them are Black. Only one African American has held an executive position with the organization. 

“You will find a compilation of Black stories about our experiences at CARB along with messages we received from those experiences,” CBE CARB stated in the introduction to the document. “Although these stories are first person accounts of experiences, we believe that most of them apply (or have applied) to all Black employees at some point and time at CARB.” 

“How dare you use a dying man’s plea for help as a way to discuss your agenda. Have you no shame?”

The state of California charges CARB with protecting the public from the harmful effects of air pollution and developing programs and actions to fight climate change. Founded in 1967, the Sacramento-based organization also sets air quality standards, oversee automakers’ emissions compliance, conducts research on air pollution, measures reductions of air pollutants and promotes public health, among other functions. 

In July, Assemblymember Jim Cooper, D-Sacramento, who is African American, called out Nichols online after she posted a message that drew parallels between the lack of clean air and the death of George Floyd.

“How dare you use a dying man’s plea for help as a way to discuss your agenda. Have you no shame?” Cooper reacted to Nichols’ tweet. 

Floyd died when a Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee on the unarmed Black man’s neck for nearly nine minutes in late May. The shocking incident caught on video by a bystander was shared millions of times, sparking anti-Black racism protests across the globe. 

On June 1, Nichols posted, “‘I can’t breathe’ speaks to police violence, but it also applies to the struggle for clean air. Environmental racism is just one form of racism. It’s all toxic. Government needs to clean it up in word and deed.” 

Nichols later issued an apology via Twitter, stating “I apologize for speaking at the wrong time about the wrong topic. Racism comes in many forms and I believe we must fight every instance of it in our society.” 

Nichols has served on the CARB Board under Gov. Jerry Brown (1975-1982 and 2010-2018), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (2007-2010) and Gov. Gavin Newsom (2019-present).  

“I have a sense of optimism as I know that change begins with the ability to openly acknowledge and discuss issues.” 

She also served as California’s Secretary for Natural Resources (1999–2003), appointed by Gov. Gray Davis. Her term under Newsom ends Dec. 31. There is speculation in Sacramento political circles that Nichols, 75, could be in line for a job as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency should Joe Biden win the presidency. 

Published reports say CARB Executive Director Richard Corey forwarded CBE CARB’s letter to the air CARB’s staff about a week after he obtained it. The 13-page document is dated Sept. 4. 

CARB’s board, which the governor appoints and the Senate confirms, consists of 14 voting members with two lawmakers in non-voting roles. The board does not have any Asian American or African American members. 

“There is no doubt the letter eloquently describes a history of poor treatment, lost potential and deep-seated pain,” Corey wrote in a memo to his staff, according to Politico. “But, when I consider the courage it took to write and submit the letter, I have a sense of optimism as I know that change begins with the ability to openly acknowledge and discuss issues.” 

CBE CARB also stated that its only intent is to “shine a light on areas where CARB can improve” and asked the air pollution and climate agency to move forward and be “part of the solution.”  

“Our intent in sharing this Letter and Action Plan is not to shame or belittle CARB, or to assign blame. We enjoy the work we do at CARB and want to do all we can to improve CARB for the future, and our future careers with the agency,” CBE CARB stated in conclusion of the letter.  

California Black Media, serving California’s Black press, boasts a record of ensuring that the Black viewpoint remains central to all of the debates that shape life in California. Antonio Ray Harvey and other members of the CBM staff can be reached at [email protected]

Editor’s note: Readers who follow the eco-fraud scandal at the Hunters Point Shipyard may recall that Dr. John Balmes is a member of the California Air Resources Board as well as a panel of UC experts advising San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Twice his testimony has favored Lennar, the shipyard mega-developer, at the expense of protecting the health of the community – first when he found nothing hazardous in the dust created for years by Lennar’s massive grading operation and more recently when he and the UC panel found no need for further testing for radiation in the vicinity of Lennar’s occupied condos. In October 2020, Dr. Balmes publicly confessed that he had falsely denied accepting payment from Lennar for his testimony regarding Lennar’s dust, known to have been laden with asbestos fibers as well as radioactive and toxic contaminants. The residents closest to the shipyard and most endangered are well known to be nearly all African American.

The post Black employees say racism is rife at Cal Air Resources Board appeared first on San Francisco Bay View.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.