The Clean Water Blog

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Clean Water 50 Stories: Luisa Santos

In honor of Clean Water Action's 50th birthday, we’re sharing our history and stories of the people who have helped us protect clean water along the way through #CleanWater50Stories.

We’re thrilled to highlight the work of an inspiring woman that we’re proud to partner with! Meet Luisa Santos, a campaign researcher at Boston-based Community Labor United (CLU). Our staff, including climate justice organizer Paulina Casasola and New England Director Cindy Luppi, have had the pleasure of working with Luisa over the past few years through the Green Justice Coalition, which CLU convenes and Clean Water is a member of. Luisa is committed to creating collective power, where we all have a voice in the decisions that affect us.

The Green Justice Coalition, or GJC, is a coalition of community, labor, and environmental groups working together to advance equitable environmental advocacy and address environmental racism. As a labor organizer, Luisa has an interesting perspective on Clean Water Action’s environmental and public health work. 

Luisa says that the question of who gets clean water or not depends on policy, which depends on politics. That’s where Clean Water fits in as a political advocacy group. “Because it’s a political question, depending on what policies are implemented, that determines who gets clean water and who doesn’t get clean water, this is also a labor question,” Luisa says. “Something that Community Labor United is trying to do, and that’s in our very name, is trying to bridge labor and community groups to address these issues. A lot of this work happens in silos: the environmental silo, the labor silo, the community silo. Why would a labor group care about clean water? Because it’s all connected. We all need clean water to survive.” The way to ensure everyone gets clean water is by all of us working together, whether we come from environmental, public health, labor, or community organizing organizations. 

Luisa believes that this kind of work must happen in coalitions like the Green Justice Coalition. “Something that I’m excited about and impresses me is how dedicated Clean Water Action is to this work in terms of growing our people power and forming grassroots campaigns. The people I’ve met from Clean Water are tirelessly working on expanding our reach to make sure that many different perspectives are heard.”