Introducing the new Electric For All public awareness campaign powered by Veloz
40 Million Reasons to Go Electric
What do Avenger Mark Ruffalo, Huron, CA, Mayor Rey Leon, Watts CA leader Mama Linda Cleveland, and Favianna Rodriguez all have in common? They are the superheroes on the screen and behind the scenes of Veloz’s latest Electric For All cultural change campaign, “40 Million Reasons to Go Electric.”
Launched January 20th, the campaign spotlights Mark Ruffalo and Chloe Bennet and local superheroes as agents of change fighting for social, economic and environmental justice, celebrating California’s many cultures, and underscoring the reasons each and every Californian should go electric.
Veloz’s Electric For All Campaign is the product of an unprecedented collaboration between private sector companies including auto manufacturers, charging infrastructure organizations and public sector agencies with the vested interest in accelerating transportation electrification.
The Electric For All campaign is putting the pedal to the metal for Governor Newsom’s executive order that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in 2035 will be electric. “The electric car market represents a multi trillion-dollar opportunity for California to create new businesses and jobs, and move our state, nation and world to a cleaner, healthier, more equitable and prosperous future,” commented Josh Boone, Veloz Executive Director. “Our campaign aims to tap the superhero in everyone to get to that future faster.”
See how our global and local superheroes are fighting pollution and helping communities go electric. Watch the short :15 videos below and read their stories.
Global and Local Superheroes Stories
Emmy® winner Mark Ruffalo is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors and artist-activists. He is also the co-founder of The Solutions Project, a California based national non-profit that supports climate justice leaders and solutionaires at the neighborhood level making 100% renewable energy and equitable access to healthy food, land and water a reality all across the country. He is best known for his role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the Avengers series and has been nominated for three Academy Awards within five years for his performances in “The Kids Are All Right,” “Foxcatcher” and “Spotlight,” which won the Oscars® for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Mark is a fierce advocate for solutions to the climate crisis, especially directing his spotlight behind those people closest to the problems who have the most effective, interconnected solutions, but who too often go unrecognized and are not well-funded for their leadership. The Solutions Project was among the very first organizations to advance the idea that 100% renewable energy is possible and that the most important way to accelerate this transition is to move money, media and momentum behind those climate justice organizations making sure energy solutions work for 100% of the people. Transportation electrification is no exception. “The quicker we transition to an electric transportation system, the less strife there will be in the world.“
Superhero actress, Chloe Bennet who stars in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the computer hacker-turned-superhero Daisy “Quake” Johnson has been a voice for change in Hollywood, a voice for mobilizing young Asian-American voters and now she’s using her voice to electrify transportation. Chloe is the Co-founder and Creative Director of Represent Us Now (RUN) that launched #TheNew campaign ahead of the 2020 presidential election to empower and mobilize young Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters. “#TheNew is a reference to our growing political power, the face of #TheNew American voter,” said Bennet. “For me, representation is personal. This idea that AAPI could never be the hero or the stars of their own lives, on screen and off, haunted me for years. That’s why I was driven to co-create this campaign, to reclaim our narrative, show pride in who we are, and ensure our interests are reflected in every policy decision being made.” Bennet is very vocal when it comes to being an advocate for representation and inclusion. There is another topic Chloe feels passionate about: electrification of transportation. Recognizing the devastating impacts of pollution on disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, Chloe sees electric vehicles as a critical solution and champions access for all.
Superhero Huron Mayor Rey Leon was born into a family of farmers, where he always felt that birds were his cousins and the health of the earth and his community were one and the same. He now leads the “brownest green city in the United States.” Home to more EV chargers per capita than any other city in the nation, rich in Meso-American history, Huron is also the site of some of the most contaminated air in the country. “To fix it,” Rey says, “you have to fix transportation, which is at the root of social environmental injustice. If you cannot travel safely, healthfully, economically and efficiently, you cannot escape the grind of poverty.” A first generation American Mexican, and first in his family to finish primary school, much less high school and college, Rey says he is a “Chicano nerd” who made it up and out of poverty to attend the University of California, Berkeley, not because it is possible for everyone, but because of a rare opportunity to escape the baked in social, economic and environmental inequities that create a pipeline to low end jobs or prison for many in his community.
“We have worked this land, knee deep in the muddy trenches, to build the infrastructure of this country,” says Rey. Now, Rey is focused laser-like on ensuring that infrastructure and innovative electric transportation solutions serve his community and the earth on which they depend. “The Central Valley has been ridesharing long before Uber and Lyft. Turning that service green is about building our infrastructure on social, environmental and economic justice.” Rey established Green Raiteros, an EV ridesharing service launched by The Latino Equity Advocacy & Policy (LEAP) Institute, a nonprofit founded by Rey, creates jobs, to provide safe, free transportation, and help to clean the severe air pollution problem in the valley. “I want to turn Huron into an environmental, economic and cultural mecca that celebrates who we are and where we come from. Our history is America’s, our ancestors are America’s. It is time we honor them and build a community that honors and protects us.” With a sly smile, the superhero adds, “I’m going to get myself a cape eventually.”
Veloz and its partners look forward to working with Rey to help achieve his dream, expand his Green Raiteros, electrify transportation throughout the Central Valley, build the charging infrastructure required and pass policies that make it cheaper and easier to travel electric.
Superheroes Mother Daughter Dynamo Mama Linda Cleveland and Miss Jackie Badejo. Born in Louisiana, Mama Linda has known racism and violence. “When you come from a place where crosses were burned outside your church while you are singing inside, you know how to focus on the positive, work with others like a family to get issues solved and have faith that there is nothing we can’t accomplish.” Even at 8 years old, Mama Linda was an activist, though she didn’t realize it. “Waiting for our train to leave the station in Monroe, Louisiana, I saw the water fountains marked ” White Only” and ” Colored Only,” she remembers. “When my mother wasn’t watching I drank from the “White Only” fountain. It was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.” Now, she and her daughter Miss Jackie are a force to be reckoned with in the South Central Los Angeles community of Watts. “I remember bathing as a child and wondering, ‘why is this water so brown?’ That was the beginning of my education about the environmental injustices in my community,” says Miss Jackie. If you live in Watts, your life is 11.9 years shorter than if you live in Bel Air. “When you look around Watts you can see so many types of neglect and how it has affected the population. When you consider all the elements of the earth, you have to focus on what will make people feel better. Clean air allows you to breathe better, think better and make better decisions.” Mama Linda and Miss Jackie are leaders of Watts Clean Air and Energy Committee, a grassroots environmental justice organization, and work around the clock to educate, inspire and engage their fellow community members in what they see as the burgeoning green future. “We get left behind on so many movements,” says Mama Linda. “We have to be at the head of this one. It is the future. It is coming.” On a mission, they go door-to-door, work through churches, hold events, testify at public hearings and run campaigns to pass important policies like Measure W to clean their water and air. Recently they successfully helped their community apply for a Transformative Climate Community Grant from the state of California to establish the first EV car-sharing program in Watts. “There is nothing we can’t accomplish,” Mama Linda believes. “It just may take a while. All things through God.”
They spearhead building community gardens, planting trees, and running EV ride and drive events. When faced with a closed door – like some car dealers unwillingness to lend EVs for their events – this dynamic duo finds a bigger door. “We got private owners to come out with their cars. Turns out they are so enthusiastic and informed they are the best salesmen. They get everyone excited,” Mama Linda recounts. “We’ve got to get people behind the wheel, and make sure the charging infrastructure gets built,” Miss Jackie adds. EVs represent enormous opportunity for their community, economically, environmentally and socially. EVs save drivers money, create jobs, clean the air, and bring people together. “We see a renewed intergenerational spirit at our events – people feeling connected to each other and to the movement. It is a beautiful thing,” says Miss Jackie. Not to mention, these cars are fast, Mama Linda adds. “First time I rode in one, oh my lord, this thing has power! I thought it was going to be some kind of old person’s car, but WHOA did it take off!”
Veloz and its partners look forward to working with Mama Linda and Miss Jackie to keep them and their community at the head and heart of this movement through smart policies and programs that accelerate the electrification of transportation in their communities and those like theirs around the state.
Superhero Favianna Rodriguez grew up in a concrete city, sandwiched between two major freeways, surrounded by people with asthma and skyrocketing rates of cancer resulting from pollution. This is the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, California. Raised in an Afro-Peruvian immigrant family Favianna recognized early on that her community suffered the brunt of one of the heaviest traffic corridors in the state, which sparked the passion and activism that animates her life. “The more I learned about the fossil fuel industry, and its impact on my community, the more dedicated I became to making a difference. And because it is important to model the kind of decisions that I want made at scale, I had to start with my own home.” Favianna became the first in her neighborhood to go solar, and to buy an EV. “People in my hood didn’t realize how affordable EVs are – especially if you are making monthly payments. The savings on gas and maintenance make it cheaper than owning a gas car. Not to mention I love skipping gasoline and saying no to the fossil fuel economy that’s polluting my community.”
Favianna went to college with Mayor Rey Leon and supports his work to electrify transportation throughout the Central Valley. Latinos, she says, represent a huge market opportunity being overlooked by the EV industry. “I love that Latinos are leading the way. Our stories need to be more visible. Latinos make this state run. Latino labor in my state produces 2/3 of our country’s food. We are dying at higher rates of COVID, a respiratory disease, than any other group. We are vulnerable because the majority of fossil fuel sites are located in Black and Brown communities. California is a birthplace for innovation and a model for the rest of the country. If we get it right here, the rest of the country follows.” But perhaps the greatest impact she has is through her art. “We can show the stories we want to see actualized in real life, and make the impossible, possible..” Her work boldly reshapes the myths, stories and cultural practices of the present, while healing from the wounds of the past, and fighting for environmental justice and a clean energy future. As a board member of the Solutions Project and the President of the Center for Cultural Power, Favianna is at the leading edge of storytelling to create culture change. “I’m an explorer,” Favianna says. “I’m always looking for places to connect to the natural environment.” She loads up her EV, with room enough for her two dogs, artworks, plants and homegrown food and road trips across the state, from the beaches to the mountains to the valley. “In my EV, I’m free and independent. I’m good.”
By telling the stories of Favianna, Rey, Mama Linda and Jacquelyn, we hope to help reshape myths and practices just as Favianna does. We look forward to working with her on future stories, as well as on programs and policies that electrify not just the vehicles in her community, but all those traveling through it.
Ayoni is a Barbadian-born singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist based in LA. OnestoWatch.com wrote, “Ayoni is the voice of those who can’t speak up…Ayoni is the voice that not only needs to be heard, but must be heard.” And they wrote that her song Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth) is ”one of the most powerful songs that has come across our desk in 2020”. Only 21, Ayoni has lived in Barbados, Singapore, Indonesia and the U.S., infusing her music with experiences as a young Black woman and an immigrant navigating the world and finding her strength and identity through it all. Veloz’s campaign aims to include and empower all Californians by telling the real story of superheroes representing California’s rich and diverse communities who are leading critical environmental change. That’s why Ayoni was selected to sing the original Californian take on neo soul-inspired music for the 40 Million Reasons to Go Electric public awareness campaign to inspire and empower Californians to join the electric car revolution. V magazine wrote that Ayoni “is destined to hit superstar levels.” Veloz hopes the campaign will help her get there.
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