The Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, is hosting its first statewide conversation today  about the environment and Latinos’ place in it.

Newly-appointed Climate and Environmental Justice State Director Cristina Muñoz De La Torre says the topic will be how to balance protecting the environment while also protecting the people who work for industries that most impact it — like agriculture and meatpacking. Both sectors have large Latino populations.

Muñoz De La Torre says, “With the pandemic and climate change and just the compounded disasters over existing environmental issues, it felt very evident to bring all these local efforts into a statewide collective.” That way, she says, they can better advocate and organize around environmental issues in Latino communities. Muñoz De La Torre says topics will include air quality and climate change, as well as the economy, business, and public health.

“My long-term vision that I hope that they’ll be able to fill in and change as we have this conversation is to, first of all, have a Latino and BIPOC network for climate and environmental justice to support ongoing local efforts in Iowa,” she says. For more information on the event, visit the Iowa LULAC website:

(By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio)