The Color of Climate

Chevron’s Slick Statement on Racial Injustice Makes No Sense

The company’s recent Black Lives Matter message doesn’t jive with its actions

Drew Costley
OneZero
Published in
4 min readJun 11, 2020

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A view of the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California. Photo illustration. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This is The Color of Climate, a weekly column from OneZero exploring how climate change and other environmental issues uniquely impact the future of communities of color.

Last week, Chevron joined the countless number of corporations that have released statements about racial injustice in the wake of nationwide uprisings to protest the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Last Friday, the company tweeted an image with the words “racism has no place in America” along with a link to a page on its website with quotes about racial justice from company executives.

“I share the anger and pain felt by so many Americans at the recent killings of unarmed black men and women,” reads the statement of Chevron CEO Mike Wirth. “Racism and brutality have no place in America. Yet these incidents still occur. And they impact people well beyond those directly affected by such tragedies. Including people at our company. I absolutely believe we are stronger when we embrace our differences, and now is an important time to do just that.”

People living near the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California, say the company’s statements don’t jive with the way the company pollutes communities of color.

Doria Robinson, a Black third-generation Richmond resident and environmental activist, tells OneZero the pollution burden that Chevron places on the Black and Latinx community in Richmond is “intense.” She says that even though Chevron says it supports racial justice “in some general, vague way,” the company has its own history of environmental racism to reckon with.

“It’s ridiculous,” she says. “It’s like, do I really need to engage in this conversation with you fools who have spent years poisoning Black and Brown people?”

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Drew Costley
OneZero

Drew Costley is a Staff Writer at FutureHuman covering the environment, health, science and tech. Previously @ SFGate, East Bay Express, USA Today, etc.