Kari Fulton is the National Campus Campaign Coordinator for the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative. Fulton works to support and mobilize diverse youth and organizations by building awareness of the connection between environmental and social justice issues.
Noted as a young leader to watch by Elle and Glamour magazine, Fulton was a member of the planning committee for both Power Shift 2007 and Power Shift 2009 the largest youth summits and lobby days on climate in US history. Through her work in the youth climate movement, Fulton was awarded the Brower Youth Award (Earth Island Institute) and the Damu Smith Power of One Young Professional Award (Deep South Center For Environmental Justice at Dillard University).
Currently, Fulton acts as a spokesperson for the Energy Action Coalition is a senior fellow with Young People For the American Way (YP4) and a member of the YP4 Leadership Academy. She is also a graduate of the John H. Johnson School of Communications at Howard University. In her spare time Fulton is a blogger on checktheweather.net and a member of the board of directors for the Lets Raise A Million Project and Dreaming Out Loud, an after-school program in DC.
Question: What are the most obvious indications of racism to you?
Kari Fulton: It's kind of funny because after the elections I was at this press conference for Black Power Vote and I was talking about all the work that we did with our Campaign Power Vote. And so this article came out with... in the Associated Press and basically I had said this statement, I was like, "Well..." and this really happened, you know after the elections, Fox News and white people I just knew where like, "Yeah, this is great, you know, racism is over now that we have a black president," and it is like, first of all, your statement in of itself shows that racism isn't dead because if it was, you wouldn't acknowledge that he was black in the first place and so it gotten like 200 different papers like randomly, it was like really strange but I got these... like these blogs, these conservative bloggers like attacking me and that was the first time, I was like, "Whoa," like, you know, Googling my name, finding images and putting it on blogs so they could talk stuff about me and that was like crazy to me. But it was like they were upset because I had the audacity to say that, "no, racism isn't dead and even though Obama won, we still have to work like it's just not going to be up to Obama, he is not a superhero, he is super motivator and he has motivated our generation to say why not? Why not create change? Why not be the best generation we can be? Why not, you know, stand up for what we believe? Why not just be more successful? Why not just try harder? Why not just advocate? Why not just go into Congress and to Capitol Hill and lobby our Congress people? It's not that hard. And he's done all that.
But, like I said, he is not superhero and so it is funny to me because they were mad that I said racism isn't dead but it was like in their statements, they were racist too. Like one was like, "Niggers are still whining," and, you know, "You are only 23, what do you know about racism or..." all these different things and it's just... it's very interesting to me so I think even with Obama in office, we have a long road ahead of people... of having to just build intercultural politics and intercultural communication that is more uplifting and uniting and I think that as a coalition, Energy Action Coalition has been working really, really hard to try and develop that as a goal, as a true strategic goal.
Recorded on: May 8, 2009