Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Environmental Racism 50 Years After the March On Washington

There's a kind of busy-ness that overwhelms a girl hanging out in our nation's capital.  I had the privilege of attending a wonderful fundraising event with the leadership of Southern Echo on Monday night (goal met!  thank you to all my friends who gave!).  And yesterday, among other activities I had the opportunity to share a meal with Michele Roberts, coordinator of the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance.  As we discussed the groups and places we love: Mossville and MEAN, Black Women for Wellness in Los Angeles, the folks in Delaware trying to rein in the refineries, the fracking threat to my own home area in northeast Ohio, it became apparent how much race and poverty determines who is most burdened with the worst effects of extractive industries in this country as well as how communities respond to those threats.
Michele Roberts Representing!

As a proposal is floated to make Mississippi a radioactive waste repository and the good people of Mossville struggle to attain a fair relocation agreement with Sasol, the South African chemical processor, which will mean the physical end of almost 150 years of free black people living and working in the community their ancestors founded at the end of the Civil War, and uranium mining is being proposed for West Virginia (I could go on and on here) we have to recognize that communities of color and poor communities are the least protected but frequently the most unified in seeking solutions that will protect their land, their health, their very lives.

I don't have a sign on me but hopefully today I'll be able to march next to Michele and her sign declaring, STOP  ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM NOW!

Check back in.  I'll be live blogging from my phone, in the rain, at the Lincoln Memorial.

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