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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Connecting Racial Justice & Environmental Justice

Q. Early on, you linked the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore riots, and the environment. Why?   
A. Before we even learned about the incinerator, we were learning about our basic human rights. When we found out the incinerator was proposed to be built in our community, it violated every single value, belief, and basic human right that we had. When it come to the death of Freddie Gray, when it comes to incinerators, when it comes to the crisis in Flint, Michigan, those issues are different, but they’re not separate. They’re all issues of injustice — of systematic injustice, which we’ve been fighting against.
Q. What about environmental justice in particular? What do you think grassroots activists should understand about winning campaigns against big polluters? 
A. When polluting developments are proposed, they’re usually in poor neighborhoods. They’re proposed in places where it’s perceived that our voices aren’t very strong, that there won’t be a public outcry, or that there isn’t a lot of power and so there won’t be a lot of pushback or resistance. And a lot of times, those are communities of color. It always comes down to who or what has power. When we’re resisting against an established system that creates developments like the incinerator, it’s really important to have power in communities if you are to win.
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