APRIL: Environmental Racism
Examine the historical movements, policies, and practices that contribute to the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards and disempowerment on communities of color in Atlanta.
April Events and Resources on Environmental Racism
To put things into CONTEXT, we are talking about Environmental Racism in April.
What is Environmental Racism? Environmental Racism describes environmental injustice that occurs within a racialized context both in practice and policy. The term, which was articulated in studies of waste disposal, toxic dumping, and industrial uses, is now understood to encompass everything from the siting of industrial uses; to proximity to power plants and factories; to higher exposure to emissions from mobile sources of pollution, like cars, trucks, and ships; to the disproportionate harm that disasters like Hurricane Katrina do to Black communities.
Environmental racism is inseparable from racial segregation. Residential segregation—which is itself a result of individual and systemic racism—means that people of color are often concentrated in neighborhoods that have frequently been disempowered, both politically and financially.
Examples of Environmental Racism in Georgia from Mothers and Others for Clean Air with contributions by Partnership for Southern Equity.
Pollution: A report from 2012 identified that the most polluted (soil, water, and air) areas of Atlanta have a high density of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) residents and are composed of many neighborhoods where the primary spoken language is not English. The most polluted neighborhoods were five different blocks in Douglas, Fulton, and Cobb Counties.
Proctor Creek Watershed: Watersheds easily pull along pollutants, sewage, and other toxic residues which accumulate on the ground. Atlanta’s watershed is known as Proctor Creek Watershed which curves through downtown Atlanta and progresses out of the city until it joins the Chattahoochee River. As it passes through Atlanta, the watershed snakes through many economically depressed and minority communities. These communities are impacted by the bacterial contamination which spills out of the watershed.
Poultry Plants: Rural Georgia is home to the most poultry plants of any state in the country and is the nation’s largest supplier of broiler chickens. A large percentage of the labor force within the poultry plants are BIPOC and immigrants. Workers within these plants are exposed to air pollution, carcinogens, and water pollution which originate from both the animals and the machinery which processes them. These pollutants then leak into the soil, air, and ground water of the surrounding communities. The contaminants from poultry plants can cause asthma, heart disease, superbug resistance, lung disease, cancer, and many other health complications.
Stay tuned for more information about the historical movements, policies, and practices that contribute to the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards and disempowerment on communities of color in Atlanta and beyond.
CONTEXT: Mapping Environmental Racism
April 15 | 11AM
Join the Inclusion, Advocacy, and Support Programs for “CONTEXT: Mapping Environmental Racism”, presented by the Partnership for Southern Equity!
The Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), will engage in the dynamic and inherently intersectional issue of Environmental Racism the only way we know how; listening and highlighting the first hand experiences of the communities made most marginalized in the regional South and specifically in metro Atlanta. PSE utilizes our Values Based Organizing (VBO) model to do our work and to address the issues of Black, brown and indigenous communities first.
This presentation will be led mainly by PSE’s portfolio youth staff from Just Opportunity, Just Growth and Just Energy and our new youth engagement project, Youth Empowered Solutions for Equity or, YES! for Equity. We will take the audience through a series of data, mapping, and organizing tactics we use to substantiate the claims and experiences that communities have experienced. We will define the equity and environmental indicators we use to guide our organizing efforts. We hope the audience will come out of the presentation better understanding the issues uniquely facing Atlanta communities, and have the opportunity to learn and directly connect with the projects PSE is currently working on, or take the organizing tactics presented into their own projects and initiatives!
We are wrapping up April and celebrating Earth Week by learning about mapping, organizing against, and combatting environmental racism!
First up is a Call To Action from the Partnership for Southern Equity @psequity presented in their recent CONTEXT workshop:
Listen to the new Clean Energy Advisory Board Meeting
Attend a PSE virtual Chat and Chew
Follow Atlanta Watershed Learning Network trainings
Connect with KTSE Ambassador Jordynn Tyndall on her EJ survey - firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow GreenLink Analytics
Get the visual data and map environmental racism in Atlanta with the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas map tool!
Check out BIPOC researchers, advocates, and scientists working on environmental and health racism:
Bernetta Haynes, J.D: Senior Director of Policy and Access at Georgia Watch; Civil Justice, Clean Energy, Advocacy
Dr. Adjo Amekudzi-Kennedy: Professor Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Smart Infrastructure and Community Development
Dr. Christina Hemphill Fuller: Associate Professor Georgia State University; Outdoor air pollution’s effects on respiratory and cardiovascular health
Dr. Elizabeth Armstrog Mensah: Clinical Assistant Professor Georgia State University School of Public Health; Health Equity Disparities
Dr. Eri Saikawa: Associate Professor Environmental Sciences Emory University; Adverse health impacts of air and heavy metal contamination in urban soils in West Atlanta
Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd: Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia School of Public Health; International expert in weather and climate
Get directly involved and organize to combat environmental racism with:
Partnership for Southern Equity:
"Advances policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all in the growth of metropolitan Atlanta and the American South.”
"Educates the public and opinion leaders about the need to reduce violence and militarism in society, and redirect excessive military spending to unmet human and environmental needs.”
Environmental Community Action (Eco Action):
“We believe that communities have the right to clean air, land and water and should have a right to participate in the decisions that affect their own lives. Incredibly, many communities still do not have that right today. Those affected most by toxic chemical exposure are people who live in low-income communities and communities of color. We believe that people who work collectively to organize, make change, share resources, and solve problems will make a positive impact on their community’s health, environment and prosperity.”