Stop Environmental Racism From Endangering the Health and Rights of Black and Brown Communities

Target: EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan

Goal: Protect the right to an environmentally safe neighborhood by addressing the perpetrators environmental racism.

The human right to livable housing conditions, clean air, water, and surrounding environment is not one respected in every community. Communities of color are disproportionately burdened by environmental hardship, resulting in housing instability (frequent flooding), higher than average asthma rates, exposure to toxic air pollutants and lax to non-existent environmental policy enforcement, to name a few. As we battle the ill effects of a global warming-increased frequency in natural disasters, widespread heatwaves, and general extreme weather, the environmental racism caused by years of systematic policies becomes extremely apparent.

Years of redlining and planned racial segregation have created enclaves of economically and, as we are now seeing, environmentally, disadvantaged Black and brown neighborhoods. This is readily apparent in New York City, where Latino and Black neighborhoods like Bushwick, Brooklyn had to rally to oppose National Grid’s proposed construction of a pipeline which posed serious health risks. Also obvious is the 2014 Flint, Michigan Water Crisis, where foul-smelling, contaminated water was spilling from the faucets of sick community members. Complaints fell on unconcerned, disbelieving government ears while their Black constituents contracted long-lasting health issues including elevated blood levels, skin rashes and hair loss. Asthma statistics reveal an environmental inequality as well. According to 2018 study conducted by the American Lung Association, asthma rates are greatest among Black and Native American groups. It also showed that “Asthma rates decrease as family income increases,” pointing to a possible correlation between geography and health.

Environmental racism is an outgrowth of persistent racist legislation, policy, and policing. It is a symptom that threatens the future and dignity of communities of color by making their neighborhoods detrimental to health. Sign below and demand immediate policy change in the form of mandated environmental follow-through, increased construction of communal greenspaces, and legal guarantee of the prioritization of community opinion/voiced need, to rectify the perpetuation of environmental racism and injustice.

PETITION LETTER: 

Dear EPA Administrator Regan, 

Environmental racism is threatening the health and housing of our most vulnerable Black and brown neighborhoods. Inequalities in environmental and community protection from possible pollutants, access to green spaces, infrastructure strength and desire for conservation are robbing your people of their right to clean air, water and ground. We demand new legislation that supports environmental justice and seeks to rectify this imbalance. 

Exemplary policy change would empower community voices, prioritize inhabitants’ needs, curb new construction of environmentally unsafe projects and foster a sense of national need for protection against systematic environmental racism. 

As climate change worsens, it is our responsibility to patch the gaps in care created and deepened by purposefully orchestrated, racialized housing segregation and systematic racism. We demand you address the right to a clean environment for all.

Sincerely, 

[Your Name Here] 

Photo Credit: Fred Murphy


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267 Signatures

  • sarah sowambur
  • Vanessa Bartley
  • Corbet Stain
  • Ricki Newman
  • Paula Lambert
  • patricia calebrese
  • Elizabeth Eisner
  • Brett Wolff
  • Elizabeth Rutledge
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