Understanding and Tackling Environmental Racism
On Saturday, November 21, 2020 Sierra Club Connecticut’s Ready for 100 Campaign in partnership with Justice for Brunch hosted an event about environmental racism. The event was attended by more than 50 participants from throughout the Northeast.
The event started with an introduction from the organizers and a spoken word poem performance from Sierra Club Connecticut’s Alycia Jenkins (Lady Abstract). Panelist Sharon Lewis, Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition for Economic and Environmental Justice, spoke about the history of environmental racism in America and environmental justice issues in Connecticut today with a focus on polluting trash incineration in vulnerable communities. Cristher Estrada, Program Evaluation Manager at RE Center, spoke about the history of social and environmental injustice in her native Puerto Rico, and inequities experienced in Connecticut.
The keynote speaker was Harriet A. Washington, a prolific science writer, editor and ethicist. Washington’s Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Experimentation from Colonial Times to the Present won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and the American Library Association Black Caucus Nonfiction Award. She is the author of five other well-received books, including A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind, as well as the forthcoming Carte Blanche: The Erosion of Informed Consent in Medical Research, which will be published in 2021 by Columbia Global Reports. Washington’s presentation covered a wide range of topics on the disproportionate impact of toxics and pollutants on Black Americans and people of color.
The attendees that were involved in this event were also encouraged to get involved through varying ways from the panelists and the hosts.
Sierra Club Connecticut gives many thanks to the organizers who put the event together including Allyson Samuell from Sierra Club, Alessandra from Ready for 100 Stamford in Connecticut, and Alycia Jenkins from Ready for 100 Hartford in Connecticut, and Justice for Brunch to host this event.
We hope to hold more events on this important topic. Watch your email for more opportunities to learn about and address the issue of environmental racism.
Alycia Jenkins is an organizer for Sierra Club Connecticut focusing on our Ready for 100 Campaign in Hartford.