We are angry and we are anguished, yet again. We are anguished because the unjust killing of George Floyd has again laid bare the oppression and racism that lead to daily harassment, injury, and death of our black and brown neighbors. We are angry because people who are crying out for justice and peacefully demanding accountability have been met with violence and arrest across the nation, and the President is threatening to deploy the military on the streets of our cities.
You might wonder why an environmental organization is speaking out on racism and inequality. It’s because the racism and oppression that pervades the structure of our country and undermines our shared humanity also leads to environmental injustice and harm. We have to dismantle these structures because Black Lives Matter. And we cannot ensure a safe and healthy environment for all people without addressing the racism that causes so much harm and inequity.
Black communities and other communities of color are often burdened with disinvestment, which leads to failing infrastructure. Polluting facilities like power plants, oil and gas operations, and incinerators are often located in or near communities of color. The people who call these communities home often don’t have access to parks, greenspace, or reliable public transportation. And they must often deal with a legacy of expulsive zoning, redlining, and bias, along with indifference from elected officials and policy makers. All of this has a devastating and generational impact on the health of the families in these communities.
This must end. We have to acknowledge and correct the historical harms that have led to clean air and clean water for some and pollution and degraded health for others. Clean Water Action is committed to combating racism and oppression in all forms, both internally and in our society. That isn’t easy. But it’s incumbent upon us to stand as a partner with those fighting for racial justice and work together to build a more just and sustainable world.
Right now, we are a nation in crisis and a nation divided, but we don’t have to be. We reject the President’s call for more division. We are committed to fighting for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other people of color who have faced aggression, injury, and death at the hands of the state. We join the millions who are calling out for change. And we will continue to demand that people be allowed to gather to grieve and protest, without facing assault from the authorities.
I urge you to join us, however you can, and engage safely. You can find resources about environmental justice and racial justice from WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Hip Hop Caucus, Color of Change, Black Lives Matter, and the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. Learn more about our environmental justice work on our website, and get tips on how to be an ally here and here. These are difficult and stressful times. But we can get through this, and build the future we want, if we come together and call out with one voice for justice.