Giving Compass’ Take:
• Grist interviews five environmental justice leaders about the COVID-19 crisis, police brutality, mass incarceration, and climate change all coming to a head at the same moment.
• How can these insights help inform where to donate charitable dollars?
• Understand more about how the COVID-19 pandemic is turning into a human rights crisis.
We now know that coronavirus — much like police brutality, mass incarceration, and climate change — is not colorblind. It’s not that the virus itself differentiates by race, but, as with other crises, the factors that make communities of color more susceptible to it are shaped by the United States’ long history of discriminatory policies and practices.
Many of the places that have been dealt the harshest blow by COVID-19 are simultaneously dealing with other serious threats to residents’ well-being. Even under the cover of the pandemic, environmental rollbacks and pipeline plans continue to threaten the health of people of color. Add to that the outrage and civil unrest that has erupted in many cities in reaction to the death of George Floyd — a black man on whose neck a white police officer knelt for more than 8 minutes — and you have a veritable witch’s brew of community risk.
So what does it mean to have all these calamities come to a head at the same moment? Will policymakers see the compounded threats as a wakeup call to the many ways our society is structured unjustly and unsustainably? What are people doing now to try to build a more resilient, equitable world? How much, and in what way, will things change as cities and states begin to emerge from quarantine?
Even as some folks mumble about getting “back to normal,” others are talking about ways to make sure “normal” is never the same again. To that end, we reached out to five environmental justice leaders and Grist Fixers from the West Coast to the East, to get their takes on addressing the compounded threats of racial injustice, climate change, and COVID-19. Here’s what they had to say.
Read the full article about social justice issues by Claire Elise Thompson at Grist.
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