Climate-justice stories in every community, waiting to be told

Read the full story from the Columbia Journalism Review.

“Every city has its George Floyd,” Rev. Jesse Jackson said after attending Floyd’s June 4 funeral service in Minneapolis. No stranger to white supremacist violence, Jackson was 26 when he witnessed the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King on a motel balcony in Memphis. The murder of Floyd, Jackson added, “photographed by a terrified and courageous 17-year-old girl, has made it impossible to ignore police violence against Black people.”

Indeed, the media has taken notice. But police brutality is not the only violence Black Americans and other communities of color must endure. It is factually indisputable that the poor and people of color in the US and around the world suffer first and worst from climate-driven catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, whose fifteenth anniversary comes in August. The same is true of standard air and water pollution, such as the lead-laden drinking water provided to residents in Flint, Michigan, the majority of whom are Black. But only rarely does mainstream news coverage make the point that such environmental violence is pervasive, chronic, and carries a clear racial and economic bias.

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