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Three teen girls smiling and looking at camera. Racial Equity & Social Justice challenge logo in bottom-left corner.
WEEK 4: PUBLIC HEALTH
Today's topic: Environmental Racism
A large part of our health is determined by our environment. For generations, the impact of pollution and environmental damage has largely fallen on marginalized communities. Systemically racist policies have resulted in people of color having an increased likelihood of exposure to unsafe drinking water, lead paint in homes, and industrial waste. Today we are looking at the environmental justice movement and the people of color pushing for change.
WE CHALLENGE YOU TO TAKE...
Watch this video about how systemic racism means that African Americans and other people of color  face disproportionate rates of lead poisoning, asthma, and environmental harm.
Read about the climate crisis’s disproportionate impacts on Indigenous communities, and how Indigenous people have been at the forefront of the fight against the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and other environmental injustices.
Watch this interview with scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva where she links environmental activism to social justice and how that intersection can help us find common humanity.
Minnesota has some of the worst racial disparities in the nation. Visit this interactive experience that shares neighborhoods in the Twin Cities that have been affected by generations of environmental racism.
ACT | PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK
Level I: Many neighborhoods in the Twin Cities are now food and supply deserts after local stores were destroyed or temporarily closed due to damage sustained during recent protests. These closures disproportionately impact communities of Black, Indigenous and other people of color and negatively affect the health of residents who struggle to obtain food and basic supplies. Consider picking up and donating extra groceries or supplies the next time you shop and use this map as a resource to find where urgent needs exist and drop-off locations near you.
Level II: The U.S. is the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid time off to new parents, resulting in one in four new mothers here going back to work within two weeks of giving birth—while caring for a newborn and recovering from the physical and mental strains of delivery. Contact your legislators and your company’s human resources department to advocate for policies that support new parents.
Level III: Write to your local elected officials and urge them to declare racism a public health crisis. If you live in Hennepin County, which passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis late last month, thank your representative for passing this resolution and advocate for implementation of policies that improve the health outcomes for people of color.
Please join our work to eliminate racism, empower women and strengthen families and communities. Your contribution will support our racial justice initiatives and invest in the success of adults and youth overcoming disparities in housing, employment and educational achievement. Thank you for helping us continue to provide life-changing services.
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