We Can Win Against Environmental Racism. Here Are 10 Times Communities Of Color Fought & Won.

Two hands holding against a green background.

Contributing Comic Artist: Christine Deneweth

Our current administration has dealt some tough losses to The Environmental Justice movement recently.

At the start of the year, the Dakota Access Pipeline, after months of protests, was given the go-ahead by President Trump despite the harm it will cause to the Standing Rock Tribes native lands and water source.

This summer we learned that the administration’s proposed 2018 budget would cut the Office of Environmental Justice, tasked with developing solutions to environmental issues.

We still can’t forget about the lead-poisoned water of the residents in Flint Michigan and the continued pollution and poisoning along the Mississippi River’s Cancer Alley.

In the last weeks, following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the U.S. government, led by Trump, failed to give adequate aid to thousands of people — many of whom are still reeling from the devastation.

Much of the island remains without electricity or drinking water, and the death toll has continued to rise.

In spite of these terrible and scary losses, activists and community residents continue to fight environmental racism in their communities every day. We know that it requires a mountain of work to take down the systems of oppression we face — but I have hope.

There’s inspiration to be had and lessons to be learned in those environmental battles of our past.

Even before the Environmental Justice movement officially began in the 1980’s, there have been several times low-income and communities of color have fought for their environmental rights and won!

For a moment, let’s look back at these wins. After all, in times like these, we need good stories. We need to be reminded that — in what often feels like an unwinnable battle against a stacked deck — our communities are smart, resourceful and creative.

When we organize against an issue, we CAN win.

We made this neat comic that shares 10 instances that show just that: communities of color fighting against environmental racism and WINNING.











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Maya Lewis is an Everyday Feminism Reporting Fellow. Maya is a 20-something Brooklynite, by way of Maryland. She spends her time writing about things she believes are interesting and finding ways to trick people into reading them.

Christine Deneweth is a Contributing Comic Artist for Everyday Feminism. A queer cartoonist and artist, Christine lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She is a cartoonist for Eastern Michigan University’s newspaper, The Eastern Echo. She writes children’s books about mental disability and has a comic strip that has been published for five years. Comics can be found on her Facebook page, and art can be found on her Instagram @crassaster. Check out her comics here.