We celebrate the efforts led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) to move the United States back in the direction of addressing climate change, and call on lawmakers to confront environmental racism that is at the root of climate change. Seventy-nine percent of African American neighborhoods are polluted by the same smokestacks and vehicle exhaust pipes that warm the planet. Many of the places where African Americans live, work, play, and learn are targeted by polluting industries and heavy traffic transportation routes that contribute to missed school days, emergency room visits, and the United States being one of the largest contributors to greenhouses gases. Indeed, African Americans are also most at risk from climate change, and will have the greatest challenge in surviving and recovering from stronger storms, frequent flood events, and extreme heat waves.

Pollution is a potent form of racial oppression on African Americans, who are predominantly located in states that refused to expand Medicare and also sued to undermine Obamacare and the Clean Power Plan.

The Green New Deal should be a “We Deal.” As Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reminded us: “Our diversity is our strength, but our unity is our power.” We are stronger together when people who have the most at stake are part of the decision-making on how we move forward to heal our communities and planet.


Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder & Executive Director
Deep South Center for Environmental Justice

Dr. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy
Texas Southern University

Tina Johnson
Deep South Center for Environmental Justice