Taking Nature Black Conference Calls for Environmental Justice

People of color need to speak out, collaborate and learn to navigate the system in order to bring environmental justice to their communities, Keynote Speaker Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome said at the fifth annual Taking Nature Black Conference.

From Wednesday to Friday, environmental activists and their allies learned how to have a larger impact in communities of color that are often the sites of polluted drinking water, flooding, houses with lead paint and broken communities due to large building and road projects.

On Friday, White Newsome, senior director for environmental justice on the White House Council on Environmental Quality, urged conference attendees at the Silver Spring Civic Center to make connections with those once thought of as the enemy, including government officials, to bring environmental justice to their neighborhoods.

“We’ve got this. We can take nature Black. We can take on the world,” she said.

Using the letters in Black, she urged attendees to:

B – Build and understand the Black reality, in which people live in hazardous areas due to government and business decisions;

L – Learn to Navigate the System to get connected to resources;

A – Accountability of officials so they don’t just agree but make measurable improvements;

C – Collaborate outside of your comfort zone and work to rebuild trust;

K – Keep it real. “We don’t have time for fluff. We don’t have the luxury of time,” she said.

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