Environmental Injustice, The Need for A Real Discussion

Visionaries of such films as Pumzi, White and Planet created their films to present an ever present increasing truth. We live in a society which is becoming more millitaristic and oppressive towards its citizens. Killing and harassing citizens for the color of their skin and economic status. We do not want to believe acknowledge a fellow human can kill another for the acts of walking, breathing and driving. Our homes are being invaded by police turned storm troopers. Sanctioned by those sworn to protect its citizentry. Instead our rights are being stripped away daily.

I participated as a panelist recently where these films were discussed. The films were great, it’s the discussion which caused concern. Audience members were not familiar with some of the concepts introduced, and tried their best to find ways inwhich to enter a futuristic disconnected discourse. I informed my host in detail what my presentation would address. Our communities are in need of clear messages for saving our lives. Meaning I was able to stay on topic, with the information I came to share. Sadly, there was an attempt to steer me away from race and oppression as it relates to environmental justice, to no avail. This was rooted in the ever present desire to protect the sensibilities of White audience members. We need truth tellers.

I spent time trying to adjust my seating. My fellow panelist seated next to me blocked my view of the moderator. This was awkward and audience members noticed. It was cumbersome trying to gain access to my materials and water without being noticed. Panels work best when utilizing long tables. This gives panelists needed room for water and materials. Our moderator should have been a fellow panelist. In all fairness she tried to keep the conversation on track and encourage the audience to participate. The audience did not connect on a real and needed level. This was a missed opportunity for audience members to learn and engage in what could have been a passionate discussion.

What was the missing link? Needed was a discussion/conversation that contributed to audience members leaving with an understanding of environmental justice, climate change, natural disasters, global warming, ecology and those responsible for the inequalities. The need to connect environmental justice with their daily lives. We as Blacks, people of color and poor people are most affected by environmental injustice. Discussions and the futuristic are all interesting. However, the question remains how are we going to live healthy lives today within our community? How are we going to receive the quality and equal services afforded wealthy communities?

©Lorraine Currelley 2014. All Rights Reserved.


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