environmental racism

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Apples Don’t Fall Far from Trees: The Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

by EPA Editor and Columnist, Dr. Marsha Adebayo

If you think President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, is a raving right-winger, check out his mother. Ann Gorsuch’s administration of the Reagan era EPA was “marked by sharp budget cuts, in-fighting with career civil servants, a cozy relationship with corporate polluters, and lack of environmental enforcement,” paving the way for future crises, including the lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan.

Imagine a Women’s March Against Black Genocide and the Struggle of Tennie White

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Adebayo

The myth of Barack Obama’s concern for Black people masks the reality of his administration’s cynical service to corporate criminals. Tennie White, a heroic whistleblower, was railroaded to prison by Obama’s EPA for defending her community from environmental racism. Her persecution “must be seen as a part of a pattern and practice of criminalizing people who challenge corporate power.”

Communities Betrayed and Sick, the EPA Office of Civil Rights Under the Spotlight

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Adebayo

Just because Donald Trump hates the EPA doesn’t mean the agency has ever acted in the interest of Black people. “Whether the EPA is controlled by the Democratic or Republican Parties, the agency has had a consistent and negative impact on Black and Brown communities.” We’ve all seen the results: “Residents are forced to live in unsafe environments around landfills and oil refineries, and children are exposed to chronic diseases.”

Federal Judge Orders Water Delivery to Flint Residents

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Adebayo

Lead kills brain cells, but it took a federal judge to order that households in Flint, Michigan, be delivered four cases of bottled water to prevent further damage to their health. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of the mass poisoning “were rewarded with blanket immunity and protection by the State.” One wonders, “How different the reaction of the Obama administration would have been had ISIS claimed responsibility for poisoning Flint?”

Petition to Fire Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy for Gross Negligence in the Flint Water Crisis

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The U.S. government had ample time, evidence and powers to protect the people of Flint from being poisoned. Three recent presidents provided federal protection when states refused to do so. “The Flint experience, given political will, could have represented an historic opportunity for the president to intervene as did Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson” in civil rights cases. At the very least, President Obama should fire the EPA chief.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of April 4, 2016

Carolina Youths Demand Black Community Control of Police

The city of Greenville, South Carolina witnessed two large funerals in recent weeks: one for a white cop, the other for 17 year-old Deontaye Mackey, who police claim killed the officer and then committed suicide. Black young people don’t buy the cops’ version, and believe the deaths occurred as part of a police scheme to flood the community with drugs and guns. “This was a dirty cop, he harassed the Black community,” said Efia Nwangaza, director of Greenville’s Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination. Black youth “are committed to developing their own patrols and calling for Black community control of police,” and plan to “launch their own ‘people’s investigation’ into what actually happened.”

Cornel West Blasts Neoliberalism, Jesse Jackson Redefines “Socialism”

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., the Rainbow-PUSH leader who ran for president in 1984 and 1988, and Dr Cornel West, the nation’s best known Black public intellectual, discussed “Politics, Black Lives Matter and the 2016 Election” at Columbia University, in New York City. Rev. Jackson has endorsed no one in this year’s Democratic presidential primaries, but praised Bernie Sanders’ goal to “democratize capital” – which Jackson said means “the same thing” as socialism. Dr. West, who has been stumping for Sanders, described Hillary Clinton this way: “When you hear the word integrity, her name is not the first one that comes to mind. Granted, Hillary Clinton is better than the neofascist in-the-making, Donald Trump,” said West. “But neoliberals are still dangerous.”

Flint Water was Poisoned on Purpose

BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a former federal Environmental Protection Agency official who blew the whistle on her bosses nearly two decades ago, said the massive contamination of Flint, Michigan’s water system was “intentional.” “We know that the EPA and the State of Michigan knew this community was being poisoned for at least nine months,” but refused to do anything about it, said Coleman-Adebayo. “The Flint crisis makes the Tuskegee Experiment look like child’s play.” In light of Black people’s experience in this country, “How many times are we going to keep saying, ‘Oops, they made a mistake?’”

Don’t Confuse DeRay McKesson with Black Lives Matter

“I would separate DeRay McKesson from the founders of Black Lives Matter,” said Umi Selah, the former Phillip Agnew, of the Florida-based Dream Defenders. “McKesson is a self-proclaimed activist from an Ivy League school and from Teach for America, that created an online persona for himself and is now able to parlay that into huge revenue and a fledgling campaign for mayor of Baltimore,” he said, in an interview with Pascal Robert, a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi “have a history of doing deep grassroots organizing. What they created is something we haven’t seen since Occupy,” said Selah.

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Investigation into Flint: Children in the Crosshairs

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The crime against humanity that was committed in Flint, Michigan, has been silently replicated in cities all across the nation. Investigations show 2,000 water systems in all 50 states register excessive lead levels, with Ithaca, New York’s water hovering at “the threshold of hazardous waste.” The nation – especially its Black and brown communities – has been utterly betrayed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of March 21, 2016

Black Power Matters in 2016

“Fear of fascism being ‘right around the corner’ – this time in the form of Donald Trump – always means a vote for some kind of Democrat, as opposed to building our own independent political power,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The Coalition will hold a national conference on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and the Struggle for Black Self-Determination, in Harlem, New York City, on April 9. “What we’re seeing with this election is real evidence of the political weakness” of Black revolutionary forces, who have failed to keep Black self-determination at the forefront, said Yeshitela.

All Power to the Disrupters

Bernie Sanders apparently believes socialism can be achieved without much disruption of the prevailing order. The Democratic presidential candidate recently denounced all “disruptions” of political gatherings, including Donald Trump events. Veteran activist and historian Paul Street, author of They Rule: The 1% vs. Democracy, called “disruption” a “legitimate part of American life.” Said Street: “I guess Bernie needs to go back and re-read Howard Zinn’s best selling, classic People’s History of the United States.” Or anything by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Flint Isn’t EPA’s Only Victim

A Virginia Tech professor of Environment and Water Resources accused the federal Environmental Protection Agency of being “willfully blind to the pain and suffering of Flint residents, unremorseful of their role in causing this man-made disaster, and unable to learn from their mistakes.” Prof. Marc Edwards testified before a congressional hearing on the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water. “Malfeasance at the EPA from 2001 to the present has harmed cities all over the United States,” said Edwards.

Death of a Political Poet and Prisoner

Mondo Welanga, born David Rice 68 years ago, died in a Nebraska penitentiary cell after spending the past 46 years serving a life sentence, along with Ed Poindexter, in the death of an Omaha cop. Amnesty International recognized Welanga and Poindexter as Prisoners of Conscience. Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, called them “soldiers for the people, dedicated to their defense and security.”

Walanga was a poet, some of whose works appeared on Prison Radio. His 2015 poem When It Gets To This Point condemns those who “replace facts with spin” as

“the beatings and the chokings and shootings
of our boys and men
by these wrong arms of the law
proceed in orderly fashion
before the sometimes sad
sometimes angry faces of
our uncertain
our hesitant
disbelief.”

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McCarthy and Snyder to Testify before House Oversight Committee on the Poisoning of Flint’s Children

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Crimes against humanity have been committed in Flint, Michigan. Punishment must fit the crime. “It is time to remove all political actors both in the federal and state governments from public service and refer them to DOJ for criminal prosecution.” That includes the EPA, “an agency governed by fear, recrimination, retaliation and discrimination.”

Colonialism in Michigan’s Little Africa

by Mark P. Fancher

The rulers of Michigan believed the quickest path to economic development was to place the state’s Black cities under the control of a single, appointed emergency manager. The policy is domestic colonialism in practice, “an implicit – but distinct – embrace of the idea that people of color are inferior, incompetent” – and disposable.

The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective

by Tom Stephens 

The takeover of Michigan’s majority Black cities by emergency managers was the direct cause of the poisoning of Flint. However, the legal groundwork for the crime was laid a generation ago in two court cases that “established de facto environmental policy to allow such pollution in these communities.”  

Repeal Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law

by Shea Howell

Michigan Governor Rick Synder has agreed to testify before a congressional committee about his role in poisoning the people of Flint. The evidence is incontrovertible. Snyder’s emergency financial manager law is designed to disenfranchise local citizens, and “has been used almost exclusively on poorer African American communities that are strong sources of democratic power.”

Reviving the Fight Against Environmental Racism

by Bryan K. Bullock

The movement against environmental racism lost its way when it was subsumed into environmental “justice.” Racism remains paramount. “African descendant people are burdened by environmental issues unequally compared to their white counterparts.” The struggle demands a human rights approach. “We must recognize that although we are separated by land, sea and language, we are united in our desire to be reclaim and maintain our basic humanity.”

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