Black Lives Matter
In recent weeks, our discussions have centered on our response to COVID-19; this historical crisis is a reflection of the problems built into a system that neglects and degrades Black and Brown communities. We know that these communities have long faced struggles on multiple fronts, including disproportionate exposure to environmental and toxic substances. We came to a simple conclusion: we have all been weathering the same COVID storm, but it is clear that we are not all in the “same boat.” COVID is affecting people, and communities, differently. Environmental toxins and disproportionate exposures of Black and Latino communities in particular, have made those communities more susceptible to COVID-19.
Then, we watched horrified as a corrupt system that fosters to injustice and racial discrimination enabled even more police brutality in Black communities. The assault and subsequent murder of George Floyd, and far too many other Black people before and since, by police, and also armed citizens who clearly don’t believe that Black lives matter, is absolutely inexcusable, incompatible with a humane society, and should not have occurred. We are sickened by the actions of the officers, the grossly negligent, provocative, and violent response of the Trump administration, and the violence perpetrated by many White people beyond the police. We stand in solidarity with those on the front lines protesting, and those who are facing the daily challenges and life-threatening realities of living while Black. BLACK LIVES MATTER.
As with COVID, we understand these traumatic events are affecting people, and communities, differently. It’s okay to take time for yourself and your family at this time if you need to, we stand with you. It is critical that we prioritize taking time for ourselves, and families, especially during these moments. We acknowledge that our Black peers, friends, family, and neighbors are bearing the greatest burden of this trauma. We pledge to support them so that they can be safe and healthy in their personal and professional lives.
Every day, our members like NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, Make the Road New York, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, The Labor Institute, Wind of the Spirit – Immigrant Resource Center, and Work Environment Council of New Jersey to name just a few, work with Black and Brown communities to provide resources and support. Every day, these communities are faced with environmental threats to their health and wellbeing in their homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. As we’ve witnessed this week, simply one’s Blackness can be a threat to a person’s very existence. The weathering of the exposures to harmful chemicals in water, air, and food have placed environmental and psychological burdens on Black and Brown bodies over time, and is too much burden for any to bear. We need to rededicate ourselves to long-term systemic changes to prevent further harm.
We can’t go back to business as usual, and we don’t want to. Cancer Free Economy Network is committed to racial justice, equity, and systemic change; we will work to ensure that our practices, partnerships, and strategies reflect these principles so that we can all live with integrity, with clean air, water, and food, an economy that works for all, and a world where no one needs to live in fear because of who they are.
CFE Network Council and Staff
Arturo Archilla (Labor Institute)
Kathryn Alcantar (Center for Environmental Health)
Motaz Attalla (Garfield Foundation)
Kimathi Boothe (Northern Oakland (Michigan) Branch NAACP)
Fred Brown (Forbes Funds)
Marianne Engelman-Lado (Yale School of Forestry; EJ Clinic Vermont Law School)
Ruth Rominger (Garfield Foundation)
Mark Rossi (Clean Production Action)
Nsedu Witherspoon (Children’s Environmental Health Network)
Jim Young (Labor Institute)
Debra Erenberg (CFE Strategic Director)
Andrea Braswell (Center for Environmental Health, Policy/Legal Coordinator)
Amanda Hernandez (Silent Spring Institute, Health/Science Coordinator)
Ana Pieczanski (Fundraising Coordinator)
Anayana White (Communications Coordinator)
Kayla Williams (Clean Production Action, Market Shift Coordinator)