Letter to the Editor – Environmental movement needs diversity | Published in Alexandria Times

Last year in October, my letter to the editor was published in the Alexandria Times. Below is a copy of it.

To the editor:

After reading Ayana Elizabeth Johnson’s, “I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet,” I thought more about our world.

Racism is a big issue within our country. From slavery hundreds of years ago to harsh police brutality and incarceration rates today, African Americans remain victim to these realities; there is still a long way to go.

Unfortunately, the environmental movement, which is one of the most active moments today, is not completely diversified and equal as one would wish it was.

Predominantly Black neighborhoods are put at a disadvantage as they deal with fossil-fueled power plants and unregulated pollution and burning, as well as the lasting effects of redlining. This puts citizens’ health – and the planet’s – at risk. There are studies saying that Black people are more concerned about climate change, probably for the reasons just mentioned.

As Johnson said, “If we want to successfully address climate change, we need people of color.” Black people and other minorities need to share their stories, and others need to listen. Environmentalists need to become anti-racist. If we become more inclusive in fighting this battle for our planet, perhaps we’ll have a chance at victory.

-Nia Beane, Alexandria

That same day, they posted this piece, which provides some commentary on several letters to the editor.

“Beane points out that minorities are underrepresented in the ranks of environmentalists, despite being disproportionately impacted by pollution and environmental degradation.”

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