Five U.S. Communities in Search of Environmental Justice – EcoWatch

Source: Five U.S. Communities in Search of Environmental Justice – EcoWatch

Across America, Five Communities in Search of Environmental Justice

 Inside Climate NewsJun. 23, 2020 08:54AM ESTCLIMATEA house in “Cancer Alley,” which stretches from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where a dense concentration of oil refineries, petrochemical plants and other chemical industries reside alongside suburban homes. Giles Clarke / Getty Images

By Kristoffer Tigue

In many ways, Maleta Kimmons defines her neighborhood by what it lacks.

Several houses near her home remain vacant. Last week, she had to drive seven miles just to buy groceries. And two weeks ago, at the height of the Minneapolis protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a police officer on May 25, looters broke into the only pharmacy in the area, forcing the store to close and leaving many in the neighborhood without easy access to life-saving medication like insulin or inhalers for asthma.

Kimmons, who prefers to go by the name Queen, said what her neighborhood doesn’t lack is pollution. Near North, where Queen lives, is one of several neighborhoods that make up north Minneapolis, an area that is predominately Black and is surrounded by a large number of polluting facilities and infrastructure, including roofing manufacturers, a trash incinerator, a metal recycling plant and several major interstate highways.

The ZIP code that covers much of north Minneapolis has the highest hospitalization rates for asthma in Minnesota, according to Minnesota Public Radio. It’s also home to the highest rates of lead poisoning among children in the city.

Add the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on top of these factors, and her neighborhood is in a “horrific” situation, said Queen, who is Black.

“Where are you going to get an asthma pump when Walgreens is closed?” she said. “I know a lot of people that have asthma, particularly in North.”

Queen moved to Minnesota from Chicago in 1974 at the age of 10, first living in what used to be St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood—a once thriving African American hub before it was cut in half by the construction of Interstate 94 in the late ’50s. Her family, she said, was “looking for a better life, where there would be more resources, education, housing.”

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