Black Lives Matter.
Environmental Health Coalition stands in solidarity with the righteous protests against the killing of Black Americans by law enforcement. We are deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd and outraged that yet another person has lost their life because of the color of their skin.
The death of George Floyd is being mourned and protested this week while we also remember Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more whose names we will never know.
Black men and boys in America are 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die at the hands of police. Latinos, Native Americans, and Black women and girls are also at higher risk.
People of color have been patient – awaiting action from our leaders. Enough! It is time for action. EHC endorses this proposal by San Diegans for Justice to establish an independent, community-led Commission on Police Practices to investigate cases of police misconduct and bring much-needed accountability to SDPD.
These overt acts of racism – the killing of unarmed black men by police must be met with swift action. Prosecution and punishment will send a strong message that police brutality will not be tolerated.
Covert acts of racism must stopped as well.
#ICantBreathe is a particularly poignant plea that was ignored as George Floyd begged for his life and continues to be ignored for communities of color across the country where air pollution is unacceptably high. Racial segregation and environmental racism result in shorter life expectancies in communities of color than in white communities. Exposure to toxic pollution is a form of slow violence and slow death.
Amid the current pandemic, we are painfully aware that people of color bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 deaths. A recent Harvard study shows that a community with a very small increase of particulate pollution has an 8% increase in their COVID death rate. The percentage of black children suffering from asthma is nearly double that of whites and the death rate is 10 times higher.
Environmental racism and police brutality are a dangerous combination. If police don’t end Black lives, the pollution in their environment and communities will. Both are completely preventable.
EHC stands with all communities and in support of the Week of Action in Defense of Black Lives.