with Jacqui Patterson, Senior Director of the Environmental and Climate Justice Program for the NAACP
Posted Feb 07, 2018
Share the Video
A recent study, funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency, discovered that exposure to air pollutants is notably influenced by race. Jacqui Patterson, Senior Director of the Environmental and Climate Justice Program for the NAACP discusses the organization’s efforts in providing resources and supporting community leadership by addressing this human and civil rights issue.
Traynham: In the United States today, communities of color in lower-income communities have disproportionate exposure to all forms of pollution and the associated health risks than higher income areas. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I´m Robert Traynham. Joining me for discussion about environmental justice is Jacqui Patterson. She is Senior Director of the Environmental and Climate Justice Program for the NAACP. Jacqui, welcome to the program.
Patterson: Thank you.
Traynham: So what I just said a few moments ago is really sad to say. Please confirm that it´s true or not true that communities of color, specifically communities where perhaps maybe the medium income is a bit lower than their white counterparts, there is a predisposition, if you will, that that community would be more exposed to pollution.
Patterson: That is true, and it tells the true that even higher income communities of color are more likely to have toxic facilities than lower-income white communities.
Traynham: So it doesn´t matter about the income in this context. It really matters about your skin tone.
Patterson: I mean, both matter, but yeah. But yeah.
Traynham: Why is that the case, Jacqui
Patterson: Yeah. So, it´s a couple of things. One is often the communities -- whether it´s communities of color or low-income communities not necessarily have the political power to fight back against the siting of a toxic facility in those communities. Also property values are often tied to both skin color and low income. And so when property values are lower, that´s where the corporations are more likely to place their facilities there because it´s cheaper for them to operate there.
Traynham: I´m gonna go out on a limb here a little bit. Is it also because there´s just a lack of community organization at the local level Perhaps maybe to push back or to fight back Let me give a prime example. Let´s just say this is community A, and this is a white community that has a very affluent community. They´re very vocal in their community, and this is community B that´s all predominantly African-American. And perhaps maybe there´s local -- no local infrastructure. If I´m a corporation, I´m gonna go with this community as opposed to this one because there´s gonna be less resistance for lack of a better term.
Patterson: Well, what´s interesting is that as much as that might be, to some extent, true, what´s happening is that there might be equal organizing in both communities.
Traynham: I see.
Patterson: But that higher-income community or that white community has more political power. So this community could be fighting all day, every day, but they´re not gonna necessarily have the same influence as that organized -- that other organized community.
Traynham: Talk to us about your work. Talk to us about the NAACP. How did you get involved with this You, specifically, but also the NAACP.
Patterson: Yeah, so the NAACP really came into this through the climate change lens. They were finding as climate change impacts disasters, ships, and agricultural yields, where specifically impacting communities of color, then they really were starting to get demands from their communities -- our communities -- to say that there was assistance needed to deal with. Whether it´s the impact of Hurricane Katrina or these other disasters. And so they decided to pass a resolution on engaging around climate change. And from there, the program was born.
Traynham: And your work in this How did you get involved
Patterson: My work in this was actually started with my work on women´s rights internationally and seeing the disproportionate impact of climate change and various environmental injustices on women around the world. And then also working in the U.S. and seeing how women are even more impacted, whether it´s the spikes in violence that happen after disasters, or the fact that the toxins that come out of these smokestacks are endocrine disrupters. It affects reproductive health for women.
Traynham: Jacqui, I´m going to go out on a limb here in the minute or so we have left. I´m working under assumption, and it´s based on my personal experience that, in my community of color, we don´t talk about the environment that often. We talk about recycling. We talk about hybrid cars. We talk about the cost of gasoline and so forth. But in the context of an organizing voice, if you will, around landfills, around coal mines and fracking and so forth, that´s just not part of our nomenclature. Is that true throughout the African-American community And if so, how do we change that How do we change that narrative
Patterson: Yeah, so it varies. There are communities like the Mossville Environmental Action Network, which is in Louisiana, that have been fighting a fight around the toxic facilities that have been in their communities for years and years and years. In Chicago, fighting against the Fisk and Crawford coal plants for a decade, which finally resulted in those plants´ closure. So communities who are on the front lines of those impacts and really feel those impacts and know where those impacts are coming from, they´ve been slogging away. There´s other communities that, for them, that coal plant in their backyard, they don´t even know that it´s why half the kids in their school are carrying nebulizers to school every day, or half the people in their church are dragging around respirators and so forth. And so, those are the communities with whom we´re working to kind of help to make those linkages and help folks to organize to make the changes that they needed to make.
Traynham: Jacqui Patterson with the NAACP, thank you very much for joining us. And keep up the great work.
Patterson: It´s a pleasure. Thank you.
Traynham: And thank you for joining us, as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I´m Robert Traynham.
The Asian American Pacific Islander community makes up six percent of the U.S. population, but is growing more than four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. Asians are the largest group of immigrants to enter the U.S. as immigrants. A conversation with Janelle Wong, Senior Researcher at AAPI Data about the fastest-growing but one of the understudied racial groups in the United States.
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted this summer in Seattle, with more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 states and the District of Columbia. Jason Schriml of the Special Olympics USA Games discussed the impact the games and this organization that highlights athletes with intellectual disabilities through highly competitive sports, uplifting experiences, and demonstrating inclusion for all.
Preparations are underway for the 2020 United States Census. A fair and accurate count of all communities is of major importance, as data gathered is used to determine federal funding, congressional representation and more. For some populations, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the process can be of concern due to immigration status, language barriers and fear of providing personal information. John Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC joins Robert Traynham to discuss the importance of an accurate count, especially for the AAPI population in America.
Filipino Americans make up the third largest subgroup of Asian Americans today, with millennials comprising nearly a quarter of this population. And while there about 4 million Filipino and Filipino Americans living in the U.S today, this population is underrepresented in political and leadership roles. Brendan Flores, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations joins Robert Traynam to discuss the welfare and well-being of Filipino Americans and efforts to strengthen the personal and professional development of young Filipino Americans.
According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. Asian population increased 72 percent between 2000 and 2015, resulting in the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group. And as this population continues to grow, there remains a lack of involvement in politics and corporate leadership positions. Kendall Kosai, Deputy Director at OCA National discussed programs designed to help high school students explore their identity, and encourage them to become future community leaders.
Korean Americans, like many other Asian Americans, are recent immigrants to the United States, emigrating in large numbers after 1965. As first and second generation Americans, many still have close ties with their homeland, where family and friends still reside. A discussion with Sam Yoon, Executive Director of the Council of Korean Americans on the Korean American community, including their ties to both North and South Korea.
There is a current trend toward incivility dominating public discourse in the United States. A grassroots campaign is working to reverse that trend, encouraging civility to improve collaboration, compromise and productivity in legislative bodies. Jody Thomas, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Women Legislators discusses efforts by NFWL and partnering organizations to encourage civil discourse for elected officials.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment rates in tech fields are expected to grow at a rate faster other types of employment. In spite of this growth, certain minority groups remain underrepresented in the tech job market. The Latino community comprises 18 percent of our nation's population, but makes up only 4 percent of employment in tech fields.
Brent Wilkes, CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens joins Robert Traynham for a discussion on diversity in STEM and the Latino tech gap. This discussion continues in part 2 of the Latino Technology Gap.
Interview recorded Sept 6, 2017.
The #MeToo movement is raising awareness around sexual violence, bringing the issue to a national conversation. On this episode of Comcast Newsmakers, Ebony Tucker, Advocacy Director of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, discusses prevention efforts and training, funding, and instances of abuse among certain populations.
On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – the first comprehensive tax reform passed since 1986, under President Reagan. While charitable deductions have been preserved, some non-profit organizations are concerned about a potential drop-off in donations next year. An interview with Steve Taylor, Senior Vice President for Policy at United Way Worldwide.