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Breathing While Black
How Environmental and Climate Issues Affect African Americans
Earth Day was first created in the spring of 1970 by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson. His goal was to bring awareness to the environmental issues that face America. Now over 50 years later, the day is often used to reflect on different ways to give back to Mother Nature.
Climate issues have been at the forefront of conversations over the past weeks. Notably, NASA scientist Peter Kalmus chained himself to the doors of JP Morgan Chase to bring awareness to the harmful effects of fossil fuels. And while these issues may seem too vast to comprehend, their effects harm some of the most vulnerable communities in the United States.
A study done by the University of Washington found that people of color, especially Black communities, were at risk for higher exposure levels to nitrogen dioxide, mostly found in car emissions. The study also tested for other air pollutants, including carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. “People of color are still more likely to be exposed to all six pollutants than white people, regardless of income level.”
Across the board, Black communities have faced an onslaught of compounding factors that create major environmental issues. Redlining forced many Black families into less desirable areas. Factories went up around these areas, creating polluted areas where families lived. 
Along the Mississippi, a stretch of factories and refineries form “Cancer Alley” where cancer rates run much higher than the national average. For the Black residents who call this place home, the lack of support only compounded the effects of pollution when COVID-19 broke out. 
The small community of St. John’s the Baptist parish, with a population of 43,000 in 2020, saw three deaths a day during the virus’ height. Pollution and the pandemic spelled disaster for the community.  
This is how environmental racism works.
“Breathing While Black” seeks to explore how the results of various environmental issues have greatly affected Black communities due to environmental racism. This can branch from redlining forcing Black residents to live in or near highly polluted areas, or Black communities slowly being swallowed by rising sea levels. These issues are not new, but the threat level continues to rise.
In the spirit of Earth Day, this collaboration between Howard University News Service and The Washington Informer brings to light the major environmental issues facing the Black community today. 
The intersections between racism and environmental justice highlight the weak spots that must be addressed. Healing the damage is a long one, but one that must be walked until everyone can breathe easy.
 – Chanel Cain and Donovan Thomas, Co-Editors, Howard University News Service
What's in the Water?

Disasters are not natural and that while the physical hazards we face like fires, floods, and storms have a natural origin. Disasters themselves are human caused. Vulnerability to disasters is caused by social, political, and economic processes as much as natural and physical hazards themselves. This is just a space-holder text that needs to be rewritten.

Disasters are not natural and that while the physical hazards we face like fires, floods, and storms have a natural origin. Disasters themselves are human caused. Vulnerability to disasters is caused by social, political, and economic processes as much as natural and physical hazards themselves. This is just a space-holder text that needs to be rewritten.

Disasters are not natural and that while the physical hazards we face like fires, floods, and storms have a natural origin. Disasters themselves are human caused. Vulnerability to disasters is caused by social, political, and economic processes as much as natural and physical hazards themselves. This is just a space-holder text that needs to be rewritten.

Connecting Heatwaves and Pollution With COVID-19, Respiratory and Other Health Issues