Hi Mark, thanks for your comment, it’s very similar to some of the things I was told by my critique group — this piece is an excerpt from my forthcoming full-length book (shameless plug, I hope you will buy it when it drops on Amazon on April 1), and some of my ideas definitely do not sit well with White folks; I was told by one reviewer that after the past year he has “social justice fatigue”.
This isn’t a “trendy” thing for me; it’s an issue that’s been close to my heart for the past 20 years. I spent my early career in advocacy, policy development & research for the federal government. I have my Master’s Degree in Public Policy with a focus on economic inequality.
Green spaces, public lands, and environmental justice are inextricably linked in my mind. The disproportionate famine of public parks in low-income communities, contaminated waste sites disproportionately located in low-income neighborhoods, the 2 million Americans living within a mile of sites vulnerable to flooding, highways built like walls dividing White from Black communities — no accident. All of this was architected and planned by human hands. There’s also an urban food crisis and the “unwelcome on public lands” issue I mentioned.
You’re right, I need to find a way to make it as clear to others as it is to me that this is the only way forward, to get us all on the same page in such divided times. I’m White, so still trying to sort whether I need to temper this, make the connection more clear, or ignore it — since it could simply be people’s White Fragility on full display. We all have a right to fresh air, clean water, and green spaces. My goal is to bring people together, not further divide us. Love your ideas on how I can continue to inspire rather than divide.