Together, we celebrate Black History Month to recognize the contributions, sacrifices, and hardships of the African Americans who have helped shape this nation.
This year’s Black History Month celebrates a special theme, Black Health and Wellness, paying recognition to health care providers and medical scholars who have been so impactful in keeping their communities safe as we enter our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a sad truth that underserved communities have been disproportionately affected by the ongoing pandemic, resulting from a lack of access to healthy food, health care, safe housing, and healthful environments. IPC recognizes that these injustices will only be amended by a joint effort to bring equity to all of our communities and we are committed to playing our role in moving that pendulum forward.
In Pope Francis's Laudato Si', he makes a striking point that “we are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the underprivileged, and at the same time protecting nature." (139)
At its core, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake believes that protecting our environment is a moral quest seeking justice not only for the natural world, but also ourselves and future generations, who we so often forget are part of the natural world. We are all intricately connected not only to one another, but to the environment around us that sustains and nourishes us both physically and spiritually. Often, it is the most vulnerable and marginalized communities that bear the brunt of negative environmental impacts from pollution and mistreatment of Creation. This environmental injustice and environmental racism is unfair and immoral.
It typically manifests in three primary forms:
- Environmental burdens are greater in a specific geographical area that is composed primarily of people of a specific race or income level due to historic systemic barriers to power.
- Specific groups of people are intentionally left out of decision-making regarding environmental issues in their own communities due to systemic racism.
- Lack of enforcement or proper oversight in specific areas renders meaningless the regulations meant to protect members of the community.
Beyond the environmental injustices we witness borne by communities of color, poor stewardship of the environment also represents an immense injustice to the most voiceless of populations: the unborn generations that will follow in our footsteps here on Earth.
As Dr. King said, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
As we continue to drive ahead into 2022 let us all remember what it means to care for our home in an equitable way.
If you are interested in learning more about Black History Month or want to support IPC’s efforts to support Diversity Equity Inclusion & Justice (DEIJ), please consider checking out some of these opportunities and resources!
- See updated information on our Advocacy Page about the ‘Maryland Human Rights Amendment’ and the ‘Maryland the Beautiful Act’, and learn how these pieces of legislation could play an important role in uplifting our Black communities here in Maryland!
- Read and learn more on our Resources for Environmental Justice page!
- Check out our upcoming Events Page, and stay tuned for more!
- If you missed it, check out the recording from our recent Chesapeake Conversation: Highway to Nowhere, and learn all about the impacts and implications of Baltimore’s failed I-170 Highway, and the legacy of damage it has left behind.
Thank you for all you do to help uplift communities, preserve our home, and care for our environment. We can’t wait to see what we accomplish together in 2022!
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