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On Earth Day, these Black-led organizations work to improve quality of life

by Tanesha Peeples
On Earth Day, these Black-led organizations work to improve quality of life
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In honor and celebration of Earth Day, we’re highlighting the many Black-led organizations working to improve our quality of life through environmental justice and access.

Environmental redlining impacts thousands of Black communities across America. While these issues affect our food security, healthcare access and outcomes, environmental quality and cleanliness of our neighborhoods, there are organizations working to combat these disparities.

The Center for Black Health & Equity works to make Earth Day more than just a holiday

The Center for Black Health & Equity’s mission is to facilitate public health programs and services to benefit communities and people of African descent.

Led by a team of all Black professionals, The Center for Black Health & Equity takes on issues such as tobacco and menthol use, cancer prevention and care, fibroids, food insecurity and mental health. Their advocacy works to create a world where all people of African descent are able to obtain optimal health outcomes.

Black Directors Health Equity Agenda

Black Directors Health Equity Agenda is a national collaborative of Black businesspeople, healthcare professionals, lawyers and educational administrators. 

As a team, they use their platform to advance work in ways that are likely to result in long-term, sustainable reductions in health disparities. The Black Directors Health Equity Agenda’s goals are to:

  • Articulate the business case for addressing the health disparities that impact Black people and other communities of color.
  • Foster increased collaboration among top health systems to share best practices and synergies.
  • Ensure equitable access to care (with a focus, most immediately, on vaccine education and delivery).
  • Address social determinants of health including housing, food insecurity, education and employment, through meaningful, yet practical programs while advocating for policies that can have a long-term, positive impact.

Black Urban Growers Association

Black Urban Growers Association (BUGs) also addresses the issue of food security in rural and urban areas. Founded in 2010 and based in New York City, BUGS is committed to building networks and community support for growers through education and advocacy around food and farm issues.  They work to nurture collective Black leadership to support Black agrarianism to reimagine Black futures.

WANDA: Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture

WANDA is an international organization that empowers women and girls of African descent to become the food sheroes of their communities. 

Through WANDA Academy, “WANDA women educate, advocate, and innovate to change the trajectory of our communities. WANDA is a digital sisterhood revolution of women leaders, advocates and entrepreneurs working to strengthen our families, communities, and economies by transforming our food system.”

Deep South Center for Environmental Justice

Founded by Dr. Beverly Wright in 1992, The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change in the Gulf Coast Region. They work to achieve these goals through research, education, community and student engagement for policy change,  as well as health and safety training for environmental careers.

Their ultimate goal is to create spaces for children and families in the Gulf Coast Region to thrive in a healthy and just environment.

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is unique in its partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). They’ve also hosted a number of advocacy initiatives and learning opportunities to foster community engagement.

Hip Hop Caucus introduces Earth Day to younger audience

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. is the President & CEO of Hip Hop Caucus. The organization has four main focus areas, including: strengthening democracy, climate change and environmental justice, civil and human rights and economic justice.  They advocate for climate action that will stop and reverse the impacts of the climate crisis that are happening now from the perspective of BIPOC communities.

Hip Hop Caucuses’ niche is youth and adult organizing and activism.  Its target population is 14 – 40 year-olds who identify with Hip Hop Culture and share values of justice and equity.

Covering multiple states throughout the country,

Hip Hop Caucuses’ leadership committees define local issue agendas, membership growth strategies, and advance national campaigns at the local level.

As millions recognize Earth Day in the U.S. its important to keep in mind who the climate crisis impacts the most and the need to disproportionately support these communities.

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