CO-VID 19 has shown the importance of banding together for the common good of all. In addition, this may lead us to question ourselves, “Have I been coming together to fight other issues in our community? How have I been helping others that face multiple adversities at once?”
Environmental justice is a social movement that addresses multiple issues. The movement tackles how environmental hazards tend to disproportionately affect people of color and economically disadvantaged communities. The strong connections between environmentalism and racism and classism tend to be commonly overlooked, however the issue is not new. We can see this phenomenon in motion from the 1960s when agricultural workers of color boycotted the industry’s poor wage, working conditions and lack of protection against harmful pesticides to the recent American Indian tribes’ protests of the implementation of pipelines that have disastrous environmental impacts on their land and water supply. Environmental conditions, race and class are interconnected issues that need to be addressed simultaneously. When politicians support and vote in favor of bills that contribute to a hazardous environment instead of protecting ordinary citizens like you and me, they are complicit in and exacerbate environmental injustice. Current Pennsylvania House Representative of the 139th District, Michael Peifer, has voted yes to bills that roll back regulations for oil and gas industries, create a $670 million tax credit to subsidize petrochemical plants, limit environmental regulations and the repercussions of violating them, and give politicians authority to override regulations. Contrary to Michael Peifer, Marian Keegan has an unshakable dedication to ensuring the right to clean air, water and land for all. Voting Marian Keegan into office will prioritize the creation of jobs that help our economy and environment, remedying racial disparities, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. With Marian in office, our community can rally behind those in low-income economic classes and racial minorities. We need to actively fight against the political actions that undermine our environment.