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Students help start National Organization

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Three SU students participate in forming Black National Environmental Organization

by Stephanie Anthony- La. Democracy Project, Inc. 

A new national organization was formed Sunday, December 12, 1999 to address the increasing problems of environmental injustice.  Black activist from 30 states met in an emergency gathering to discuss systematic attacks on black people with toxins throughout the nation.    More than 200 advocates met to address attacks from the political right against sick and dying black communities across the nation.    During the 5 day gathering the group collected names of individuals who died of toxins for a memorial quilt. 

Black people and other minorities are dying every day some racist entities want us to believe its all in our heads, explained one attendee.  It is well past time that black people came together nationally and then globally to let the truth be heard, said one elderly lady.  

People are suffering because not only is the environment being polluted but the political system that is supposed to give the people to protect themselves is being polluted said Stephanie Anthony of Louisiana Democracy Project.   Decisions are made by people who do not live near polluting facilities then large donations go out to insure the election of officials who are in agreement with the multi-national polluting corporation.  Louisiana is the poster child for environmental injustice, Anthony added.     

Several Louisiana advocates were involved in the meetings telling of cancers, tumors, kidney failure, miscarriages, still births, migraines, asthma and other abnormalities which plague their communities. 

The emergency gathering began with meeting with Black elected officials, businesspersons, federal state agency officials, health and medical professionals.  The black environmental justice activist urged their counterparts to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.  We have Black people in high places, we worked and marched and got bitten by dogs to get them there, now some have forgotten who they are. They have forgotten that they have the privilege of much sacrifice. 

Our meeting had time for venting pain and anger, reflecting on our history, spiritual healing, bonding and planning.  The gathering was all we had hoped for and more, explained Damu Smith a gathering coordinator.  The gathering ended with the participants establishing a national environmental and economic justice organization open to Black people working with and organizing Black people who believe in and work for the Principals of Environmental Justice.

Young fashion designer Melanie Obeng displayed environmental justice fashions.  The earth tone designs featured form flattering natural fabrics and recycled accessories.  My designs are rather daring but this environmental justice crowd is fearless and they loved them, explained the SU junior. 

SU theater major Claudia Anthony performed a monologue called Its in My Hands.

The emotional rendition featured a young environmentally challenged girls feelings as she batttles injustice.



 The facilitation team of this new organization will be meeting in Chicago, Ill.  Dr. Beverly Wright/LA, Felice  Donovan/NY, Vernice  Miller/DC, Alodia Bronco - Agriculture Street  Landfill/NO, Hazel  Johnson/Chicago, Morning Sunday, MD, Dr. Bob  Bullard/GA, Marjorie  Richards/Norco, Henry Clark/CA, Mildred McClain, GA,  Felicia Yetes, Southern  CA, Sara Perin/IL, Donnelle Wilkens/Detroit, Cecil  Corbin Mark/NY, Ms.  Stewart, Monique Hardin/LA, Doris Bradshaw/AK,  Eloise , Shiela Reed/CA .

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