Black History and Environmental Justice are Inextricably Linked

Dr. Bob Bullard, known as “the father of environmental justice”, has been sounding the alarm about environmental racism for decades with his groundbreaking research and data. He was the first to delve into environmental racism research, providing data about the propensity of pollution that burdens Black and Brown communities, and its correlation with health disparities. We encourage you to read this Scientific American article and this article in the Washington Informer to learn more about his life, research, and environmental justice advocacy.

A personal reflection from Chief Segura

As a young environmental justice advocate in the 1990s, I traveled to Washington, D.C. to represent Los Angeles in advocating for the first Presidential Executive Order for environmental justice, issued by President Clinton, and to help craft its priorities. This Executive Order paved the way for the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative.

It was there that I first met Dr. Bullard; indeed, we were all there partly due to his groundbreaking work. He has a powerful, unassuming, soft voice, a sort of oxymoron. You are compelled to listen not only because of the power and meaning of his words, and the heart behind them, but also the compelling data.

Dr. Bullard has been an inspiration to me and many decades of environmental justice advocates. This is especially true in the Southern U.S., where some of the gravest environmental crimes have occurred against Black communities, includes a tragic, dark legacy of slavery, and historical disinvestment of the nation’s Black and poor. Thank you, Dr. Bullard, for bringing us all the lens of truth, and sounding the environmental justice alarm with robust data and research that has led to many significant policy changes in the US and worldwide.