Thumbing trough my local paper Sunday, I came across a full-page ad paid for by the Waterkeeper Alliance regarding a “RALLY FOR RACIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE” with the hashtag #RaiseAStink. This peaked my attention of course, so I called the number listed for Lower Neuse Riverkeeper (252) 637-7972 and spoke with my “source”. It seems the Waterkeeper Alliance, the NC Environmental Justice Network, and the NAACP are working together.
The Rally will be held on Wednesday, May 13 from 11 AM to 1 PM on Halifax Mall adjacent to the Legislature building in Raleigh. Featured keynote speakers are Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, who also believes “Climate Change” is a civil rights issue…. really. Also speaking is Reverend Curtis Gatewood with the NC NAACP. Finally, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. with Waterkeeper Alliance will address the crowd. Mr. Kennedy is a Harvard grad attorney who specializes in high profile environmental litigation. Quite the ensemble.
In discussing the intent of this rally I asked what racial justice had to do with environmental justice. It was stated that industries like poultry processing plants and large swine production facilities tend to set up in poor counties and in “Non-white communities with a lot of blacks and Hispanics or communities of color“. I pointed out to my source the obvious; it is both a demographic and statistical fact that agricultural communities are made up of higher percentages of blacks and Hispanics. Acknowledging this, my source stated this population in particular could be taken advantage of saying “it wouldn’t be allowed in a golfing community” and further adding, “The whole idea is not without controversy, but the impacts on poor and relatively powerless people from the placement of facilities is real.”
For the record, I don’t want our water polluted with ammonia from urine, air pollutants emitted from factories nor do I want fecal contaminants flowing into streams. That goes without saying. I also recognize that each community has the opportunity to vet these large producers or processing plants prior to allowing them to set up shop. Furthermore, these plants often set up in communities that need jobs. Elected leaders in county and city government have ample opportunity to analyze the benefits or detriments to their community. The citizens’ interest is protected by these elected officials by design. That’s what makes us a Republic, not a Democracy. No industry just sets up shop. In fact, many tax incentives have been paid for these industries to “come to town”.
My source continuously referenced the Warren County PCB Landfill in discussion. In 1978 approximately 69% of Warren County’s population was “non-White”. The reference states, “During the six-week trucking opposition, with collective nonviolent direct action, which included over 550 arrests, Warren County citizens mounted… “the largest civil disobedience in the South since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., marched through Alabama.” In the case of Warren County, Democrat Governor, Jim Hunt’s mishandling of these toxins was the real issue and it had nothing to do with minorities. See information on this rally here: Rally
Trying to put a racial spin on hog and chicken waste just stinks to high heavens. Instead of focusing on educating minorities, job skills training, traditional family values, and weening people of all color from government subsidies, this looks to be another tool special interest groups are using to get their way. Yes, we all must have clean water and air to live. Using the “RACE” moniker to create any false narrative is immoral and unclean.