Reality Check | ecoWURD | radio
New Voices For Reproductive Voices La’Tasha Mayes and WE ACT’s Kerene Tayloe both joined ecoWURD radio on WURD’s Reality Check with Charles Ellison to discuss their new initiative Black Women, Green Future: Environmental Justice and the New Political Landscape. This effort captures the voices, perspective and action of Black women struggling and leading on the environment. New Voices will highlight a Black women-led environmental justice organizations and businesses in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Cleveland throughout Women of Color HERstory Month in March.
The emphasis on Black women in the environmental justice movement also establishes direct correlations between ecological crises and Black maternal health. A Journal of the American Medical Association study released in June 2020 found that “[t]he associations of climate change with women’s health have been further outlined to include a wide range of undesirable outcomes, such as worsening of cardiac disease, respiratory disease, and mental health, and exposure to an increasing number of infectious diseases. These adverse health effects are most consequential to at-risk populations, which include a high number of pregnant women and developing fetuses. Ten studies reported the association of racial/ethnic disparities with increased risk of preterm birth among mothers in minority groups; 8 of the studies noted higher risk for black mothers, which was the most consistent finding among the subgroups.”
“One way we’ve reached Black women in the community is, for example, by talking about toxic hair, beauty and personal products – because toxic products have a direct impact on your health,” said Mayes. “You don’t have to be a part of any movement to realize environmental racism and injustice is a problem … and that’s it is everywhere.”
“Our communities have historically been the sacrifice zone for White and more affluent communities,” said Tayloe. “And since we are on the frontlines of pollution and climate change impacts, we’re also stressing that our communities should be benefiting the most from Green Jobs.”
“Environmental racism is such a top threat to Black women & a priority because the first environment is the womb,” added Mayes. “Once we protect that, we talk more, plan more to make our built environment better.”