“REVOLT Black News Weekly” aired on Friday (Dec. 23) to discuss the issue of water pollution in predominately Black communities and who should be held responsible. REVOLT Special Correspondent Mara S. Campo led the special episode titled, “The Real Thirst Trap: Our Cities in Crisis.” She was joined by Michigan State University law professor Jeremy Orr, Millennials For Flint founder and CEO LaTricea Adams, and environmental justice activist and community organizer Calandra Davis.
Campo opened the show by discussing the alarming ramifications of water and air pollution and how Black people in the U.S. are disproportionately impacted by both.
She then turned her attention to Jackson, Mississippi, where more than 150,000 residents have had to deal with unclean drinking water after the Pearl River flooded due to a storm in late August 2022. As a result of the flooding, the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant, which is the city’s largest water treatment facility, stopped working properly. Shortly after, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency to provide Jackson with federal aid.
Later in the show, Campo held a roundtable discussion with Adams, Orr and Davis to examine Jackson’s water crisis and the next steps residents should consider taking. Orr told REVOLT that the community needs to hold elected officials accountable for their role in the water pollution disaster.
“State governments, local governments, and federal governments have not only allowed but oftentimes required certain toxic infrastructures to be placed in Black communities, low-income communities, and have subjected our communities to environmental degradation for decades,” he declared.
Adams chimed in and stated that while, in recent months, “funds… have been contributed towards environmental justice… it’s still not clear if that funding will go directly to frontline communities, particularly with African-American and Latinx communities.” She asserted that if there is a lack of “accountability from a community perspective to ensure that those people who have [encountered] legacy harm [receive justice], then that funding really is null and void.”
On the contrary, Davis stated, “It’s just a tad bit crazy to go to the system for the solutions when the system caused the problems.” She suggested Black communities organize “in order to own and operate our water systems.”
Watch this week’s special episode up top. Plus, be sure to catch the rest of the “REVOLT Black News Weekly” season on the REVOLT app.