This was written by Shakeila Stuckey James, Moms Clean Air Force Regional Field Manager:
As the mom of two black girls and one black boy, I am deeply concerned about the disproportionate environmental health risks for African-American children. Black communities are more likely to be situated closer to major highways and highly polluting facilities. Black children have a higher risk of asthma, a lung disease made worse by air pollution. I see this in my own community of Simpsonville, SC and especially my hometown of Camden, SC. Thus, as a mom I have asked myself many times what I can do about it.
Community Rx is a new program of Moms Clean Air Force that focuses on just that. I am proud to be managing this program, which is committed to advocating, educating, amplifying, and engaging around issues of environmental injustice that affect the health of African-American communities.
Why? Because at the end of the day, the right to clean air is a civil right.
We are launching Community Rx during Black History Month with a weeklong series of events in and around Atlanta, Georgia. Across the country, minorities live in more polluted areas and areas with lower air quality than any other group, and Atlanta is no exception, with too many minority residents living close to pollution “hotspots” such as heavy traffic areas, brownfields, landfills, and industrial facilities. As the birthplace of the civil rights movement, Atlanta clearly emerged as the right place to launch our initiative. With on-the-ground events in Fulton County, Georgia, where predominantly African American residents breathe unhealthy levels of air pollution, Community Rx is partnering with community groups and African American leaders to take action and learn about the environmental issues that impact our families.
Through Community Rx, we are providing moms with additional tools to help bring their communities together to learn about the environmental issues that impact children and families in their area. We’re also reaching moms in faith communities through our newly developed Bible Study Curriculum that draws on the connections between the gospel and our environment.
As we fight for better air quality, we must also fight for equity — because every single child deserves clean air to breathe, no matter where they live or the color of their skin.
View highlights from the Community Rx launch week of action:
- Monday, February 18, 1:00 – 1:30 PM: The Community Rx Program will be kicking off our launch week with a Facebook LIVE featuring our very own Regional Field Manager, Shakeila James. Join us as Shakeila provides an in-depth introduction of Moms Clean Air Force, the Community Rx program, and the format for this amazing launch week! Missed the live event? No worries! Watch the livestream video here.
- Tuesday, February 19, 6:30 – 7:30 PM: Join Moms Clean Air Force as simultaneous Community Rx Table Talk events are held in the tri-state area of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Three Table Talks in South Carolina (Greenville, Columbia, Florence) and three Table Talks in North Carolina (Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh) will help to introduce Community Rx to small groups of 10-20 people. Missed the live event? No worries! Watch the livestream video here.
- Wednesday, February 20, 2:00 – 2:30 PM: Join Moms Clean Air Force for a LIVE Bible Study event featuring an interactive discussion on the connectedness between God’s commandments and the earth, us and the earth, the call on the community and why churches and communities of faith are important to the environmental justice movement. Missed the live event? No worries! Watch the livestream video here.
- Thursday, February 21, 2:00 – 2:30 PM: Join Moms Clean Air Force for a Facebook LIVE with Shakeila James and Chancee Lundy Russell, as we discuss the importance of living clean and building clean. Missed the live event? No worries! Watch the livestream video here.
- Saturday, February 23, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Join Moms Clean Air Force to plant a healthy tomorrow through a Community Rx Tree Planting. The tree planting will take place in the Kirkwood & Ormewood Forest area of Atlanta, alongside our partners Trees Atlanta and NeighborWoods. View photos and highlights here.
- Saturday, February 23, 6:00 – 7:30 PM: Join Moms Clean Air Force as we host one big Community Table Talk event acknowledging and informing the week’s participants and local community members who have served in and around African-American communities. We will have the opportunity to engage in a meaningful conversation surrounding the topic(s): What is the right Rx for the Black community? What does it mean to have a “seat at the table”, and what does it mean to “build a table”? Missed the live event? No worries! Watch the livestream video here.
- Speakers included:
- Dr. Mildred McClain , Co-founder and Executive Director, Harambee House/Citizens For Environmental Justice
- Shakeila James (Moderator), Regional Field Manager, Moms Clean Air Force
- Dr. Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, Assistant Professor, Spelman College Environmental & Health Sciences Program and Co-Founder, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance
- Rev. Leo Woodberry, Executive Director, New Alpha Community Development Corporation and Environmental Justice Chair, Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 campaign
- Rev. Michael Malcom, Executive Director of The People’s Justice Council and Alabama Interfaith Power & Light
- LaTricea Adams, Founder and President, Black Millenials 4 Flint
- Whitney Brown, Staff Associate for Communications & Administration, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light
- Speakers included:
- Sunday, February 24, 10:30 – 11:30 AM: Join Moms Clean Air Force as we wrap up our Community Rx launch week in worship. Worship day will be a time to reflect on the launch week’s activities and fellowship in Christ. We will fellowship at Impact Worship Center in Mableton, GA with leaders: Dr. Arthur T. Jones, Jr. and First Lady Tonya Jones. View photos and highlights here.