RIGHT TO BREATHE
Health is a human right. Black people continue to die because we can’t breathe—our breath is snuffed out by racist systems and police, and our air is polluted by corporations and the politicians who line their pockets with profit. From over-policing; to food apartheid; to toxic air, water and soil—the intentional targeting and devaluing of Black communities must stop. No longer will we tolerate sacrificing Black lives for white profit and comfort.
“I can’t breathe” has become a rallying call from the streets for ending the recurring violence and death at the hands of police in Black communities. These were also some of the final words spoken by Eric Garner and resonate deeply, as our communities also cry out at the impacts this climate crisis is having on the air we breathe. We call out the constant corporate violence from extractive and polluting industries that prey on Black communities. From Lousina’s Cancer Alley to Flint, Michigan’s ongoing water crisis; from St. Louis to central Nigeria; from Sierra Leone to the Caribbean; to Richmond, California’s Chevron oil refinery; to all the communities across the Global Black Diaspora that are overburdened by extraction and pollution—we demand climate and environmental justice, as well as health equity for all Black communities. No longer will we accept the continued pollution of our environments, depletion of our clean air, and lawless law enforcement.
The Black Hive @M4BL Demands:
- An end to the poisoning of Black communities for the fossil-fuel industry’s profits, and an end to toxic infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipelines that leak cancer-causing chemicals and damage our bodies
- A global ban on fracking, which is linked to heart attacks, respiratory illness, and adverse birth outcomes.; no new fossil-fuel leases; an end to all fossil-fuel subsidies in the U.S. and across the globe; no more tax dollars spent on polluting our people
- Paid restitution by polluting companies for the generations of public-health damage they have inflicted upon Black communities
- A moratorium on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which pollute our air and water and lead to increased asthma and lung-disease rates
- An end to the deforestation of forests for industrial farming and production
- An end to industrial waste discharge that contaminates our drinking water, our land, and the air we breathe
- Prioritization of whole-home retrofits for single and multi-family homes and public housing units in Black communities; these retrofits will remove toxic materials such as lead and indoor mold, weatherize units to increase resilience to extreme heat and cold, and electrify homes and household appliances in order to end reliance on poisonous natural gas that kills millions every year through indoor air pollution
- Access to trees, green spaces, and nature for Black communities; through intentional design, the places where Black communities live are on average 5 degrees hotter than white ones—Black communities can and must become sustainable, walkable, resilient, green spaces
- No more false solutions that continue to pollute Black communities, such as carbon trading, nuclear energy that creates nuclear waste, liquified natural gas, and carbon capture storage that risks poisoning Black communities through CO₂ leaks—all of which prolong the life of the fossil-fuel industry