By Audrea Lim for The Nation
Black and brown communities have long borne the brunt of our addiction to fossil fuels—and now they are leading the fight for a post-carbon economy.
The day before the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC, Preyton Lambert—skinny, dreadlocked and sporting black-frame glasses—was getting hustled on a boulevard near the National Mall. Another boy restrained his arms, before throwing him to the ground. His cheek pressed against the pavement. Two girls recorded the encounter on their phones as a crowd looked on.
The youth were part of a delegation from Philadelphia’s Soil Generation, a group of black, radical, urban farmers, and this was an act of street theater, organized by the national It Takes Roots coalition of grassroots environmental groups. Among them were indigenous, Appalachian, and immigrant activists, each performing the attacks and defense of their communities and environment. “This is what happens to young black men and women almost everywhere,” explained Lambert. Their scene represented the most potent symbol of contemporary American racism: a young black man being brutalized by a cop. “We’re not just here for climate justice.”
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Photo credit: Reuters / Stephanie Keith