The issue of environmental justice is exceptionally prevalent in Detroit. Its success and growth founded on auto-industry plants, Detroit has some of the worst polluted air and land areas in Michigan. These areas disproportionately affect low-income and minority neighborhoods, who generally have less mobility. One fact that struck me about was “over 80 percent of African-American students attend school in the top decile of polluted areas in the state, as opposed to 44 percent of white students”. It is my belief that access to clean, unpolluted land, air, and water is a fundamental right, one that too many in Detroit go without.
Many of the companies responsible have been making empty claims to improve, and have been dragging their feet despite policies put into place. It makes me very proud of my peers in this program who are working on these issues and the non-profits that they work for. There is much work to do, but raising awareness is the first step to a better future.