Damu Smith to Address Environmental Racism at Congressional Black Caucus

Media release - February 16, 1999
Greenpeace toxics and environmental justice specialist, Damu Smith, speaks to a national audience on environmental racism and environmental impacts on human health during the Congressional Black Caucus 29th Annual Legislative Conference on Managed Health Care.

Greenpeace toxics and environmental justice specialist Damu Smith will speak to a national audience on environmental racism and environmental impacts on human health during the Congressional Black Caucus 29th Annual Legislative Conference on Managed Health Care today. The conference is taking place in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 16, 10 a.m. at the Washington D.C. Convention Center - Hall C.

Damu Smith and veteran civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), who was arrested several times for his protests against Jim Crow segregation laws, will discuss the connections between race, human health and the environment.

Mr. Smith has worked with poor, predominantly African American communities in Louisiana that are speaking out against chemical industries and government support of these industries. Polluting facilities have turned the state into a "global toxic hot spot" and have earned the Mississippi River corridor the notorious nickname "Cancer Alley." In addition, Mr. Smith has led numerous national delegations on fact-finding missions through Louisiana, helping to expose the high rates of cancer and other illnesses caused by toxic pollution.

Environmental racism is evidenced by industry practices and government policies that fail to protect lower-income, African-American communities such as those along Louisiana's "Cancer Alley."

"After years of witnessing first-hand the tragic health, social and economic costs the chemical industry has heaped upon communities of color in Louisiana and across the nation, it is heartening to know that the Congressional Black Caucus recognizes this as a major health crisis," Mr. Smith said. "I hope this Town Hall Meeting can spark a deeper national dialogue, as well as immediate action, on how to protect people of color and all Americans from further devastation."

Damu Smith will be available on the day of the Town Hall Meeting for interviews.

Read a transcript of Damu Smith's speech.