Audio by artist kimberly_jackson_morris

How can the mostly white middle class environmental movement engage w/ Black & low-income communities ?

6:57 minutes (6.36 MB)

Kimberly Jackson Morris & Jamira Jamison
Kimberly Jackson Morris & Jamira Jamison

Morris and I spoke during President Obama's visit to Columbus on Sept 13. Most of the protestors who had been there to tell Obama to not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project had left. Keystone XL would carry tar sands oil from Canada to Texas where it would be refined and shipped to other countries.

There were no people of color in the protest, though a Black elder sat nearby on a lawn chair so as to stay in the shade during the hot September day.

Morris said the under-representation of people of color in the environmental movement is a case in point on the importance of education.

"We're not educated on those facts...When you go into lower economic areas, there's no one standing there giving us information about a pipeline."

Morris said white middle class, environmental activists should spend time in Black and low-income parts of town.

"Go into those communities and talk to people. There are people who aren't too busy to listen. But the information isn't there. Do you go into these communities and speak w/ people about these things that you're protesting ? I'm talking about urban communities."

Morris said standing in the streets holding signs won't necessarily engage people who aren't currently involved with environmental and other causes.