Speakers from Environmental Justice Society Present to School for MLK Day
On Friday, January 25, the Hanover High School Administration Committee hosted speakers from the Environmental Justice Society from the Vermont Law School in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The main topic of the presentation was environmental justice, or EJ. EJ is how environmental occurrences create a “cycle of disproportionate impacts in communities of color and low-income communities” (EJLS Website). Environmental Justice Law Society (EJLS), the place the presenters were from, has the goal of breaking this cycle. They focus on reaching out to different communities to spread awareness and promote activism of this topic, as well as going to different locations and being proponents for change there.
The presentation started with Sage McGinley-Smith (‘21) and Clay Kynor (‘20), the chairs of the Administration Committee, giving an introductory speech about both the presenters and their topics.
The three tireless and enthusiastic presenters were Jameson Davis, Arielle King, and April Urbanowski. They started their presentation by defining EJ and then moved on to talking about different events where EJ was needed or shown. The presenters had students come up to the front and hold posters, creating a tangible timeline of the different events, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. The timeline was broken up with personal stories from the presenters and their experiences with environmental justice. These ranged from schools built on toxic wastelands to thinking that having polluted lake water was “normal”. Most striking to many students and faculty was a study showing the direct correlation between the location of low-income or minority communities and toxic waste dumps, showing how they are almost always in the same place. The presentation sparked class discussions in rooms around the school.
There was a reception afterward, where people were able to ask more direct questions about EJ and dive deeper into the topics brought up in the presentation.