Environmental Justice is a civil rights analysis of environmental decision making. Environmental racism is the discrimination in the enforcement of laws, deliberate targeting of COC for toxic waste disposal and industrial facilities, and the permitting of polluted facilities in overburdened communities. Black communities are impacted by disproportionate and cumulative exposure to multiple contaminants in air, water and soil which puts African Americans at higher risk of chronic disease. Environmental racism and injustice saps the strength of communities and all society.
Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice which has a base building office in Northern Manhattan neighborhoods and a federal policy office in Washington DC. In 1988, she began a long history of movement building — organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents and environmental justice groups across the country in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities . A graduate of Howard University, her work has received broad recognition: the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award For the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and Honorary Doctorates from Smith College and Lawrence University.
Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings usually begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest. Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Ethical Culture philosophy. A collection basket is passed and money is shared between the Society and a charity selected for that day. While contributions are always appreciated, Sunday meetings are free and open to the public. Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.
To view previous Sunday Platform addresses and interviews, visit the Ethical NYC YouTube channel.