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Empowering Communities: A Recap of "Black Faces in Green Spaces" Event

By Alexis Harris

I recently had the privilege of hosting an event titled "Black Faces in Green Spaces" through Girl Plus Environment (GPE), focusing on the crucial topic of Energy Justice. The event, held on Sunday, February 25th, 2024, at the Pop Up and Create facility in Marietta, was a meaningful gathering that highlighted the intersection of environmentalism and African American communities.

We began by delving into the historical connection between African Americans and the environment, tracing back to times when the earth provided sustenance, served as a place of worship, and offered solace from the hardships of bondage. One significant discussion point was the initial fight for Energy Justice in Warren County, North Carolina, where toxic dumping occurred within the community. We also honored the late Miss Hazel M. Johnson, known as The Mother of the Environmental Justice Movement, for her pioneering efforts in combating environmental racism in Chicago, Illinois.

"Sharing my personal experience with environmental racism in Unincorporated DeKalb County, I highlighted disparities in natural resources and recreational areas compared to neighboring cities like Decatur. This experience fueled my passion for environmental justice, as I believe it is my duty to fight for energy justice and preserve natural resources for future generations."

Dr. Desiree Smith, of GPE, shed light on Georgia Power's financial exploitation of Atlanta citizens and her advocacy efforts for an equitable energy policy. She provided valuable tips for lowering energy bills and shared resources for facilitating environmental change in communities. These included a petition link to prevent Georgia Power from raising bills, a contact link for HB1263 representatives, and information on Georgia's Clean Energy Plan Benefits.

During the event, I encouraged attendees to share the information with others, stay updated on future events, network, and support GPE and Black Girl, Green Earth on Instagram. The event attracted 14 young Black women, and recruitment was conducted through various channels, including social media, flyers, and word of mouth.

Through projects like this, I aim to continue engaging communities on environmental issues through my organization, Black Girl, Green Earth. GPE has not only provided me with the tools and knowledge to embark on this journey but also instilled in me the courage to do so. I am committed to supporting GPE in its future endeavors and would highly recommend the Energy Justice Ambassador program based on the success and positive feedback received.

In conclusion, the "Black Faces in Green Spaces" event was a great success, fostering meaningful discussions and empowering actions towards environmental justice. Thank you, GPE, for this impactful opportunity!


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