Abstract

The first half of this piece is an essay exploring environmental racism through the lens of the lead poisoning of Freddie Gray. The essay outlines some details of Gray’s lead poisoning and gives background and examples of how environmental degradation and exposure to toxins disproportionately affects people of color and the poor. The author argues that justice cannot be had while ignoring environmental racism, as unjust environmental conditions devalue Black bodies and the potential of Black and poor children worldwide. The second half of this piece contains a lesson plan for teachers to use along with this essay in high school and college classrooms. The lesson further explores definitions and examples of environmental racism, and asks students to research current cases of environmental injustice, use creative and analytical writing to reflect on what they’ve learned, and work with local community members to address an issue of environmental racism.

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