Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Laney College Baseball held a naming ceremony April 26 for its stadium, now called the Tom Pearse Diamond. The name change was approved by the Peralta Board of Trustees at its April 23 meeting. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Laney names baseball stadium, FabLab to relocate and more at 4/23 meeting for PCCD trustees
Eliot Faine, Staff Writer • May 15, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Archives
The search for a permanent president of the College of Alameda is down to three candidates. William “Terry” Brown (left), Melanie Dixon (middle), and Rebecca “Becky” Opsata will respond to community questions at public forums on Thursday. (Photo courtesy: PCCD)
Finalists for CoA President unveiled
Community questions accepted until midnight tonight
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • May 13, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024
Archives

    From Flint to East Oakland, environmental racism puts health at risk

    On Monday, Dean of Special Programs and Grants, Dr. Toni Cook welcomed Nehanda Imara to the podium at the College Of Alameda, “Introducing, the Bay Area’s environmental justice expert, Nehanda Imara!” Nehanda is an organizer at Communities For A Better Environment, an organization that advocates for toxic free communities. Nehanda also teaches Environmental Justice at Merritt College. Today she had come to speak about the Flint Water Crisis, and to remind us that this was not the first misconduct of environmental policy against people of color communities.

    The Flint Water Crisis is an ongoing issue that started in Apr. 2014. After a series of policy changes and the cessation of its Detroit water line, Flint began using its heavily polluted river as a source of water. The river contained extreme amounts of corrosive chlorides which severely deteriorated lead containing water pipes. This deterioration contaminated the drinking water with extreme concentrations of lead. These factors caused a multitude of Flint citizens to contract severe lead poisoning and legionnaires disease. Nehanda was here to argue that Flint, a predominantly black community, was a victim of environmental racism.
    Nehanda took the stage and spoke starkly.

    “Environmental racism, is a social injustice that is represented by disproportionately large environmental risks, cast upon people of color communities,” she said. “Whether we’re choking from police sponsored terror, or choking from East Oakland’s air quality, they both come from the same racism. This kind of environmental injustice is bigger than Flint.”

    She referenced how recently, the city of Oakland, which already has air quality problems, was going to allow a megasized crematorium to be built by the Neptune Society. This was until her organization was able to prevent it. “We have organized and organized,” she said. “We were able to stop them.”
    Bringing the focus back to Flint, Nehanda presented a chronology of the events that led to the water crisis. The order of events moved from, General Motors polluting the Flint River, to the emergency management law being enacted. “It all started when Governor Snyder started the Emergency Management Law,” she said.

    She described the series of corrupt management decisions that eventually led the town to source drinking water from the very river that G.M. had even deemed, too toxic to use for industrial purposes. Laughter erupted in the audience several times while discussing the ironies, ineptitude, and corruption of leaders involved in the Flint water crisis. Nehanda responded to this by sullenly saying, “Yes. We are laughing so that we don’t cry.”

    Nehanda spoke of one of her recent heroes in the movement, Wantwaz Davis, who was voted onto Flint City Council after returning from jail. “He started asking questions, he accused the emergency manager and governor of genocide. That’s my hero,” said Nehanda. “From Africa to Oakland, the environmental justice movement is not new or foreign. It is global, and it isn’t just a white thing either.”

    Nehanda closed her presentation by referencing Marvin Gaye’s, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” She asked the audience, “Does anyone even know the full title to that Marvin Gaye song? Does anyone even know what this song is about?”
    She queued a slide with the lyrics and pointed out that the song is actually a lament for environmental destruction. There was an air of sadness amongst the audience following the end of the presentation.

    The FBI and EPA are currently in the process of investigating government employees who were involved in the crisis. For more information about Nehanda’s organization and how you can get involved, please visit www.cbecal.org/get-involved.

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