Coalition Report

By Gabriella Simoneit, Community Engagement Asst.
Coalition for the Environment

Environmental Racism in My Community

When I think of community, I think of home. Home is a safe comfortable place to spend time with family and friends. A place to sleep, eat and live. It is being able to sit on the porch and soak up the sun. Enjoy the view and take in the fresh air. I think of the relationship between neighbors. To walk down sidewalks saying hello to the person watering their garden. Bringing a plate of cookies to the new family that moved in. I think of the grocery store I run to when I forget an ingredient for dinner.

Take a moment and reflect on these statements while thinking about your community.

  • My house does not have mold.
  • I can sit outside and not worry about if I am breathing clean air.
  • I have adequate heating and cooling in my home.
  • I have an affordable utility bill.
  • I do not worry about lead poisoning.
  • I have a car accessible to me 24/7.
  • I do not have to rely on public transportation to get me places.
  • I have multiple grocery stores accessible to me.
  • I have access to healthy fruits and vegetables in my neighborhood.
  • I have the supplies knowledge and ability to cook healthy meals.
  • There are very few to none vacant lots in my neighborhood.
  • My neighborhood is relatively clean with little to no garbage around.
  • I take many of these things for granted.

I am not a St. Louis native. I in fact have only lived here since the middle of August. I did not know much about the city before I moved here. Never have I heard of redlining before or seen closed gates at the ends of streets. A report recently released by the Washington University School of Law’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic entitled Environmental Racism in St. Louis helped open my eyes to the division in St. Louis that I saw but did not understand. The full report can be found online by searching “Environmental Racism in St. Louis.”
Learning about the challenges and living in a city different from your home is an adventure. It is exciting to join the Food and Farm Program at Missouri Coalition for the Environment. This report pushed our team to meet about our work with the community and how we incorporate the concept of racial equity into our mission. The conversation has just begun, but we hope to incorporate new concepts and tactics for racial equity and continue to work with the communities for a better tomorrow. www.knownandgrownstl.org