Environmental justice at the BNB Bike-A-Thon

June 12, 2008

ACE’s own Khalida Smalls gave the keynote speech at the Bikes not Bombs Green Roots Festival this past Sunday, June 8. Guests enjoyed many events, from green building workshops to live music and scavenger hunts. Bikes Not Bombs, a Boston-based non-profit organization, promotes youth leadership and bicycle recycling over war and environmental destruction.

Participants at the Bike-A-Thon, including our littlest TRU member (center)

An ACE staff member for over ten years, Khalida spoke about the meaning of environmental justice. She explained that the justice side of environmentalism is different from mainstream environmentalism because environmental justice concerns people’s lives. A person’s environment includes encompasses the air we breathe to the buses we ride to the places we work and learn. This includes the violence and degradation that threaten our communities.

Khalida shared stories of Roxbury and the Dudley Square neighborhood burdened by environmental injustices. She spoke about how ACE has connected with community members to fight back and take the initiative to make Dudley a healthier environment for residents. She then urged the bikers and audience members to take positive action by connecting to local organizations in our communities. We cannot let gentrification and displacement of lower income communities occur in the name of development and revitalization.