Over the Line: A Conversation about Race, Place & The Environment

K’JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX – What would a different conversation about the relationship among race, place, space, and the environment in Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities look like?

How can we best acknowledge the links between environmental racism, climate change, climate justice, a justice-based transition to a fossil-free economy, community-based aspects of renewable energy, energy policy, the built environment, urban planning, planning policies, gentrification, and justice? What are the possible public health advocacy responses to existing or proposed industrial projects and other place-based concerns in Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities?

On Thursday, October 26, 2017 and Friday, October 27, 2017, Dr. Ingrid Waldron (Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University), the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (ENRICH) and Dalhousie’s Healthy Populations Institute (HPI) will host Over the Line: A Conversation About Race, Place & The Environment.  This free two-part public and academic symposium, which will be hosted by Charla Williams, will bring together American, Nova Scotian, and Canadian experts to engage in a solution-based, cross-cultural conversation about the relationship between race, place, space, and the environment in Indigenous and Black communities.

Dr. Waldron has been researching the socio-economic, political, and health effects of the relationship between race, place, and the environment in African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq communities over the last several years, focusing specifically on gentrification in Halifax’s North End and environmental racism in rural Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities. In her forthcoming book There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities, she notes that “it is important to shed light on the ways in which industry owners carve out spatialities of profit that ultimately lead to possession, dispossession, and displacement”. For example, she observes that the expropriation of Indigenous lands, the formation of neighbourhoods that are segregated by income and race, so-called “neighbourhood revitalization” projects that gentrify low-income racialized areas, and the disproportionate location of polluting industries and other environmentally dangerous projects in Indigenous and Black communities worldwide illustrate the extent to which “race is central to the constitution of space, and to the ways in which discourses about immorality, deviance, pathology, and criminality come to be associated with non-White communities.” 

Symposium speakers will discuss what Nova Scotian, Canadian, and American community members, professors, researchers, students, environmental organizations and other NGOs, health professionals, and policymakers can learn from one another about using research, policy, and community advocacy and activism to address the social, economic, and health impacts of the relationship between race, place, space, and the environment in Indigenous and Black communities. 

The symposium will kick off with a lecture by the "father of environmental justice" Dr. Robert Bullard (Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning & Environmental Policy, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University) on Thursday, October 26, 2017 and continue the following day with a keynote from Dr. George Lipsitz (Department of Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara) as well as presentations and panels from a diverse array of American, Nova Scotian, and Canadian speakers on Friday, October 27.

For more information and to register, please see the Facebook Event Page:  https://tinyurl.com/y9qedgop

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