What is the goal of the Environmental Justice Center?
First and most importantly, it's to center community. When we think of environmental justice, we often go directly to the science, and of course, we believe in the science. But we also believe in the community's ability to solve its own problems. We want to make sure those on the ground who are impacted have an opportunity to look at solutions and see their own power in creating a more equitable and just environment.
Why should folks in D.C. see environmental justice as a pressing issue?
People don't prioritize issues related to the environment until they impact them personally. But we are starting to see more people, especially more communities of color, recognizing it. For example, D.C. has a lot of issues with lead paint and water quality that you're kind of forced to pay attention to. We are hoping people understand that environmental justice is not just about having a wonderful garden, but it's also creating a healthy environment for you.
What types of programming will be at the Environmental Justice Center?
One we are excited about is our Environmental Justice Academy. Local young women and non-binary individuals will spend roughly six months together exploring issues of the environment and specifically around the Anacostia waterway. We are also launching a children's gardening program this year. For eight weeks, kids will learn about how to grow fruits and vegetables in their gardens. And of course, our first physical exhibit, celebrating women in environmental justice, opens May 19.