National Findings Affirm Local Experiences
Last week, a team of researchers from NCRC, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Public Health and University of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab produced a report with maps and data from 142 cities that showed how historic discrimination in lending and investing in entire neighborhoods correlates with shorter life expectancy today and higher rates of diseases that are risk factors for COVID-19.
While these national findings provide statistically significant context for what we are already hearing from the CDC about greater infection and mortality rates among people of color, we wanted to take a closer look at how exactly long-term and historic disinvestment in communities of color continues to create economic, social, environmental and health disparities, despite current laws and regulations that ban racial residential segregation.
Today, we’re launching a popup publishing series to add that local context. Over the coming weeks we’ll publish essays from NCRC members and local leaders who can share their insights on segregation, environmental and health legacies in their communities. The series begins with Rita Harris in Memphis, Tennessee. She’s a longtime local environmental activist and a national board member of the Sierra Club.
“In Memphis, when I think of where all the major polluting manufacturing plants have been located, they are indisputably in or near an African American neighborhood. Some people have argued that these residents of Memphis don’t mind living near the railroad tracks or industrial plants. This argument doesn’t go very far if the question is asked, “Why were the African American neighborhoods near these places in the first place?”