“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?” asked Tupac Shakur.

I did—it’s the story of Black survival in spite of living in undesirable environmental conditions.

Living conditions must be improved to ensure Black futures. As a Black woman passionate about environmental justice, this is the charge that guides my work, volunteering, and activism around transportation.

Racism and the political disenfranchisement of Black communities underlie transportation inequities. Following the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, urban planners routed freeways through poor communities of color to achieve the urban renewal goal of “slum” clearance and to reinforce racial segregation. Freeway construction proceeded largely without community input. Despite a few successful freeway revolts, construction continued.

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Photo Credit: howard dyckoff/flickr