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A healthier planet, democracy

As a member of Mid Ohio Valley Climate Action, my interest was in writing a letter about Mother Nature, COVID-19 and the importance of voting for the climate in our upcoming elections. However, the incredibly violent murder, committed at the hands of someone with the duty to “protect and serve” and witnessed by the world, can’t be ignored. It made it clear racism is still pervasive in our society. Senseless acts of violence against people simply because they are black is a continuing epidemic and no one should look away.

In fact, climate change and racism are interrelated. Not surprisingly, in the USA, polluting industries are always sited near communities of color. This results in minority residents being exposed to more air pollution with the outcome of more incidences of health concerns, particularly respiratory diseases. In fact, people of color are contracting COVID-19 in higher percentages than other segments of society and they also are having higher death rates. This may not be as insidious as what happened in Minneapolis but it shows how ingrained and routine racism is throughout every aspect of our society. Although the planet’s climate has been improved due to the pandemic, the economic and social disparities caused by racial inequalities have widened and intensified as a result of it. Also, the protests, which are attracting large groups and could be construed as necessary, may be threatening the progress being made against COVID-19 with the possibility of new cases showing up weeks from now.

Globally, everyone in the world needs a “healthier” climate that can keep us safe from concerns like pandemics. But Americans also need a “healthier” democracy that replaces violence with justice and ensures an equitable future for all. We each have one vote, please use it wisely. Vote like your and every American’s rights to, not only a livable planet but also, dignity and respect, depend on it.

Giulia Mannarino

Belleville

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