The Seward Vaccine Equity Project (SVEP) brought community members together to address a pressing public health issue — the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of accessible, place-based vaccine equity strategies working in BIPOC communities. It was a public health experience that brought us closer to hundreds of people on matters of personal and community health.
Similarly, we know that air quality is an issue that impacts health outcomes and life expectancy. In the neighborhood of Phillips, it’s an environmental justice issue that already disproportionately impacts communities of color who live, worship, and work there.
Minneapolis’ proposed “Hiawatha Campus Expansion” in East Phillips would radically intensify air pollution, bringing an estimated 1,800 daily vehicle trips (many of them diesel) into one of the most polluted neighborhoods in Minnesota. Children, elders, and all of Phillips cannot afford the degradation of educational outcomes, increased chronic disease, heart attacks, strokes, and even death that a further expansion of air pollution would bring.
Pollution doesn’t stop at the neighborhood line, either. Many residents of Seward, the racially and economically diverse neighborhood where we have focused our work, would be impacted by this pollution as well.
Would such a facility ever be placed in Tangletown or Linden Hills?
SVEP stands with EPNI and all those calling for no new pollution in Phillips, and will work in partnership with impacted communities to ensure that community voices and needs are met. We all deserve to breathe clean air.