Launching Earth Day 2023
For decades, those furthest from justice living in communities along the Anacostia River, in the D.C. region, and across the world have been fighting these inequities in their very own neighborhoods. Respecting this legacy of community-based, environmental action, the Center for Environmental Justice at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum will draw on the museum’s mission of collective power and history of environmental justice work to serve as a catalyst for social change. The Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) is a research hub that will center community, raise awareness of systemic injustice, craft community-driven solutions for environmental issues, and encourage others to see their own power in creating a more equitable, healthy, and just environment.
The CEJ envisions a future where environmentalism is a cornerstone of civic engagement. Civic action includes addressing environmental issues affecting communities and advocating for a healthy, equitable, and just world. The Center will activate the latest research on environmental practices and reflect the museum’s decades-long commitment to civic engagement, community-centered practices, and environmental justice work. Placing environmental advocacy in the context of community life and ongoing justice movements, the Center will convene community experts, researchers, and Pan-Smithsonian teams to document histories of environmental justice work and develop solution-based models by and for the people most affected by environmental injustices.
The Center is guided by the Anacostia Community Museum’s mission and vision to work with local communities and amplify collective power for a more equitable future. To create long-lasting and actionable change, solutions must be community-based, inclusive, and just. Thus, CEJ will discuss the racial and discriminatory roots that shape our environments. Moving away from traditional environmental movements, which focus on the natural world, CEJ will embrace a humanities-led, community engagement practice to mobilize research, break down silos, and activate research outside of institutional walls.
In the coming weeks and months, more will be shared about the Center’s work, as well as its origins and the Anacostia Community Museum’s long history examining environmental injustices.
What is Environmental Justice?
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.