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On some positions cowardice asks the question is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question is it politic? Vanity asks the questions, is it popular? Conscience asks the question is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King

I totally agree with Dr. King. That is why this week I, along with a national delegation representing each state in the Union convened by the NAACP, Hip Hop Caucus, American Nurses Association, Earthjustice, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, National Council of Churches, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change and Physicians for Social Responsibility, have come to DC to take a stand, to take a position that clean air in an unalienable right for all Americans.

Each has their own story for why they are here.

For some, the fight is about the future of our nation. That’s the story of Darrell Warren, known to many in New Orleans as Sess-45, is a retail record store owner and a hip hop music artist. “Music is something I’m passionate about, but so our right to clean air. So with the eight year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching, the BP oil spill, and a new spill this year, I’m struggling with the ideals of this administration and the effects of the policies being implemented. Clean air is one of the most important elements needed to live a healthy life. For my future and the future of my kids, doing my part to keep as much pollution out of the air is very important to me. But Congress and President Obama have to do their part, too. And to me, the best thing that they can do is to enforce the laws and regulations that have already been passed and apply hasher penalties to those facilities that break these laws and regulations.”

For others, like Jeanette Andrews, who is living with coal ash in her backyard, the fight is a personal one. “In my community, we are under attack, as our air and water are contaminated with toxic coal ash.”

For me, the fight is a part of who I am. I am a social justice fighter and advocate for good works. I use my training as a PR strategist to teach others how to advocate, train corporations, organizations and individuals on how to implement policies and programs that generate revenue and do good in the community and I hold our leaders responsible for the welfare of the community.

As Reverend Lennox Yearwood says, the environmental issue is the 21st century lunch counter movement for poor and minority communities.

Dr. King’s legacy reminds us of our responsibility to take action:

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

We’ve taken a stance. Will you join us?

Learn more about the movement and organize in your community. Share your knowledge and follow the conversation using the hashtag#right2breathe.

Sess-45, Jeanette and I are counting on your support.


Mizz Bea is a public relations strategist, social commentator and social justice fighter using her education to help bring social and economic justice to under served communities. Follow @mizzbea2u Friend