In May, I finished my third semester teaching a college dual enrollment Healthy Communities course at Madison Park Academy in the Sobrante Park District of East Oakland. Sobrante Park is an environmental justice community burdened with heavy traffic. The majority of households pay over 50% of their income for housing, and the community has some of the highest asthma rates in the country. Most of the environmental injustices faced by residents are due to air pollution from vehicles including the diesel trucks that run on the 880 freeway directly adjacent to the school.
Imagine growing up in a low-income immigrant of color neighborhood that has been subject to disinvestment and neglect. Imagine your neighborhood is also near neighborhoods with extensive wealth and resources and demographics that are nothing like yours. If you grow up in this type of neighborhood you may start thinking that you are not worth being invested in, and that your circumstances say something about your value as a person.