The photo that I’m holding represents my childhood and the type of place that lots of low-income children live. I call it “Interstate, Train, Home.” The areas that provide the most affordable housing for low-income people are often near freeways, airports, waste management facilities and other industrial sites that create dangerous pollution.
Like many Arkansans, I suffer from chronic asthma. I was born with it and my life was full of asthma attacks as a child. As a result, I spent very little time outdoors, unable to fully interact with other children. When I was given opportunities to play, my family always reminded me to carry my inhaler to avoid attacks. For me, asthma became a physical disability that severely limited my interactions with my family at home and my friends in the community. Now, I know that every breath depends upon my access to clean air and I remember the places where I lived in Little Rock, AR.
I grew up with asthma and other connected respiratory problems. I know first-hand how air impacts the quality of life for those struggling to breathe.
My community is poor and mostly African American. We have a diverse population of single parents, unmarried couples and children all facing economic and health disparrties.
This event is important to me because it gives me the power to respond nationally and locally to the adverse impacts of unclean air on people and the environment. I grew up with asthma and other connected respiratory problems. I know first-hand how air impacts the quality of life for those struggling to breathe.