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Clean Air Ambassador: Duron Chavis

Regardless of one's socio-economic background, it is a fundamental human right to not be detrimentally affected by poor water and air quality.

I remember driving one day in Hopewell, Virginia—probably about 5 years ago. I remember it distinctly because I had gotten lost and ended up riding down an interstate highway, Route 10, that is beside the Honeywell Chemical Plant.

Well, that day it was drizzling rain and I recalled that the windshield wipers were thick with brown rain. I consider brown rain to be a problem—it is coming from the plant and is going into the ground, water, lungs, and on the skin of all the individuals in this community. Hopewell's primary causes of death are heart disease, cancer and respiratory illness. Cancer is a commonly known result of air pollutants and respiratory illness is a no-brainer.

My work is in the field of social services, and I am the coordinator of a national festival, Happily Natural Day, which promotes holistic health and wellness. The conversation of environmental justice is of paramount importance for me as it pertains to where we live and the quality of life. Regardless of our socio-economic background, it is a fundamental human right to not be detrimentally affected by poor water and air quality.

Our region suffers from industrial air pollution, and I think that the Central Virginia region has significant need for a federal infusion of funding for mass rapid transit, such as high speed rail, which can help reduce a part of the air pollution in the region. Immediate concern must also be placed on accessibility and development of green jobs, sustainable food systems and renewable energy.
 

Ambassador Group Affiliation: 
Hip Hop Caucus
Ambassador Profession: 
Social Worker