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Ron Smith

Editor’s Note: The EPA is holding a teleconference on March 1 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST to ask for public feedback on the agency’s proposal to weaken civil rights protections. Dial 1-877-887-8949 (Conference ID #58156799) to be connected.

The nation just observed Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and with horrible irony, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of trashing King’s legacy.

Distortions and misinformation are key tactics in polluters' efforts to avoid cleaning up their pollution.

Just days ago, the National Association of Manufacturers, an organization representing factories and other major polluters, launched a multimillion dollar TV ad campaign aimed at keeping the EPA from strengthening federal health protections from ozone pollution. Distortions and misinformation is a key tactic in their effort to avoid cleaning up their pollution. Here's a look at three of those distortions:

Fiona helps prepare a sign that reads "I am 3 years old and I have asthma. Protect my lungs."

Three years ago, Gretchen Dahlkemper had to rush to the emergency room with her 11-month-old daughter, Fiona, who was struggling to breathe. “Her lips turned blue and she was making a funny noise—at first I thought it was a child’s toy I was hearing.”

It turns out asthma was the cause of Fiona’s breathing problems.

“You can’t imagine the terror you feel when you have a tiny baby who can’t catch her breath,” Dahlkemper said, adding, “You rush to the hospital and hope you can get there in time.”

This mural in Brooklyn, NY raises asthma awareness.

A couple of weeks ago President Obama connected climate change and the pollution that causes it to the asthma that his daughter, Malia, suffered from as a young child.

“What I can relate to is the fear a parent has, when your 4-year-old daughter comes up to you and says, ‘Daddy, I’m having trouble breathing,’ Obama said in an interview broadcast on ABC. “The fright you feel is terrible.”

Kids walking in a park

Black Lives Matter leaders brilliantly reframed Black History Month, Black Future Month, to focus on a separate cultural or political issue facing African Americans every day in February.

It was so appropriate, so smart, to set aside time to not only grapple with a large set of issues—indelibly linked to the structural, institutional and individual racism our communities face—but to give time to envisioning ourselves and our communities as we want them to be.


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