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Cancer Alley Rises Up: Honoring Black Women in Environmental Justice

July 1, 2023 , 5:00 pm 7:30 pm America/New_Orleans

People over Plastic is thrilled to bring a LIVE storytelling event in partnership with Earthjustice, Black Girl Environmentalist, 350.org, and the Patois Artist Collective for an inspiring evening honoring Black Women in Environmental Justice.

#CancerAlleyRisesUp is an Essence Festival pop-up event with food, musical performances, and poetry. Our esteemed storytellers are five Black women leading the way to oppose new fossil fuel projects that threaten their community’s health and livelihoods:

Roishetta Sibley Ozane, M.S., an accomplished Environmental Justice Champion and the Founder of The Vessel Project of Louisiana, a small yet impactful mutual aid and environmental justice organization based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She champions the rights of Black, indigenous, and people of color communities, advocating for justice in the face of many injustices.

-Shamyra Lavigne with Rise St. James, a faith-based, community-led organization advocating for climate justice in St. James Parish, Louisiana. RISE St. James and its members have successfully fought off a mega plastics plant planned in their backyards. In 2022, a Louisiana court vacated air permits for Formosa Plastic’s massive petrochemical complex in Cancer Alley. The decision is currently on appeal.

-Jo Banner, M.A. is the founder of The Descendants Project, where she channels her affection and knowledge into challenging systems, primarily legal systems, that have exploited the descendants, such as herself, of those enslaved to plantations. She is now working to gain recognition of the burial grounds of the enslaved as sacred sites and aims to protect such sites and their communities from degradation, especially degradation caused by heavy industry.

Joy Banner, Ph.D. is the Co-Founder of The Descendants Project. The folklore, narratives, and resourcefulness of her community elders and ancestors are the inspiration for the collective and collaborative philosophy of The Descendants Project, in service of the community’s health, wellness, and most importantly, happiness. As part of this work, Dr. Banner is on the front lines of the struggle against environmental racism in the form of petrochemical plants along Louisiana’s River Road, otherwise known as “Cancer Alley.”

-Dr. Beverly Wright, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, will give opening remarks.

Wawa Gatheru, esteemed environmental justice advocate, is acting as Hostess for the evening

900 Camp Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 United States
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