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  • Ashley Park

I Can't Breathe

As environmental problems become increasingly noticeable through the rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and uncontrollable wildfires, it is critical to highlight the intersectional aspects of climate change that disproportionately impact marginalized groups. My art piece “I Can’t Breathe” addresses environmental injustice, which exists due to the higher levels of pollution that burden low-income and minority communities. The Black woman is a symbol of this systemic inequity, and she is inhaling pollution that is deteriorating her lungs. Exposure to greater amounts of pollution is linked to higher rates of lung diseases and preexisting health conditions, and these effects have been magnified by the disproportionately high COVID-19 death rates in Black communities. As a passionate environmental and social justice activist, I have been fighting to halt fossil fuel infrastructure and pollution-emitting facilities that are proposed in these marginalized communities. I am part of a movement that is not only combating climate change but is also protecting public health and standing up for human equality. And my hope is for my art piece to play a role in building momentum for this movement by personalizing environmental injustice and being a means of communication to the heart.

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