One in four kids in Newark, New Jersey, have asthma. This is the harsh reality that Kim Gaddy, founder of MFN member South Ward Environmental Alliance (SWEA), and so many others endure every single day in Newark.
“No parent should have to see their child gasping for air like that. You’re helpless.”
– Kim Gaddy, SWEA
Gaddy and her children all have asthma and are affected daily by the deadly pollution being produced in their neighborhoods by hundreds of trucks, trains, warehouses, and more.
EJ activists have been saying it for years: frontline communities, like Newark, face unequal burdens from toxic emissions.
“I would like to see a collaboration between business and communities centering on the health of communities. If you protect health before profits, that’s a paradigm shift. We can’t change history, but we can create a healthier future.”
– Kim Gaddy, SWEA
Asthma is a leading cause of missed school days and absenteeism in Newark. This pollution is affecting every single person in Newark, from older adults to young children. The harm is pervasive and generational.
Folks like Gaddy will not rest in the fight for zero emissions until frontline communities and workers can breathe clean air and have access to the health resources they need.
While the state of New Jersey has made strides toward a zero emission future, most notably becoming the first eastern state to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Truck rule, which requires manufacturers to increase the number of zero emission trucks they sell in the state — there is still so much more work to be done.
Gaddy urges businesses to listen to frontline communities and center their health concerns. Communities like Gaddy’s need to be prioritized in developing and implementing solutions to address pollution from a deadly port transportation system. By pressuring corporations to start prioritizing community health over profits, we can build a more liveable and sustainable future where children do not have to breathe polluted air.
We demand environmental justice and equity across the freight sector for our communities. Click here to read more about MFN’s work to transform the freight transportation system to achieve environmental justice.