"Clean This Place, Don't Displace": Activists Battle for Environmental Justice in Washington, DC

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April 25, 2016, protest of soccer stadium groundbreaking residents from Syphax Gardens, Q St. Corridor and Greenleaf. (Photo: Kari Fulton)

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 After the People’s Climate March, the struggle for environmental justice continues at Buzzard Point, DC.

On April 29, 200,000 climate activists descended on DC for the People’s Climate March, a demonstration of unity for jobs, justice, and climate action. “We resist, we build, we rise,” protesters chanted. What happens, though, after those activists have gone home?

Environmental injustices continue in the city where hundreds of thousands of activists just marched.  

Buzzard Point, a majority low-income African American community in southwest DC, is at risk of riverine and coastal flooding due to climate change. Of the ward’s 84,000 residents93.3 percent are people of color.

A series of development projects like the DC United Soccer Stadium, while at face value a boon for economic growth, unearth decades of toxicity in Buzzard Point, exposing community members to harmful substances while at the same time threatening to push out low- and middle-income residents.

On December 30, 2014, the DC Council formally approved the Soccer Stadium Development Act, paving the way for a new state-of-the art stadium in Buzzard Point. The Council amended and restated this agreement in June 2015. It filed for eminent domain that September to acquire site control, and broke ground in April 2016. The 20,000-seat stadium is planned to open in 2018.

April 25, 2016, protest of soccer stadium groundbreaking residents from Syphax Gardens, Q St. Corridor and Greenleaf. (Photo: Kari Fulton)April 25, 2016, protest of soccer stadium groundbreaking residents from Syphax Gardens, Q St. Corridor and Greenleaf. (Photo: Kari Fulton)In the face of development projects like DC United, Buzzard Point is a community on the frontlines of environmental degradation. Residents must contend with uncertainty about their future, procedural tensions…

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