Trolley tours raise awareness about environmental racism in New Rochelle
New Rochelle Against Racism, or New RoAR, is hosting a trolley tour Saturday around the city to raise awareness about environmental racism.
Attendees of the tour will see neighborhoods where environmental hazards are affecting predominately low-income communities of color.
"You'll notice in Black and Brown communities in New York City and across the country that major sources of pollution tend to be concentrated in those communities," says Blaze Jones-Yelling, a professor at John Jay College.
Commercial buildings and highways take up where the Black community once thrived in New Rochelle. A prime example is a drive-thru Starbucks that will soon open on Echo and Huegenot. It is right next to a public housing complex and a homeless shelter. The increased traffic is expected to create more pollution near these vulnerable families.
New RoAR hopes local leaders will consider environmental racism before approving more projects like the Starbucks.
"Our job is really to educate the planning department, educate our council and our mayor and our city manager to what we find to be acceptable in a community," says Lisa Burton, a New RoAR member.