Maryland Matters: Here’s the Antidote to the Toxicity in the Curtis Bay Community

Maryland Matters, April 13, 2022, Here’s the Antidote to the Toxicity in the Curtis Bay Community

The toxic chemical industry has engulfed entire residential areas of Baltimore. But in the long-suffering neighborhood of Curtis Bay, the local community is fighting back.

Recently, I heard Dr. Nicole Fabricant, Professor of Anthropology at Towson University, discuss the environmental injustices experienced by residents of the Curtis Bay community in South Baltimore.

Fabricant elevated what a group of young activists is doing to turn things around. Fabricant leads students from Benjamin Franklin High School and Towson University in a participatory action research project where young people ask qualitative questions about environmental injustices, conduct research, and disseminate their findings.

“In Curtis Bay, young people are creating solutions,” Fabricant said. “Young people are building out alternative green industries such as [the art collective] Broken Glass and a 64-acre compost site. Young people are developing unionized jobs for Black and Brown youth and community members in Curtis Bay.”

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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