"We have systemic issues, we have cyclical issues"

We talked with Pennsylvania state representative Summer Lee two years ago about interconnected injustice. Her words continue to ring true.

Editor's note: Environmental insults and police violence aimed at communities of color are interconnected issues. As the nation grieves over the killing of George Floyd, this week we are revisiting stories from our newsroom over the past couple years that examine environmental racism in Black communities.


In 2018, our Pittsburgh reporter Kristina Marusic talked with Summer Lee who became the first Black woman to represent the Pittsburgh region at the state capital.

Since then, Lee has served a productive two-year term. This week she was re-elected, despite a nasty campaign against her run by a less progressive Democratic candidate who'd received massive donations from pro-fracking unions.

Lee's words were true in 2018, but have taken on a renewed relevance as the nation grieves over the killing of George Floyd and protests for racial equality. Lee made clear the connections between persistent pollution in Pittsburgh and police violence.

"You can't talk about one of these issues without addressing all of them."

Read the full interview with Summer Lee.

A history-making millennial politician explains what air pollution and police violence have in common

Summer Lee

Summer Lee (right) and fellow state representative Sara Innamorato. Photo courtesy of Summer Lee.

Banner photo: Summer Lee speaking. (Credit: https://www.pahouse.com/Lee/)

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
From our Newsroom

A toxic travelogue

The first four stops on a tour tracing American history through its pollution.

Breast cancer: Hundreds of chemicals identified as potential risk factors

Researchers find nearly 300 chemicals linked to breast cancer-contributing hormones in everyday products, and call for a renewed focus on women's exposure risks.

My island does not want to be resilient. We want a reclamation.

Unlearning academic jargon to understand and amplify beauty and power in Puerto Rico.

Measuring Houston’s environmental injustice from space

Satellites show communities of color are far more exposed to pollution in Houston, offering a potential new way to close data gaps and tackle disparities.

Fractured: The body burden of living near fracking

EHN.org scientific investigation finds western Pennsylvania families near fracking are exposed to harmful chemicals, and regulations fail to protect communities' mental, physical, and social health.

The real story behind PFAS and Congress’ effort to clean up contamination: Op-ed

Former EPA official Jim Jones sets the record straight on 'the forever chemical' as lawmakers take up the PFAS Action Act

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.