Marquita Bradshaw founded Sowing Justice after making history in Tennessee as the first African American woman to secure a statewide nomination using the traditional organizing model. Sowing Justice builds on the legacy of Environmental Justice organizations of Defense Depot Memphis TN- Concerned Citizen Commitee and Youth Terminating Pollution led by Doris Debery Bradshaw and family that focused on educating and informing the South Memphis fence line polluted community by military toxins which is a National Priority List Superfund site. Sowing Justice is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization focusing on increasing civic engagement in fence-line polluted communities utilizing citizen science using Environment Justice principles.
Environmental justice is what a person needs to interact with the physical environment, the political environment, the healthcare environment, the educational environment, the infrastructure environment, the economic environment, the transportation environment, and the push for industries to
move away from pollution.
The thing about environmental-induced diseases is they can happen quickly or manifest over a period of time also be mutagenic, changing the DNA for your children’s children for generations to come. Pollution shortens life expectancy. Causing families to have health disparities and an economic impact from health care costs. Mother morbidly, congenital birth defects and reproductive disorders can be linked to certain pollution. Black, Brown, Indigenous, AAPI and low-wealth communities carry the burden of the legacy of pollution.
Environmental Racism and Injustice doesn’t have a hashtag or a video that raises awareness of how someone dies of pollution. Death and sickness from pollution often are so subtle. Communities get involved around pollution after the community has experienced the grief of increasing morbidity and mortality.
Most organizations that address climate and environmental concerns work in silos and are reactive organizing. We are working to provide tools and resources for organizing and building a network of organizations that are proactively working together to create a better legacy.
In loving memory of Stacy Robinson and Ken Taylor III
The thought of Sowing Justice was first discussed with my sister-friend Stacy Robinson (April 13, 1974- June 28, 2021) when I first became an advocate. My friend Stacy had her first stroke in her 30’s and her health is directly related to growing up in a place with pollution from a military landfill. Her generosity, encouragement, and support have always been there for every milestone.
My friend Ken Taylor III (October 21, 1985- February 3, 2021) helped me form Sowing Justice in December 2020. Ken’s legacy has always been supporting others to do the work of justice.
May the legacy of Sowing Justice provide tools of support to open doors for others. We must work together to create a legacy where we sow the justice that creates clean air, water, and soil for generations to come. If we reap what we sow, we will sow justice.