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NYU law center will address ‘environmental racism’

‘This gift innovatively targets the intersection of two areas of pressing social concern, environmental harm and racial inequity,’ dean says

New York University law students will soon be able to learn how to fight for a “decarbonized future” and against “environmental racism.”

The university announced a new Environmental Justice Laboratory will begin this fall.

“This gift innovatively targets the intersection of two areas of pressing social concern, environmental harm and racial inequity,” Dean Troy McKenzie stated in a news release.

“Environmental justice has been an emerging area of focus here at the Law School and across the country,” McKenzie stated. “This funding will enable us to significantly expand that work and contribute meaningfully to the field. I’m grateful to the Napolis for their extraordinary generosity.”

The money comes from Paul and Marie Napoli, two attorneys who have a daughter at the law school.

The university announced:

The EJL will provide law students with a unique opportunity to engage in cutting-edge policy advocacy, litigation, and research in the field of environmental justice. It will aim to develop a critical mass of legal practitioners, academics, and clinicians dedicated to addressing environmental problems that disproportionately burden communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, and promoting environmental and social change.

The university said the lab will work with the school’s Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law and its Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law.

The New York Civil Liberties Union says environmental racism can take different forms.

“Environmental racism refers to the institutional rules, regulations, policies, or government and/or corporate decisions that deliberately target Black and Brown communities for placement of major sources of pollution,” the group’s racial justice center’s director wrote.

“These communities are targeted for locally undesirable land uses based on the lax enforcement of zoning and environmental laws,” the article states. “As a result, communities of color are disproportionately exposed to hazardous toxins.”

It is possible the new initiative will organize people to protest, since the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law gives tips on this topic. It appears to be left over from Black Lives Matter protests during COVID lockdowns.

“The right to protest is a fundamental right protected by the US Constitution and the First Amendment, but there are risks in participating in these events, especially for Black and Brown people,” the page states.

It takes information from the ACLU and the Democratic Socialists of America.

One way is to “use white privilege to protect others.”

“These are protests opposed to police violence against Black people,” the page states. “If you are white, put yourself between police and Black and Brown people if they are exposed to police repression.”

MORE: Study claims ‘racism’ drives opposition to DEI statements

IMAGE: Steve Sanchez Photos/Shutterstock

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.