"Just journalism or hegemonic narrative?"


Thank you for doing a series on environmental justice (HCN, 2/1/10). The successes of the environmental justice movement stand undeniably. After reading the first article in the "Green Justice" series, though, I felt confused and puzzled by your framing of the EJ movement, one of its national leaders, and those who have worked and continue to do work and show care and concern for the place they call home -- the Mountain View community in Albuquerque's south valley. I was edified that you recognized the environmental justice movement, then taken aback by your questionable "Personal Problems" heading in the story "The environment … is where we live." Your positioning of certain organizations and individuals was also confusing.

I have not always been in accord with your perspective. I was hopeful and excited to read your series on environmental justice, then disappointed. We have yet to deal with the "color line" a century later, and every day we are reminded of who has the power to construct, to publish and to disseminate information. So what is it that you fear -- is it our leaders, our communities, our movement? Is it that you fear the unity of people of color? Are you fearful of the power that we do have -- speaking truth to power, our lived experience, our sheer ability to survive, and our integrity? Is it the threat that a multicultural, multiracial movement without whites in the leadership could exist? In the end, this series may provoke an interrogation process for mainstream organizations and funders and renewed discussion in EJ circles. (Editor's note: For the complete letter, see http://www.hcn.org/articles/journalism-or-hegemonic-narrative.)

Sofia Martinez
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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