Film Screening at Williams College Shines Light on Environmental Inequality in the United States

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., November 6, 2019—The Davis Center at Williams College will host a free screening of the film Marathon for Justice on Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Paresky Auditorium. The film, which is free and open to the public, looks at environmental inequality in the United States, connecting this issue to broken treaties, the exploitation of lands, and the current and future environmental crisis facing all people. A facilitator-led discussion will follow. Tickets are not required.

Marathon for Justice chronicles past and present cases of environmental inequity in the United States, revealing ways in which people of color have been disproportionately exposed to toxic chemicals in the air, water, and land. By introducing audiences to communities around the country who have experienced the detrimental effects of pollution, contamination and the degradation of their lands, the film shows how these citizens are mobilizing for lasting solutions.

The film first looks at a protest against a refinery in Philadelphia. Among those protesting is Teresa Hill, an African American woman whose children and herself have been suffering from asthma while living near the refinery for years. Hill protests to fight against the direct and immediate impact of air pollution. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University, and known as the “father of environmental justice,” draws upon years of research to contextualize these events.

Examining the impact of past uranium mining on Najavo lands in Thoreau, N.M., the film spotlights Darlene Arviso, the Navajo “water lady” who has been delivering drinking water for the past eight years to homes on the Eastern Navajo Reservation. Eric Jantz, an attorney from the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, provides insight on resource extraction on Native lands and addresses issues on water, human rights, Native land loss, and the erosion of tribal sovereignty.

The film’s final destination is South Dakota, where House Representative Shawn Bordeaux explains why certain lands are considered sacred by indigenous peoples. Reed Robinson, the National Park Service’s Tribal Relations and Indian Affairs Manager, also reflects on the sacredness of Native lands. In addition, Oglala Lakota journalist Tim Giago provides historical background on failed treaties between Native Americans and the United States government as the film shifts to more recent events that have taken place in North Dakota at Standing Rock.

This film screening is part of the Davis Center’s free, monthly film series during the 2019-20 academic year that aims to broaden our understanding and deepen our appreciation of social change. Each month, the series will highlight a mainstream or independent film that speaks to issues across various dimensions of diversity, such as ideology, social identity, injustice, prejudice, and discrimination.

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