Dallas College News Update

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Dr. Robert Bullard
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Contact: Debra Dennis; ddennis@dcccd.edu

For immediate release — April 22, 2022

(DALLAS) — Depending on your ZIP code, Dr. Robert Bullard can determine how long you may live, the quality of your life and whether you suffer from respiratory maladies. Those in higher poverty areas are subjected to more pollution, little to no medical care and less life expectancy.

“Your ZIP code is a better predictor of your health than your genetic code,” said Dr. Bullard, an environmentalist who has advocated for the safety of clean air and water for more than four decades.

Dr. Bullard will speak April 29 from noon to 1 p.m. at a Sustainable U event jointly sponsored by Dallas College’s Office of Sustainability and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The online event is offered at no charge and is open to the public to register and attend.

The lack of clean water and the ongoing threat of storms caused by climate change have further marginalized the elderly, low-income residents whose communities are killing them.

“Our neighborhoods are hotter, and climate change is going to make it worse. People accuse me of being a tree hugger,” he said. “But we don’t have any trees in our neighborhood to hug.”

Dr. Bullard, a distinguished professor in the Department of Planning and Environment Policy at Texas Southern University, has long advocated for greener, cleaner communities. He counts himself among other environmentalists who have placed racial justice at the core of their mission. His philosophy is a simple one: All communities have a right to equal protection and equal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

“Historically, Black and brown communities have borne more than their share of the brunt of environmentally unsafe neighborhoods and preventable diseases,” Dr. Bullard said. “These ‘cancer clusters’ are the result of contaminated air and tainted groundwater among other environmental horrors.”

The pandemic, he said, only compounded the problems.

“You have communities that are on the frontline with chemical plants, refineries and other kinds of industrial facilities. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. You just go to those communities and look at the people who end up having the most tremendous problems — cancer clusters, high asthma rates and respiratory problems.”

Clean air, he said, should be a right for everyone.

“We have long been saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’ Environmental racism kills. It’s bad for your health,” said Dr. Bullard. “We have to work hard so that we’re not leaving any communities or populations behind.”

Dr. Bullard is a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, a group of appointed members who advise and make recommendations on how to address environmental racism. Last month, the Houston Endowment awarded a $1.25 million grant to establish the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University.

“Sustainability is the intersection of equity, the economy and the environment. When we address all three areas simultaneously, we know that we have a sustainable solution,” says Georgeann Moss, Dallas College’s senior director of sustainability. “Dr. Bullard has been working to deliver sustainable solutions for many decades. We are proud to offer his inspiring presentation as a special Earth Month event in partnership with Dallas College’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

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