Solutionary Perspective interview from January 24, 2018
We were honored to be joined by Rodette Jones, Jennifer Kunze and Taylor Smith-Hams, three activists who are making a difference in environmental justice in Baltimore. Rodette, Jennifer and Taylor are local leaders working for a Just Transition for Baltimore. (bios below)
Their teamwork helped to deliver a victory in stopping a trash-burning incinerator in Curtis Bay, South Baltimore. Curtis Bay is a low-income rail and port community that carries the heaviest burden of toxic industrial pollution in Maryland, and has the third highest total environmental hazard index value in the entire country!
As community organizers, Rodette, Jennifer and Taylor also helped to defeat plans by Targa Terminals to build a new crude oil terminal, intended for Curtis Bay, a plan that would have sent 380 million gallons per year of dangerous crude-oil-by-rail past thousands of Baltimore residences then onto the Chesapeake Bay, destined for East Coast refineries.
Now, their new campaign force the Baltimore City Council to pass a zoning ordinance to prohibit the construction of new crude oil terminals within Baltimore could become a national model.
We are grateful to learn from Rodette, Jennifer and Taylor and explore how the Solutionary Rail approach might compliment their work for a just transition Baltimore. Click on image below to view a video our guests created in their campaign to stop crude oil terminal and bomb trains. Thanks too to Matt Weaver who joined to discuss the evolving possibilities for community solar.
Check out the Solutionary Perspectives video series HERE.
Rodette Jones Outreach Coordinator of Baltimore County WIC Program, specializing in Social Action and Community Change and is well integrated into Baltimore City health and wellness opportunities. She has a strong passion for empowering individuals to change life styles through healthy eating habits in a farm to table program at the Filbert Street Garden where she serves as Garden Manager. The food desert community drove her to implement the Baltimore Virtual Supermarket Program enabling the community access to groceries at a local Shop Rite Supermarket. Her joy and passion is teaching children and adults
the benefits of composting and gardening through workshops. She is a strong participant and board member of the following organizations: Curtis Bay Community Association, Baltimore Green Space, Greater Bay Brook Alliance, SB7, United Workers, CANN (Chesapeake Climate Action Network), Baltimore Healthy Babies, and Enoch Pratt Library Brooklyn Branch.
Taylor Smith-Hams is a Baltimore-based artist and organizer committed to advancing environmental and social justice. She works as a community organizer with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network where she focuses on fighting dangerous crude oil trains and advancing community solar projects that increase access to affordable solar power.
Jennifer Kunze is a lifelong Maryland resident who grew up next to the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick, graduated from St. Mary's College of Maryland on the beautiful St. Mary's River, and moved to Baltimore City nearly four years ago. Before joining Clean Water Action, Jennifer worked as the Environmental Programs Organizer at the Center for Grace-Full Living in East Baltimore, where she coordinated community gardens, taught environmental education, and organized rain garden and other stormwater remediation projects. Jennifer has also been active in a wide variety of environmental and human rights campaigns in Baltimore, and as Maryland Program Organizer, she works to build networks and power in communities throughout Maryland to protect our health and environment.