24 min

The First Responder featuring community advocate making advancements in criminal justice, David Heppard, Seattle, Washington People over Plastic

    • Society & Culture

When it comes to the climate crisis, there is a stark divide between who is most affected due to the structural inequalities caused by the legacy of institutional racism.  In “The First Responder”, we chat with David Heppard, the Executive Director of the Freedom Project Washington - a Seattle-based organization that works to dismantle the system of mass incarceration and heal its traumatic effects. Last year, the Freedom Project shifted its priorities to meet the community's immediate needs in the face of a devastating heat wave, with temperatures reaching a record of 115°F in June of 2021.

A recent study in Nature found that in nearly every major city in the U.S., people of color are exposed to more extreme urban heat than white people. Seattle’s neighborhoods nestled in abundant green space found reprieve from the intense heat. However, the communities of color closest to highways and industrial zones faced disproportionate health impacts and significant barriers to mental health care.

David's particular experiences, as a first responder in his community, is a powerful example of community investment and transformation. The Freedom Projects' counseling services and ability to provide water, fans, and space were instrumental in offering both mental and physical support during times of intense heat.

This season, we’re honored to join forces with Prism - a nonprofit newsroom led by journalists of color to go deep into the stories behind environmental racism. Our co-founder and host Shilpi Chhotray and Prism’s climate justice reporter, Ray Levy Uyeda, explore the historical significance of how neighborhoods have been shaped and built, to better understand the disparities that exist when it comes to extreme heat.



Key Themes explored:

What is the urban heat island effect and what does it have to do with systemic racism?

What is the link between redlining and environmental injustice?

Why do low-income BIPOC communities have more barriers to mental health care?

Why does the non-profit industrial complex incentivize top-down approaches to environmental and social issues?

Tune in to the latest episode, The First Responder, to find out.

Visit People over Plastic’s website to learn more about us and continue the conversation by sharing this episode on Instagram and Twitter.



Resources:


Prism article: Extreme heat increases the need for BIPOC mental health care written by Ray Levy Uyeda
Support FreedomProjectWA.org and consider donating directly to their cause
Disproportionate exposure to urban heat island intensity across major US cities in Nature
Read more about David's story in the Seattle Met



If there were ever a time to join us, it is now. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our BIPOC-produced storytelling and sustains our future. Support PoP from as little as $1 – it only takes a minute. Thank you. DONATE NOW.

When it comes to the climate crisis, there is a stark divide between who is most affected due to the structural inequalities caused by the legacy of institutional racism.  In “The First Responder”, we chat with David Heppard, the Executive Director of the Freedom Project Washington - a Seattle-based organization that works to dismantle the system of mass incarceration and heal its traumatic effects. Last year, the Freedom Project shifted its priorities to meet the community's immediate needs in the face of a devastating heat wave, with temperatures reaching a record of 115°F in June of 2021.

A recent study in Nature found that in nearly every major city in the U.S., people of color are exposed to more extreme urban heat than white people. Seattle’s neighborhoods nestled in abundant green space found reprieve from the intense heat. However, the communities of color closest to highways and industrial zones faced disproportionate health impacts and significant barriers to mental health care.

David's particular experiences, as a first responder in his community, is a powerful example of community investment and transformation. The Freedom Projects' counseling services and ability to provide water, fans, and space were instrumental in offering both mental and physical support during times of intense heat.

This season, we’re honored to join forces with Prism - a nonprofit newsroom led by journalists of color to go deep into the stories behind environmental racism. Our co-founder and host Shilpi Chhotray and Prism’s climate justice reporter, Ray Levy Uyeda, explore the historical significance of how neighborhoods have been shaped and built, to better understand the disparities that exist when it comes to extreme heat.



Key Themes explored:

What is the urban heat island effect and what does it have to do with systemic racism?

What is the link between redlining and environmental injustice?

Why do low-income BIPOC communities have more barriers to mental health care?

Why does the non-profit industrial complex incentivize top-down approaches to environmental and social issues?

Tune in to the latest episode, The First Responder, to find out.

Visit People over Plastic’s website to learn more about us and continue the conversation by sharing this episode on Instagram and Twitter.



Resources:


Prism article: Extreme heat increases the need for BIPOC mental health care written by Ray Levy Uyeda
Support FreedomProjectWA.org and consider donating directly to their cause
Disproportionate exposure to urban heat island intensity across major US cities in Nature
Read more about David's story in the Seattle Met



If there were ever a time to join us, it is now. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our BIPOC-produced storytelling and sustains our future. Support PoP from as little as $1 – it only takes a minute. Thank you. DONATE NOW.

24 min

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