Fah Fair ’22 calls the ongoing gun violence in the D.C. neighborhood where she grew up an environmental health issue in an op-ed recently published in The Washington Post. “If environmental injustice is the disproportionate exposure to environmental risks and hazards, then the concentration of gun violence in Southeast and Northeast Washington calls for environmental attention,” she writes.

Fair, a film and media studies major and member of Posse, initially wrote the piece as an assignment for Voices of Environmental Justice, a course taught by Sarah Dimick, assistant professor of environmental studies. In the op-ed, Fair says the year she graduated from high school, there were more than 150 firearm-related homicides in the District of Columbia. This creates an environment of anxiety and fear. Yet, she says, resources and support for those who live in these violent neighborhoods are lacking, which furthers the inequities between different communities.

“Instead of focusing on college applications our senior year, my friends and I attended back-to-back funerals,” she writes. “Residents living in pockets of the city where violence has been normalized are exposed to trauma levels that imitate those of war zones. The mental and physical health needs of these communities are ignored as demonstrated by the lack of grief counseling offered in schools and the inadequate hospitals in these parts of the city. There is only one hospital in Southeast, and it lacks a trauma center to treat gunshot victims. Ambulances often travel 30 minutes to reach an adequate facility. This lack of accessible and quality health care further illustrates the lack of value placed on black lives in this city.”

Categorized in: Environmental Studies, Featured News, Film and Media Studies, In the Media, News and Features, Students