Arthur Mychal Johnson of South Bronx Unite Selected to Attend United Nations Climate Summit

 Arthur “Mychal” Johnson of South Bronx Unite Selected to Attend Historic United Nations Climate Summit with more than 100 Global Heads of State and 37 Civil Society Representatives

Brings International Attention to the Asthma-Plagued Neighborhood’s Ongoing Fight to Stop the Subsidized Relocation of FreshDirect’s Diesel Trucking Operation and Broadens Awareness of Climate Justice Movements in the
Bronx and Other Urban Communities of Color
On Friday, August 29th, Mott Haven/Port Morris resident, co-founder of South Bronx Unite, and member of the Board of Directors of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, Mychal Johnson, was selected from among 544 civil society applicants from 115 countries to attend the historic United Nations Climate Summit, taking place on September 23 at the United Nations.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon organized the Climate Summit to galvanize and catalyze climate action through bold decisions to reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will
for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.
Mychal is one of 38 civil society delegates from 25 countries, and one of four delegates from the United States: the sole African American delegate and the only representative from the
East Coast. With a long-standing resume of South Bronx environmental justice advocacy on city, state and international platforms, Mychal’s selection by the UN signals the importance of raising awareness about environmental conditions impacting
marginalized urban areas of color across the United States, as well as the policies that create such conditions.
Since 2012, under the banner of South Bronx Unite, Mychal has helped lead a broad-based coalition of residents and organizations against a proposed $140+ million government subsidy to FreshDirect, which aims to relocate its diesel trucking operation to
a South Bronx waterfront flood zone, documented with evidence of a Native American burial site. The company would bring 1,000 daily diesel truck trips through the predominantly African-American and Latino community, where one in five children suffer from asthma and where asthma hospitalization rates stand at 21 times higher than other NYC neighborhoods. The company is refusing to
perform a meaningful environmental review and is instead relying on a 21 year old environmental impact statement.
Mayor de Blasio campaigned strongly against the deal while running for office in 2013 but has not yet acted to stop the relocation and pending transfer of subsidies. Over the last month, upwards of 400 emails and phone calls have been made to Mayor de Blasio and his team to stop the deal, but there has been no response from
his office.  The FreshDirect issue is a test for the Mayor’s progressive agenda, especially in regard to environmental
policy.  In the past, the city has placed a disproportionate volume of waste transfer stations and diesel truck intensive facilities in African American and Latino neighborhoods, tantamount to environmental racism.  This is a chance for the Mayor to show leadership on this issue as world leaders gather in NYC in less than three weeks.
The issue of FreshDirect has crystallized a series of environmental issues across the Bronx – such as “redlining green” (where the green economy bypass communities of color), the protection of climate migrants, food sovereignty, clean air, and climate education – issues often neglected in communities perceived to have crime, housing, employment and education issues.  Such environmental issues will be highlighted at several events taking place throughout the Bronx under the banner “Bronx Climate Justice” during the weeks leading up to and following the Climate Summit.
“I hope my presence at the Climate Summit not only brings recognition to the issues affecting the South Bronx but also builds bridges with communities of color, working communities
and the global south who, like the people of the Bronx, are often on the frontlines of climate change,” stated Mychal Johnson.  “For decades we have fought top down policies that perpetuate disproportionate impacts of environmental harm and the
resulting health crises in our communities.  Our presence at the Climate Summit is an important example of the need to bring the voices of the unrepresented to the table when developing strategies and solutions to combat climate change and environmental injustice.”
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