Why we Honor Dr. King

Environmental justice

When we look at the environmental justice movement today, the same social justice and rights Dr. King defended are fundamental in the movement’s focus on the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of individuals in society. Environmental justice seeks to achieve two important goals: fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. In short, everyone should be entitled to the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and be allowed equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. 

Dr. King’s protest against poor housing conditions in Chicago in 1966 and his strike in 1968 against unfavorable sanitation conditions in Memphis, Tennessee, might have helped plant the seeds for what is now our nation’s environmental justice movement. Dr. King’s advocacy actions line up with the ways the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) works toward equality in the context of environmental health and health disparities through our various activities and initiatives. NCEH/ATSDR continues to support environmental justice by working with communities; environmental groups; tribal governments; and local, state, and other federal agencies to address environmental health-related issues through programs such as

We at NCEH/ATSDR work every day to protect people from hazardous substances and unhealthy environments across the nation, and we will continue to promote safe and healthy environments for all citizens, especially those who are most at risk.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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 Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program

Friday, January 14, 2011