Environmental racism cannot be separated from the history of our country.
I also chair the Nova Scotia chapter of the Global Afrikan Congress, which addresses the atrocities of what happened as a result of the transatlantic slave trade that we don't like to talk about in Canada.
From the perspective of African people in Canada, we've been dealing with racism for well over 400 years, since we came to the Americas. It only stands to reason that it touches every aspect of who we are, and our being. We cannot divorce it from how we live and the environment in which we live, and what happens to us as a result of coming to this country.
For other racialized groups, they come at different stages, but that racism, beginning with First Nations people in this country, permeates to the core of what we do. Therefore, when you ask about the definition or how environmental racism begins, it begins from the minute that colonizers set foot in this country, and also what we, as settlers, and also people who came as slaves, faced when we got here.
We haven't wanted to talk about it and we haven't wanted to face it, but it's for real.
At some point, I hope somebody asks me a little about this data collection from a community perspective, because I have an opinion on that.