On Wednesday, April 14th we hosted a dynamic symposium focused on the environmental justice implications of the crescent and wedge dynamic in Charlotte, with guest speakers Queens student Caitlin Roper, community historian and author Tom Hanchett, Historic West End community leader and resident Ron Ross, and ED of Clean Air Carolina June Blotnik.
Discrimination in the form of restrictive deeds and redlining have manifested today as significantly unequal race and wealth distribution within Charlotte. The city of Charlotte has evolved so that wealthy, affluent people reside in the wedge, and lower-income people reside in the crescent. The crescent is characterized by a lack of economic development, educational resources, green space, sidewalk space, as well as access to financial institutions, pharmacies, and healthy foods.
Likewise, these vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by the environmental consequences of climate change as they do not have the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards in the form of development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies as those within the wedge have. The reality that these individuals face and the opportunities available to them are vastly different from that of more affluent individuals residing in the wedge, therefore solutions to mitigate these longstanding inequities are necessary in order to close the gap.
Image by Clay Banks.