Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Next? Or Not!
I have been getting spiritually re-energized at the 15th annual Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. The theme this week is not only appropriate and insightful, but also timely: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.
Also timely is a new report which shows that human reproductive health is rapidly spiraling downward in correlation with a 30% increase in the number of chemicals approved for commercial use since 1979.
For women, this has resulted in increased fertility problems, miscarriages, preterm births, birth defects and children with learning and behavioral disorders. For men, there is an increase in male genital defects and declining sperm counts.
Exposure to these chemicals are believed to come through consumer products such as contaminated food, household products and cosmetics, or those used for industrial activities such as metals, pesticides, plasticizers, and other substances. When exposure is combined with inadequate health care and poor nutrition the consequences are devastating particularly minorities who are affected disproportionately.
This contemporary generation of youth has, like our urban areas and inner cities, also been abandoned. Many youth grow or grew up feeling hungry, hated, abandoned, unloved as well as un-parented and uneducated while bearing a constant barrage of put-downs and condemnation of their culture by the generations that preceded them.
While yells or shrieks of rebuke and disdain concerning our youth have been loud and constant, African American cries for environmental justice, which is directly related to youth issues, have yet to reach the legal or legislative decibel level needed to address its tragic consequences.
Who will fight this silent killer and toxic destroyer of our future? Who will give voice to the ecological or economic justice concerns of our young, the poor and people of color? The African American pulpit? Our traditional Civil Rights organizations?
They will if they are to remain viable and relevant 21st century institutions. If not, the rocks or brownfields will cry out!