Report: The Racism that Upends the Cradle

Black children experience the trauma of racism even before they are born, and are confronted throughout their lives by a system designed not to support them. This report from The Chisholm Legacy Project and Children’s Environmental Health Network details heartbreaking statistics that represent the lived realities of millions of Black children across the nation due to racist policies and practices — including redlining, the placement of hazardous waste facilities, and systemic exclusion from shared resources. The paper explores the ways that historic and persistent inequities compound jeopardy for Black children and proposes a framework for a Just Transition, embracing systems that enable us to all share in abundance and thrive together, supporting all children’s futures.

About the Authors:

Jacqueline Patterson, MSW, MPH, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Legacy Project: A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership. The mission of the Chisholm Legacy Project is rooted in a Just Transition Framework, serving as a vehicle to connect Black communities on the frontlines of climate justice with the resources to actualize visions. Prior to the launch of the Chisholm Legacy Project, Patterson served as the Senior Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program for over a decade. Patterson holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.

Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH, serves as the Executive Director for the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN), where her responsibilities include successfully organizing, leading, and managing policy, education/training, and science-related programs to protect children’s health and the environment. For the past 21 years, she has served as a key spokesperson for children’s vulnerabilities and the need for their protection, conducting presentations and lectures across the country and envisioning a future for all children that is safer, healthier, and more equitable. Witherspoon has a B.S. in Biology Pre Med from Siena College and a M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from The George Washington University, School of Public Health and Health Services. She is a proud mom to four children!