Rendering of Earth from space

Swetland Center’s Darcy Freedman presents on environmental health equity in Earth Day discussion

Darcy Freedman, director of the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health at Case Western Reserve University, presented at a virtual town hall gathering titled “An Epicenter of Change: Earth Day in Cleveland 50 Years Later” Wednesday, April 22. The discussion focused on Cleveland’s historic role in the nationwide climate change movement, beginning with the city’s response to the Cuyahoga River fire. 

During her talk, Freedman discussed both local and global issues surrounding environmental health equity, and the Swetland Center’s focus on environmental justice and community engagement in the Cleveland area. Freedman talked about the enduring impact of historic disinvestment in certain neighborhoods in the Cleveland area, resulting in racially disproportionate nutritional and health disparities. She also discussed the national inequalities in the U.S. health care system, revealed by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities. Freedman advocated for a holistic approach to work toward changing the inequalities of food and health care distribution, including community investment, open-mindedness, and policy change. 

Freedman presented her talk alongside Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Michelle Mahon of National Nurses United, and Yvonka Hall of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. The discussion was moderated by Brooks Berndt, environmental justice minister of the United Church of Christ, and included a call to action from Chad Stephens of the Sierra Club. 

View the recording of “An Epicenter of Change: Earth Day in Cleveland 50 Years Later.”