Environmental Justice Conversations – City of Spokane, Washington

Environmental Justice Conversations

City Council Sustainability Intern Tony Newton, no phone number available

Monday, October 17, 2022 at 4:06 p.m.

Environmental Justice Conversations

Members of the City Council’s Environmental Justice and Equity Task Force partnered with the Sustainability Action Sub-Committee (SAS) this summer and attended a variety of events in an effort to engage residents on the themes of sustainability and environmental justice. Here are some highlights of our conversations.

Hillyard Days – Let the good times roll!

The Hillyard Festival continued this year on the first weekend of August, starting on Friday August 5th and ending on Sunday August 7th. The festival was held at Sharply Harmon Park and included vendor spaces for businesses, fun games, arts and crafts and information booths.

SAS members Whit Jasper, Ryan Lok, Sister Pat Millen and Allison Smith volunteered throughout the weekend. Community members discussed issues such as lack of supportive infrastructure, housing and homelessness, and stagnating wages. A concern expressed by community members is that Spokane residents are being driven from their physical homes and driven out of Spokane altogether. There were also additional clarifying questions about the recent Water Conservation Ordinance and Drought Response passed by City Council.

Spokane Eastside Reunion Association

This year, SERA held its end of summer party at Underhill Park in the East Central district. On August 13, community members, families, and organizations came together to celebrate the neighborhood and the end of basketball camp!

The Sustainable Action Subcommittee partnered with Whit Jasper, a representative from the City of Spokane Environmental Justice and Equity Subcommittee, to share table space with the Spokane Chapter of the NAACP. Spokane NAACP provided 30 miniature flowerpots along with soil, seeds and art supplies for the kids to make the flowerpots their own!

Community members could participate in the SAS interactive boards and provide feedback on how they are currently experiencing environmental impacts, such as extreme heat, smoke from wildfires and increased household spending.

Unity in the community

This year’s Community Unity Celebration event was held on August 20, 2022 at Riverfront Park. This was the 28th year the event has taken place and is the largest multicultural celebration in the region. The event features activities for all ages, free K-8 school supplies, live entertainment and more.

Thanks to Lisa Gardner, Ryan Lok, White Jester and Ian Cunningham for volunteering to organize the event! Along with the interactive investigation boards, the SAS also had a Jeopardy-themed game to engage the younger members of the community.

Ongoing community engagement

As part of his work with the Environmental Justice and Equity Sub-Committee, Whit Jasper has organized information sessions to be held at the end of October.

Each session will include presentations from community organizations on topics such as oppressive heat, urban planning, access to water and equity.

The first session will take place on Wednesday, October 26 at The Hive Library from 5-7 p.m.

The second session will take place on Saturday, October 29 at the Central Library from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Light refreshments will be provided. For more information on these events, contact Whit Jester at [email protected]

Common topics and shared themes

  • Infrastructure that meets the current demands of the population
  • Do not exclude people from the community, especially vulnerable elders who have lived in the area since birth
  • Water conservation and water ordinance
  • Housing and Homelessness

More about…

Elna M. Lemons