Health study on Joppa residents to be revealed Thursday – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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results about Health study on Joppa residents to be revealed Thursday – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
On Thursday, a new health survey is expected to shed more light on a Dallas community that have been fighting for a cleaner environment.
The Joppa neighborhood – located several miles south of downtown Dallas – is important historically because it is one of Dallas’ oldest and last standing Freedman’s towns. The area was settled by freed slaves over 150 years ago. Generations of families have called the community their home.
“This land is important to us. It’s not just an industrial area. This is our home, this is our community. This is where we’re raising our children,” said Alicia Kendrick, chair of the Joppa Environmental Health Project. “And it’s very important to us to give reverence to the people who walked this land and worked it and live their whole lives here, but also push forward to the future.”
But it has been plagued with industry for decades and is known as one of the city’s most heavily polluted areas.
“Joppa has been infested with industrial. We have the train, we have roofing companies, we have recycling companies. Two miles down the street is the McCullum landfill. So we’re infested with industrial,” said Community leader Temeckia Derrough.
In recent years, residents have been vocal about the asthma and other health issues they’ve experienced, mainly among the youth and elderly. Health and environmental studies confirmed their concerns.
The neighborhood has made headlines this year in its fight for a healthier community. In June, Joppa celebrated a huge win when an asphalt plant shut its doors after a lot of outcry and negotiations with city leaders. Then another battle boiled up in August against another concrete plant that the city found was operating without the correct license.
The city of Dallas has admitted to the history of neglect in Joppa and has told NBC 5 that is trying to change that.
“These facilities were intentionally placed in our Black and Brown communities and it’s taken decades for municipalities to undo the harm that’s been done. These facilities don’t have to be located in residential communities where they are going to negatively impact air quality,” said Kathryn Bazan, a chairperson of the Dallas Environmental Commission. “Our residents deserve to have their voices heard on this permit that’s going to affect the air quality in this neighborhood.”
At a public meeting planned for Thursday night, the results of a three year health study on residents will be revealed, with the hope of gaining a better understanding of the environmental dangers in the area. The study was conducted with the help of Texas A&M scientists, community leaders and funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
According to the project website by Downwinders At Risk, an advocacy group for clean air in DFW, the study is the largest investigation of environmental health in Dallas-Fort Worth history and “the first time the impacts of exposure to PM air pollution have been explored in a local neighborhood of Color.”
While they can’t release the detailed results before the meeting, a health project leader said large majorities of those surveyed believe they’re breathing badly polluted air, that local sources of pollution like factories, trains, and traffic are to blame, and that and their own health or the health of their families are being harmed by that air pollution.
They also say the study shows a big difference between Joppa residents and the rest of Dallas County in terms of actual exposure to air pollution and actual health harms linked to that air pollution.
The public meeting is Thursday at 6 p.m. at the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Joppa.
Despite the struggles, there are still good things happening in Joppa. On November 4, the community will host a huge 5K walk called ‘High Strides Against Diabetes’ at South Central Park at 8 a.m. Hosted by local community farm Joppy Momma’s Farm, the event will feature health food vendors, health screenings and more.
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