Well-Known Activist Jane Fonda Visits Lowndes County
Activist and actress Jane Fonda made a stop in Alabama Monday. She was in Lowndes County to help launch an organization that combats racial injustices in rural areas. Fonda joined founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice Catherine Coleman Flowers, fashion designer Khaliah Ali, and banker and philanthropist Kat Taylor for the launch announcement.
Together, the women will make up the board for the Center, which is working to bring an end to issues for residents living in rural areas. Those issues include unclean water, unsafe housing, and sewage problems. The Center began its work in the heart of the Black Belt of Alabama.
“We would like to see sustainable homes. We would like to see people living in decent housing, have decent jobs, be a part of the new green economy and have access to renewable energy,” Flowers said.
The group visited Hayneville to see first-hand the community’s waste water problems and the affects of poverty. They visited with Hayneville residents who have dealt with sewage problems and unsafe housing.
“It’s a woman who was sold a mobile home that was poorly made, that she had to over-pay for, that she’s having to pay gouging interest on over the years in a place that nobody should have to live,” Fonda said. “There’s mold where her child, 11-year-old child has to use a C-path to breathe.”
CREEJ is hoping to find solutions for environmental racial injustice that some rural communities, like Hayneville, experience.
They’re currently working with universities like UCLA, Duke, and Columbia to develop and bring clean energy solutions to target areas.
“And for all kinds of reasons, including racism, big portions of those areas are just neglected or written off so people have sewer going into their back yard, or coming up through their pipes that carry hookworms, for example, which we thought was eradicated,” Fonda said.
“We’ve learned a lot from working in Lowndes County and what we have learned, we’re going to expand the capacities of other communities that have reached out to us that are dealing with the same issues, and hopefully we can bring light and solutions to them as well,” Flowers said.
Flowers says the next step is to partner with rural communities throughout the United States who have reached out for help.
“To work underneath, beneath, and with a group of women that are inspired by not just success but doing what is right in the world is really humbling for me. As the daughter of boxer Muhammed Ali, I couldn’t think of a better way to stand here today and curate my fathers legacy and be apart of whats happening here in Alabama,” Khaliah Ali said.