Howard University Hosts Earth Day Town Hall and Screening of ‘Underwater Projects’

By Sholnn Z. Freeman

Howard University will feature¬†“Breathing While Black: A Town Hall and Screening on Environmental Justice”¬†as part of its Earth Day activities.¬†Attendees will be treated to a special screening of the new environmental justice documentary, “Underwater Projects.”

The town hall begins at noon in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, Met Auditorium, Room 100, at Bryant St. NW, Washington DC. The Earth Day event is open to the Howard University community, students from other colleges, and the public. It can also be viewed via YouTube live stream.

A panel discussion portion of the event will be led by Rubin Patterson, Ph.D., dean of the Howard University College of Arts & Sciences. The town hall will be moderated by Yanick Rice Lamb, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film and co-founder of Other participants include: Brittany Bell Surratt, senior director of storytelling and communications for the Hip Hop Caucus; Sacoby Wilson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health, University of Maryland; and Rachael Baker, WE ACT for Environmental Justice National Organizing Manager. 

The screening of “Underwater Projects” will begin after the discussion, at 1 p.m.¬†¬†The 28-minute documentary film, co-directed by¬†dream hampton¬†and¬†Liz Havstad,¬†explores rising sea levels and sinking¬†of Norfolk, Va.¬†The film delves into how the environmental catastrophe is impacting the lives of residents in the St. Paul’s housing projects.¬†Hampton¬†also¬†served as executive producer of “Underwater Projects,” alongside¬†Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.,¬†president and chief executive of the Hip Hop Caucus.¬†‚ÄúUnderwater Projects‚ÄĚ premiered at¬†the¬†D.C. Environmental Film Festival last month.

This environmental justice town hall is co-sponsored by the¬†Hip Hop Caucus;¬†the¬†Black Executive & Student Training Program,¬†known as The BEST Program; and the¬†Department of Media, Journalism and Film. It has received additional support from¬†Heather McTeer Toney, author of ‚ÄúBefore the Streetlights Come On: Black America‚Äôs Urgent Call for Climate Solutions.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúEnvironmental and climate issues disproportionately impact Black and brown communities,‚ÄĚ said¬†Ingrid Sturgis, associate professor and chair of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre honored to partner again with the BEST Program, the Hip Hop Caucus and Heather McTeer Toney to shed light on such critical topics.‚ÄĚ