Written by on April 29, 2020

Philadelphia’s Black Talk radio station devoted an entire day to environmental issues that directly impact Black communities.

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) – WURD Radio (96.1FM / 900AM / WURDRadio.com / WURDApp), the only African American-owned talk radio station in Pennsylvania, recently convened its first ecoWURD “Earth Day” Summit, a full day of complete environmental justice-focused programming on-air, online, in video and through social media. 

The summit, in partnership with the Philadelphia region’s From the Source Collaborative, was not only a first for WURD as part of its ongoing ecoWURD initiative, but it was also historic as WURD became one of the first Black media outlets ever to devote an entire day’s-worth of programming to environmental issues, and as they directly impact Black communities. All broadcasts, from 6am – 9pm on WURD, showcased content and information in observance of Earth Day, while linking the environmental justice discourse to the challenges faced today by COVID-19. These conversations will be curated and expanded on at ecoWURD.com.

Listen to the ecoWURD Earth Day Summit playlist:

This multimedia production included conversations across several platforms: on air – WURD Radio (900AM, 96.1FM), online (wurdradio.com), via video (WURD TV via Facebook Live and Youtube) and across social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook,Youtube, Twitch). Environmental justice was explored at the intersection of race, health, the arts, education and politics, while emphasizing the disparities facing Black Philadelphians and Black communities nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The conversations and activities were delivered through elemental themes of earth, air, water and fire. Guests included environmental justice leaders from Philadelphia and around the nation such as: Micaiah Hall (Free Haven Farms); Monica Lewis-Patrick (Water Equity Alliance and We the People for Detroit); Maurice Sampson (Clean Water Action); Anna Clark (author of Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Water Tragedy); Maitreyi Roy (Bartram’s Garden); Harriet Victoria Hargro Atkerson (Cobbs Creek Environmental Education Center); Lamar Gore (John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge); Ryan Richards (Center for American Progress); Councilwoman Katherine Gillmore Richardson; Zulene Mayfield (Chester City Activist); National Geographic Photo Camp Students. Featuring conversations and performances by Poet/Artist/Activists: Ursula Rucker; Kai Davis; Alyesha Wise; Aja Monet; Isis the Savior; and Wallo267. The day was capped off by a LIVE Earth Day Jam with music provided by nationally-renowned DJ Rich Medina. WURD Radio hosts included Helanah Warren, Solomon Jones, Charles Ellison, the Black Women’s Leadership Council, Sincerely Syreeta, and Dr. James Peterson. 

“We wanted to make environmental issues urgent, culturally relevant, and accessible while focusing on the solutions needed, especially during this devastating pandemic,” said Sara Lomax-Reese, President and CEO of WURD. “It was also a way for us to illustrate, much more clearly, how much the state of our environments and the quality of our land, air and water is connected to our health and future.  For example, we showed how systematic air and water pollution contributes to higher COVID-19 infection and death rates in Black communities. We engaged our audiences to fully understand that they are, contrary to popular beliefs about environmental issues, on the front lines of everything from pollution to climate change. We want Black people to know that they are the leaders in this movement.” 

This ecoWURD Earth Day Summit was done in partnership with the From the Source Reporting Collaborative with support from the William Penn Foundation and the Lenfest Institute.

Listen to the Earth Day panel discussions playlist:


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