My name is Johana Vicente and I have been a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland for more than a decade. I stand before you today as a concerned community member and a proud organizer of Chispa Maryland, a community organizing program of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters growing the political power of Latinos for climate action.
I am here today to defend the Clean Power Plan – its protection is urgent to me and the communities that are most impacted by filthy air and industry pollution.
Often times, words like “climate change” and “pollution” seem very big and broad — terms that we cannot fully grasp. The issues may seem like a far away thing that is not really affecting us. However, it is affecting us more than we think.
I have witnessed the impact that environmental pollution has on the health of people, especially communities of color and children from those very same communities.
From meeting a concerned mother who is worried about whether her child with asthma will breathe to a concerned teacher with absent student who are home due to respiratory problems, the effects of environmental pollution are clear – they are real concerns.
On a personal level, as a child who had only lived in the United States a few years, I watched as my mother went to the hospital for the first time. Not because of an injury, but because of her inability to breath. There, in the hospital room, she was diagnosed with asthma only two years after we arrived in this country.
This is a painful memory that I still remember vividly to this day and it was one of the scariest ones I have.
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