Freedom to Breathe: Juneteenth & Bristol Landfill

VAIPL staff members traveled to Bristol, Virginia, to celebrate Juneteenth with our neighbors and friends. The Bristol Area Ministerial Alliance (BAMA), community partners, and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light hosted a Juneteenth community-wide celebration of freedom with food, fun, and fellowship.

Bristol is a small city in Southwest Virginia, plagued daily with toxic gases making life unbearable for some residents. Bristol City manages a quarry landfill located near the center of the city’s most vulnerable residents. In recent years, due to delayed maintenance, climate change caused increased precipitation, and other issues, gas emissions from the landfill have, at times, made air quality toxic and increasingly harmful for many Bristol, VA, and Bristol, TN, residents.

This Juneteenth, we highlighted that many communities impacted by environmental injustices are still fighting for the freedom to breathe clean air and drink clean water. The Bristol city landfill is one example of what many communities face across Virginia. The negative health impacts of the Bristol City Landfill restrict the freedom and well-being of many Bristol members.

Our staff was there to record the experiences and stories of community residents impacted by the landfill and to highlight the voices of those on the frontlines of this environmental disaster. Bristol residents shared their experiences of how the landfill has personally affected their lives and the lives of their families.

In the coming weeks, we will amplify the voices of Bristol residents by sharing their stories and stressing the urgency to our state and federal representatives for their support. Please be on the lookout for these stories on social media and help us amplify their voices! Learn more about the Bristol Landfill here!