On the Frontlines in a ‘Cancer Alley,’ Black Women Inspired by Faith Are Powering the Environmental Justice Movement

By James Bruggers
Inside Climate News
February 20, 2023

Religious belief has been central to the movement since its start. Sharon Lavigne, a 70-year-old grandmother in Louisiana taking on the plastics industry, is hailed as “a modern-day prophet.”

ST. JAMES, La.—The brown brick Roman Catholic church that sits here near the Mississippi River, next to dozens of large oil storage tanks, rose in 1930 amid the sugar cane fields of a former plantation. Twenty-two years later, Sharon Lavigne was born and baptized within its pale blue plaster walls pierced by the light from bright stained glass windows.

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