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Government, community members to focus on climate equity at Green Zone Summit

Community and government come together at Green Zone Summit
Community and government come together at Green Zone Summit 02:07

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis Health Department is working with the community to improve the lives of those living in areas with high levels of environmental pollution.

For Roxxanne O'Brien, the Terrell Mayes, Jr. Memorial Garden is a place of solitude and where she focuses her fight for environmental justice.

"We wanted to create a space where [the] community could come together and have conversations about issues that affect us," O'Brien said. "Our communities were zoned to be the communities that held the majority of the pollutions," O'Brien said.

The health department is partnering with the north and south side green zones to help right years of wrongs.

"A green zone is a designated environmental justice area within the City of Minneapolis that really recognizes the harm caused by primarily the government decisions and private sector decisions over centuries -- where land use planning, freeway planning, industrial locations, all of those things have concentrated pollution in communities of color," said Kelly Muellman with the Minneapolis Health Department.

RELATED: Low-Income, Diverse Communities Disproportionately Affected By Air Pollution

The Green Zone Summit is where government and community come together to focus on climate equity.

"So many of the successes have been because of the community members like Roxxanne O'Brien and community members for environmental justice who have led the way in fighting industrial polluters," Muellman said.

O'Brien helped expose companies polluting the air. She says the city is listening to community concerns and helping find solutions.

"Just recently the city has changed zoning," O'Brien said.

O'Brien believes this year's Green Zone Summit will lead to improvement in communities hardest hit by pollution.

"I'm hoping people walk away inspired and maybe even hopefully they will see their own responsibility in taking care of the place we call home," O'Brien said.

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