North Carolina

Al Gore, daughter Karenna Gore, Rev. Barber on two-day tour of polluted poor communities in NC

A coal pile looms at the Belews Creek Coal Plant.
A coal pile looms at the Belews Creek Coal Plant. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Former Vice President Al Gore, his daughter Karenna Gore and former NAACP state leader the Rev. William Barber will be in North Carolina on Sunday and Monday for an environmental justice tour.

The trio will start with a 9:45 a.m. worship service Sunday at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, where Barber is pastor.

At noon Monday, they will hold a news conference at Belews Creek in Stokes County, which has been contaminated by coal ash.

At 6 p.m. Monday, they will attend a Moral Monday meeting at Shiloh Baptist Church in Greensboro, where testimonials from people who live near polluted areas will be included in the program.

The two-day tour is organized by the Poor People’s Campaign, which is the national movement that Barber has helped kick off.

Karenna Gore is director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She said in an email to The News & Observer that she met Barber at Union Theological Seminary when she was studying there. Her father met Barber at a peace and justice event in Alabama earlier this year, she said.

“The N.C. trip grew out of those connections,” Karenna Gore said. “Of course, it also grew out of a desire to connect the dots between civil rights and climate change and build the popular movement we need to conserve and protect the health of people and the planet as a whole.”

Al Gore is the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project.

Barber recently tweeted about the event: “Please join me, @algore, @KarennaGore & @UniteThePoor as we listen to people impacted by ecological devastation in rural North Carolina, birthplace of the environmental justice movement.”

Dumping of toxic waste from a plant in Raleigh to a landfill in Warren County in the early 1980s led to mass protests and arrests and was widely credited as the birthplace of the environmental justice movement.

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