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U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at a hearing of the Judiciary Committee on June 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Carolyn Kaster-Pool / Getty Images

By Yvette Cabrera

This story was originally published on Grist on July 30, 2020

Fifteen years ago, Kamala Harris — San Francisco's District Attorney at the time — created an environmental justice unit in her office. The goal was to go after the perpetrators of environmental crimes that were hurting some of the city's poorest residents.

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For the millions of Americans who live in an internet dead zone, fully participating in society in the age of social distancing has become difficult if not impossible. Karl Tapales / Getty Images

By Maddie Stone

One of the starkest inequalities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic is the difference between the digital haves and have-nots. Those with a fast internet connection are more able to work and learn remotely, stay in touch with loved ones, and access critical services like telemedicine. For the millions of Americans who live in an internet dead zone, fully participating in society in the age of social distancing has become difficult if not impossible.

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People protest the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Warrick Page / Getty Images

By Rachel Ramirez

"I can't breathe." These were among the final words that George Floyd and Eric Garner gasped before their deaths at the hands of white police officers. That plea has become part of the current rallying cry for racial justice and an end to police brutality in the U.S. But for black people living near industrial facilities, the phrase has an additional layer of meaning: a reminder of their disproportionate pollution burden.

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Honduran Lenca women take part in a protest demanding justice in the murder of Honduran activist Berta Caceres on the second anniversary of her death on March 2, 2018 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. ORLANDO SIERRA / AFP / Getty Images

By Rachel Ramirez

Adán Vez Lira, a prominent defender of an ecological reserve in Mexico, was shot while riding his motorcycle in April. Four years earlier, the renowned activist Berta Cáceres was shot dead in her home in Honduras by assailants taking direction from executives responsible for a dam she had opposed. Four years before that, Cambodian forest and land activist Chut Wutty was killed during a brawl with the country's military police while investigating illegal logging.

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Across the country, millions of people live within half a mile of fracking sites, like this one in Frederick, Colorado. milehightraveler / Getty Images

By Emily Pontecorvo and Naveena Sadasivam

On a spring weekend morning a few weeks ago, Judy Kelly stepped outside of her house in Broomfield, Colorado, to grab the newspaper when her nose perked up. It smelled like something was burning.

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By Naveena Sadasivam

It was early in the morning last Thursday, and Jonathan Butler was standing on the Fred Hartman Bridge, helping 11 fellow Greenpeace activists rappel down and suspend themselves over the Houston Ship Channel. The protesters dangled in the air most of the day, shutting down a part of one of the country's largest ports for oil.

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