"Advocates urge Detroit to turn down proposed concrete crushing facility" - Detroit Free Press
Environmental racism causes communities of color to face higher levels of exposure to environmental hazards when compared to the White population. Such as being concentrated in substandard housing or located near pollution sources — like toxic waste sites, landfills, chemical plants, and major roadways.
Community organizers use persuasive stories to fundraise, find volunteers and mobilize people to fight for change. How can organizers tell stories that are easy to understand and share with others? Do this quickly with next to no budget?
This blog is about how Vanessa Butterworth, a long time organizer is fighting environmental racism in Core City, Michigan where a new concrete crusher is threatening local families and farms. The blog explains how her team collected stories from residents, prepared graphics and launched a petition to ask authorities to deny the proposed project. DemLabs worked with Vanessa to create this StoryMap which combines the information collected into an interactive story.
No Concrete Crusher in Core City StoryMap
Hazardous dust would ruin the community
"Advocates are urging Detroit officials to stand against a proposed concrete crushing facility in the Core City neighborhood that sits near a highway and residential properties. Vanessa Butterworth, who lives a few blocks away from the site, is heavily against the project due to the amount of dust that she fears may land onto residential properties and nearby farms. Butterworth is collecting petition signatures advocating against an intensive industrial site to deliver to City Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero's office. "There’s houses directly across from this. Fifty trucks a day in this neighborhood will ruin this neighborhood", said Butterworth. - Detroit Free Press
"It’s just going to make it harder for us to run our farm business," said Andy Chae, Fisheyes Farms. "If there’s concrete crusher in our neighborhood and people are questioning whether or not our food is safe because there could be concrete dust on the produce." - Fox2Detroit
Grab their interest
This StoryMap starts with an 11 second video created with the free iMovie app. It shows trucks delivering concrete to a crushing facility, the process which generates a lot of dust and a sick young man. The video encapsulates the story and hopefully invites the reader to go further.
Build the story with details
Use maps, images and videos to tell the reader what's going on and where. Information is easier to absorb visually. Keep your text concise, but include links to details for those who are interested. Readers can zoom into the map and click on an image to magnify it. This story was designed with the StoryMap app which costs a nonprofit about $30/month.
Use GIFs to tell your story
GIFs let you add animation to your story, without requiring the reader to click on a URL to see the video. GIFs can be overlaid with text using the free ezGIF app and also be shared independent of the StoryMap.
Include a 'call to action'
- Read the report - Understand the dangers caused by concrete crushing
- Sign the petition - Say NO to the open air concrete crushing project at 4445 Lawton in Core City!
- Learn more - Get involved and support the movement to fight environmental racism.
Human beings are visual creatures, but they are drowning in a tidal wave of data. Data visualization makes all this information easier to understand and act upon. Data visualization works from a human perspective because we respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Since we are visual by nature, we can use this skill to enhance data processing and organizational effectiveness. - T-Sciences
Visuals help us to better retrieve and remember information. Words are abstract and rather difficult for the brain to retain, whereas visuals are concrete and, as such, more easily remembered... visual cues help us to better retrieve and remember information. Visuals decrease learning time, improve comprehension, enhance retrieval, and increase retention. - Psychology Today
Take Away: Make your story more persuasive and easier to share with a StoryMap.
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