LOWNDES COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Former Vice President Al Gore and his co-host Dr. William Barber ll arrived about an hour late in White Hall Thursday morning but didn’t disappoint the audience of around 250 as both men highlighted what they considered the “real emergency" in America.
'"There are 140 million Americans poor and low income people in this nation today," said Barber.
The town hall meeting gave residents like Jimmy Smith a chance to tell stories of a polluted environment in their neighborhoods.
“Dead and gone to be with the Lord,” Smith said as he held up a photo of his daughter.
Smith says his daughter died from cancer brought on by pollution in Birmingham.
“Because that’s what the doctor said,” he said.
“I just want to tie all this together,” said Gore.
Gore feels it’s all connected; poverty, racism and health threats brought on by ecological disaster such as untreated wastewater and sewage lagoons in Lowndes County.
“When a hazardous waste site or a garbage dump is located it is far more likely adjacent to a community of color or community of low income," he said.
The former vice president suggested if residents want change, they have to get involved, starting at the ballot box.
“This is what change in America looks like,” he told the crowd.
Gore and Barber will conduct their Climate Reality Leadership Training in Atlanta, Georgia, next month, an opportunity they feel could find real solutions to help fight the injustices ranging from poverty to ecological challenges. The training seminar is set for March 14.
The former vice president is convinced there is hope.
“I believe in the American democracy. When people wake up and have the determination to change, watch out because change is coming," said Gore.
Twenty years after leaving office, Mr. Gore continues his crusade on what he believes is major climate crisis. White Hall was another stop on his journey.