Danielle Koonce was recently interviewed for a Vox story investigating pollution caused by hog farming (video below). Koonce is currently conducting research for her dissertation, tentatively titled "Rural Resistance and Environmental Racism: Understanding How Rural Black Communities Engage in Environmental Justice." The project was born in early 2020, when Koonce was exploring ways to combine her scholarship with her desire to serve her community. "I knew I wanted to focus my dissertation research around the rural South because that reflects my background," Koonce explains. "I also didn't want to depart from my social movements interest. After a conversation with my parents about ground-water and air-quality issues that they were experiencing due to several environmental issues, I realized immediately that I would devote my dissertation work to understanding how Black people living in the rural south engage in Environmental Justice work."
When the COVID-19 pandemic led to a wave of lockdowns, Koonce returned home to North Carolina, where she began attending community meetings and finding ways to combine her experience as a community organizer and her interest in environmental justice in service to her community. "The Vox video was an opportunity to share from my perspective as a community organizer," Koonce relates, "and to do so alongside my father, which is something I will cherish forever."