When it comes to the climate crisis, there is a stark divide between who is most affected due to the structural inequalities caused by the legacy of institutional racism. In “The First Responder”, People over Plastic co-founder and host Shilpi Chhotray and Prism’s climate justice reporter, Ray Levy Uyeda chat with David Heppard, the Executive Director of the Freedom Project Washington – a Seattle-based organization that works to dismantle the system of mass incarceration and heal its traumatic effects. Last year, the Freedom Project shifted its priorities to meet the community’s immediate needs in the face of a devastating heat wave, with temperatures reaching a record of 115°F in June of 2021. David’s particular experiences, as a first responder in his community, is a powerful example of community investment and transformation. Freedom Projects’ ability to provide water, fans, and space were instrumental in offering both mental and physical support during times of intense heat.