August 20, 2020 – SAN DIEGO, CA – Today, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), will celebrate 40 years of community-led environmental justice (EJ) in the San Diego/Tijuana region. EHC’s 40thAnniverary Celebration will take place online due to COVID-19. The event will broadcast free at 5:15 PM (PST) today on YouTube (English) and Facebook (Spanish), featuring a keynote address from the renowned environmental and climate justice leader, Elizabeth Yeampierre. San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher will kick off the online festivities, which also feature the launch of a new video and spoken word poetry.
Over the past four decades, EHC has won many difficult battles confronting the unjust and racist consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use, and climate change. Frontline communities are now facing challenges as never before: coping with a deadly pandemic, skyrocketing unemployment, lack of health care, and systemic racism. In response, EHC is stepping up its commitment to fighting environmental racism and championing public health for the next 40 years and beyond.
“In 1980 when EHC began our journey, environmental racism was not on the environmental agenda, so people of color in the most impacted communities put it on the country’s agenda,” reflected Diane Takvorian, EHC’s executive director. “We have made incredible progress but our journey is far from over. The next decade will be the most transformative with the phase-out of fossil fuel; creation of land use plans that center equity and health and ensuring that environmental justice leaders become decision-makers at every level.”
EHC and local community leaders have been the driving force behind many seminal environmental justice victories in the San Diego/Tijuana region. These range from the landmark adoption of Community Right to Know laws in 1982 and the Mexico/US agreement to clean up Metales y sus Derivados in 2004 – to the approval of the Westside Specific Plan in National City in 2010 and the passing of California Assembly Bill 423 in 2019 to democratize the San Diego Air Pollution Control District Board.
“The work of EHC has helped transform San Diego and elevate our environmental justice issues,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “Congratulations on four decades of important work to address air quality, environmental justice, and being a forceful advocate for our communities.”
Resident leaders and community members have played a critical role in every EHC campaign, as part of a Community Action Team, as Promotoras, and EJ Weavers, balancing a persistent commitment to environmental justice with work, family responsibilities, and often-serious health issues. Since 1980, countless resident leaders, spanning three generations, have emerged from the communities where EHC works.
“I have grown up with the Environmental Health Coalition and we will keep fighting for environmental justice for many more years,” shared Vannesa Hernandez, a member of EHC’s youth group in Tijuana, Mexico, Grupo de Jóvenes del Colectivo Salud y Justicia Ambiental.
For more information, please contact Bari Samad at 619-343-6509 or
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH COALITION
Founded in 1980, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) builds grassroots campaigns to confront the unjust consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use, and climate change. Visit online at http://www.environmentalhealth.org.