Putting Environmental Justice First: Clean Water Action's Kim Gaddy Joins Historic Summit at U.S. Capitol
All Americans deserve to live in healthy environments, free from pollution and toxic waste. But people of color and low-income Americans are disproportionately affected by pollution every day. Clean Water Action was honored to attend today’s first-ever Congressional Convening on Environmental Justice to fight for Environmental Justice now.
Imagine growing up in a low-income immigrant of color neighborhood that has been subject to disinvestment and neglect. Imagine your neighborhood is also near neighborhoods with extensive wealth and resources and demographics that are nothing like yours. If you grow up in this type of neighborhood you may start thinking that you are not worth being invested in, and that your circumstances say something about your value as a person.
My name is Jesus Alonso, and I am the Kern Environmental Justice Community Organizer for Clean Water Action. I was born and raised in Lamont, a small, low-income, Spanish-speaking migrant community in Kern County. I am passionate about our work in Kern, not only because it is where I grew up but because the hard-working people of Kern face some of the worst environment-related health impacts and poorest air quality in our state. Multiple nearby pollution sources, including agriculture and oil and gas infrastructure, continually fill our air with contaminants.
As a self-proclaimed “social justice warrior”, I am ashamed of how late I arrived to environmentalism. Growing up in Baltimore, I focused on police brutality, homelessness, and a faulty public education system. I remember walking down Preston street seeing my community members throwing corner store trash in the road. I saw cigarette butts and soda cans in the alleyways, but I still didn’t make the connection. How could I not notice the lead poisoning epidemic? Why did I consider sewage overflows and the Chesapeake Bay pollution to be a less important issue?
We're getting so excited for our 32nd Annual Conference, Rise Up, Persist & Win, happening next weekend, Saturday, April 28th, 2018, from 9 am to 5 at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, NJ. Don't miss our Keynote Speaker First Lady Tammy Murphy, who also serves as Secretary and charter member of The Climate Reality Action Fund, an organization founded by former Vice-President Al Gore.
Yesterday, Clean Water Action joined the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) and City of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to lead a motorcade rally through the port followed by a rally on the steps of City Hall to demand the Port Authority of NY/NJ ensure clean air and good jobs now.
By Amy Goldsmith, State Director, Clean Water Action. Follow on Twitter.
Solid as a rock
Rooted like a tree
I am here
In my rightful place
I’d like to introduce myself as Clean Water Action’s new Maryland Program Organizer! I started just two weeks ago, and I could not be more excited to work with you to protect clean water and healthy environments in our state.