People of color and low-income residents are more likely to live and work in the nation’s most polluted communities than those who are white or more affluent. The fact that low-income, high minority communities lack social and political capital is related to their communities housing polluting facilities such as landfills, power plants and waste water treatment plants, as well as lacking parks, recreation and open space. As a result, residents in these neighborhoods often bear disproportionate environmental and public health burdens, and they are frequently deprived access to environmental benefits.
The community-based non-profit, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, was founded in 1988 as a result of local community struggles against environmental burdens. Since then, WE ACT has become a national leader in promoting environmental justice and, in the last year, opened a Washington, D.C., office to enhance WE ACT’s ability to focus federal attention on its priorities. Our project is to assist WE ACT in its work to educate members of the House of Representatives and their staffs about environmental justice by researching and creating a set of educational materials.