New York, December 12, 2015, Less than a week after being awarded a grant that will allow them to incorporate a community manufactured climate action plan into Northern Manhattan, WE ACT for Environmental Justice celebrates another victory as 22 community members graduated from their Environmental Health Justice and Leadership Training (EHJLT). After nine weeks of sessions covering issues like Environmental Health, Indoor Air Pollution, Toxic Chemicals, sustainable land use, and climate Justice. These residents of Northern Manhattan are now prepared to go out into their neighborhoods and become agents of change for climate justice.
The Curriculum incorporated workshops to help community members get a better understanding of Environmental Injustices (EJ) issues in New York City with a focus on Northern Manhattan. Each participant of the program received an EHJLT manual highlighting EJ issues in Northern Manhattan, EJ terminology, definitions, laws/policies, history of EJ and WEACT, tips/resources, basic organizing and advocacy techniques. Upon completion of the program, graduates received a packet including two books on community organizing and environmental justice According to David Chang, WEACT’S Environmental Health Coordinator, the training offered a fresh opportunity to engage members on the issues on a deeper level:
According to WE ACT member and participant Raquel Morrison the process has helped her find like minded people ready to take actin, saying;
"Before I found out about WE ACT, I would get so frustrated, because I felt alone. I felt like there wasn't anyone that I could connect with on issues that were important to me. This training educated me, but it also connected me with all of these people who don't just want to talk about the problem, they want to be the solution."
The graduating members will continue their education and advocacy with WE ACT by participating in the many working groups and actions that WE ACT has coming up. The next session of the EHJLT will take place in early spring, people interested can reach out to the Organizing Director, James Burke, for additional information.
West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT for Environmental Justice) is a Northern Manhattan community-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by assuring that people of color and/or low-income participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.
For additional information on our workshops, contact Stanley Fritz 212-961-1000 ext. 320