For Immediate Release: Date
For More Information Contact:
Donele Wilkins (313) 821-1064
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
Celebration of 10 Years of Struggle in the “Hood”
Anniversary of Detroit Environmental Justice Summit
Detroit, July 6, 2004– Many of Detroit’s most prominent leaders and activists will be gathering Friday, July 9 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Detroit’s Environmental Justice Summit. The event takes place this Friday 6:00 – 9:00 PM at the Serengeti Galleries 2957 Grand River, one block south of Motor City Casino. The event is free and those who need more information can call (313) 821-1064
Ten years ago, African, Arab, Asian, Latino and Native Americans gathered to address their disproportionate exposure to pollution, in short, the issue of environmental racism. Since then, struggles have been waged in the areas of the CanFlow and Master Metals waste sites on the East side, the proposed Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT) on the Southwest side, and in the central city to close the Henry Ford medical waste incinerator.
“Nothing re-energizes people like a celebration,” said Donele Wilkins of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ). “This 10 year Anniversary event will be a time for us to stop, celebrate our accomplishments and strategize for struggles that remain.”
In the midst of the free food, fun and music, people will be able to write down or record orally their take on environmental problems and any solutions they might have. Many of those issues may not be considered “environmental” in the traditional since. The environmental justice movement takes a broader, everyday approach to the environment.
“People who live in poor housing near congested freeways suffer from exposure to lead and car exhaust,” said Rhonda Anderson, Sierra Club Environmental Justice Organizer. “People with low incomes fish in the Detroit River and catch eat polluted fish to supplement their food supply. So, poverty overlaps environmental issues.”
Organizers of the Detroit’s 10th Anniversary Environmental Justice Gathering believe that once organized, ordinary folks can provide many of the solutions to their problems. One of the keys to the struggle is using representative government to protect the air, water and land. That can only happen after the problem receives the recognition it is due. One of the goals of this event is to raise awareness of the basics of environmental justice.
Years ago, the scientific and scholarly research people like Dr. Bunyan Bryant, University of Michigan Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment, established that people of color were more likely to live near toxic waste sites than whites. This was the case even for middle class African and Latino Americans. This documentation of environmental racism helped spark the environmental justice movement.
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Kim D. Hunter
Sierra Club, Mackinac Chapter
2727 Second Avenue #318
Detroit, MI 48201
313-965-0053 - fax