For Immediate Release
Detroiters Gather to Discuss Civil Rights and the Environment
Environmental Justice is Key to the City’s Future
Detroit, MI, January 19, 2005 – What roles will clean water, air and land play in Detroit’s rejuvenation and vitality? Some Detroiters believe that a city is most viable when it is healthy and safe. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency and many researchers have shown that communities of color and low-income communities are dumped on and exposed to more toxins than middle-class white communities. Environmental justice solutions are vital to Detroit, a city with majority African Americans and significant Latino and Arab American populations.
The Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition invites residents concerned about civil rights and the environment to a public meeting, a “Town Hall” meeting, on environmental justice. The Town Hall Meeting on Environmental Justice will take place Monday, January 31, 2005 at 7:00pm, in Barth Hall, 4800 Woodward Avenue (on the corner of Warren Avenue and Woodward) in Detroit. There will be a 6:30pm Reception.
“We deserve a city that doesn’t endanger our health and we need such a city if we’re going to keep families here and attract new ones,” said Donele Wilkins of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. “We simply can’t afford to continue business as usual.”
The Town Hall will feature short presentations from residents of communities with environmental hotspot, such as the area around the CanFlow facility, Northwest Goldberg, and the area in southwest Detroit proposed for the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT).
Healthy families are the cornerstone of a healthy vibrant city. One of the aims of the environmental justice movement is to make urban areas healthy, attractive, people friendly places. With the baselines of human health and equal protection under the law, environmental justice advocates in Detroit hope to prevent incidents such as when the CanFlow Company dumped waste in Detroit. The company came from Canada daily to dump 30,000 gallons of toxic waste into an eastside Detroit neighborhood overwhelming the sewer system. The waste backed up into residents basements causing many health problems.
“This will be chance for residents to get with their elected officials and tell their stories,” said Angela Reyes of Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation. “But the goal is not just to talk but to outline steps for action as well.”
In addition to elected officials and residents, the Town Hall Meeting will feature Professor Bunyan Bryant of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, a distinguished scholar who wrote the book Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazard on environmental justice. Those in attendance will get an overview of the challenges and some tools to help deal with them.
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Kim D. Hunter
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
2727 Second Ave. #318
Detroit, MI 48201