Monday, Sept. 25 2006
Working for Environmental Justice:
Justice Tour Hits Detroit
conference, trip through city coincides with national events aimed at calling
attention to toxic plight of inner city residents
advocates, social justice leaders, human rights advocates and Detroit residents
who are “gasping” for relief from smog-choked neighborhoods will
conduct the “ Detroit Environmental Justice 4 all Tour” on Tuesday,
It starts at 10 a.m. at
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, 4750 Woodward Ave. , room 406 of the
Hannan House in Detroit.
A press conference will take place at
10:30 a.m. in front of Southwestern
at Waterman and Fort streets, Speakers include Donele Wilkins and Rhonda
Anderson. All press, local, state and national elected officials are invited to
join the tour, which ends at noon.
justice advocates are conducting a national tour of low-income communities and
communities of color, calling on Congress to address environmental protection
and stop environmental racism. The Detroit tour
is a spin-off of the National tour aimed at demonstrating the need for
environmental justice protections here in the state of Michigan. The tour will cover the east and
west sides of Detroit.
Why the need for justice?
One in 5 children in Detroit
has asthma. A 2002 state report showed “asthma hospitalizations for
children are three times the statewide average.”
Asthma accounts for over 14 million missed school days or educational
opportunities annually (School and
Governance report 2003). African American children are four times
more likely to die from an asthma attack. One in 10 women of child-bearing age
Michigan has unsafe levels of mercury in their
blood, attributed to eating tuna and fish from Great Lakes.
Many Detroit communities rely on tuna and fish
from the Detroit
River for subsistence.
More reasons? Among Detroit children tested
for lead, over 18,000 had unsafe lead levels in their blood.
There are over 40,000 Brownfield parcels (contaminated land) across the city.
Over 40,000 citizens in Metro Detroit are without water in the heart of a Great Lakes system that has almost 20% of the
world’s fresh surface water. In Southwest Detroit, communities and
schools are surrounded by Marathon Oil Refinery, the Detroit Waste Water
treatment plant, I-75 (carrying more than 40,000 diesel trucks daily), a DTE
Power coal-fire power plant, Detroit Salt, etc. etc. How much more can our
Additionally a proposed
twin of the Ambassador
Bridge threatens to bring
more diesel smog and congestion to the state's poorest neighborhoods.
“A bridge by any
name still stinks the same” Rhonda Anderson, Sierra Club EJ organizer.
“With rate of asthma, particularly in Southwest
Detroit, to add another major polluting source is an insult to the
Roshani Dantas, Michigan
Environmental Council, said: “Imagine a 2 year old child suffering from
an asthma attack, being lead poisoned in her home, eating spoiled food from
local grocery stores and exposed to mercury pre-natally. Science can’t
keep up with complex studies of these exposures to children!”
Donele Wilkins, Exec
Director of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice had this to say
“"We are citizens concerned about quality of life issues that
continue to diminish because decisions are made without consideration for the
health and environmental quality of our city. Environmental justice cannot be
ignored when people who live in places like Detroit suffer a disproportional burden of
pollution. Belle Isle Beach
is ignored for monitoring because resources are not there to do it. Children in
Detroit suffer the most from lead poisoning
because of facilities like the abandoned Master Metals Lead smelter on Detroit's northeast side.
The State of Michigan
needs a policy that addresses the environmental problems that our city must
Co-sponsors: Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and Campaign
Action for Environmental Justice.
Hugh McDiarmid Jr.
119 Pere Marquette
Lansing, MI 48912