From Port to River: Environmental Justice Bus Tour Recap
For low-income communities and communities of color, the dangers of exposure to environmental hazards are severe. In Los Angeles, these risks are magnified due to the close proximity of oil development and industrial pollution to highly populated areas.
On our recent “From Port to River: Environmental Justice Bus Tour,” Liberty Hill community partners and donor activists embarked on a tour along the I-710 and I-110 corridors, meeting with frontline organizers to learn about the impacts of ports, refineries, and warehousing on local L.A. communities.
Co-hosted by Liberty Hill’s Environmental + Justice Donor Circle and NextGen Giving Circle, the tour brought our community of donor activists together to witness the impacts of environmental racism on local urban communities. Guests visited the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach, the L.A. River, and oil drilling sites in the Long Beach neighborhood of Wilmington—which ranks among the top 5% of communities in California with the highest pollution exposure.
Organizers and movement leaders Ashley Hernandez (Communities for a Better Environment), Jan Victor Andasan (East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice), and mark! lopez (East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice) shared the effects that these environmental hazards have on local residents.
Ashley shared, “In the Wilmington area, it is common to develop respiratory problems, reproductive issues, cancers, and irritation to the eyes, nose or skin as a symptom of the cumulative impacts residents simply can't escape.” She continued, “Our residents play basketball next to oil wells, go to schools across from refineries, and see oil donation placards in community venues, school clubs, and even in prospective political candidates.”
Community-based organizations like Communities for a Better Environmental (CBE) and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ), have been organizing for years to prevent and reduce environmental hazards in neighborhoods throughout L.A. and Long Beach. While recent victories have been won on the EJ front, organizers continue to work to improve air quality, community health, and overall quality of life for local residents.
“Our community has suffered enough sacrifice. We want no drilling where we are living and the continued phase-out of the oil and gas infrastructure until we are all free of fossil fuels,” said Ashley.