Pushing Forward by Seizing Momentum and Building Power
The SCLA-PUSH project team is proud of what we have accomplished to date! Our dynamic cross-stakeholder collaboration has produced successful and insightful outcomes, including strengthening the capacity of South Central LA residents and advocates to understand air pollution in their communities, collectivizing our power through community-science research and analysis, and mobilizing our diverse community to fight for our fair share of resources.
At the heart of the SCLA-PUSH project, we center the health, well-being and leadership of Black and Brown lives and experiences. Increasingly, local governments and medical associations are declaring racism a public health crisis. In a time of energized mobilizations against systemic racism and police brutality, of ongoing political turmoil, and the unprecedented and uneven impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color and low-income communities, it is even more imperative that we continue to push for environmental justice.
We intend to seize this momentum now and push forward meaningful and progressive solutions in the immediate future. Here is a glimpse of what the future holds for us:
Building on the successes of the first three Air Quality Academies, the SCLA-PUSH team will continue training community residents in the science of air quality and lead ground-truthing expeditions to find community solutions that will reduce pollution burden in their neighborhoods.
Through a community visioning and planning process, SCLA-PUSH project members and residents will work together to produce a roadmap for transforming South Central LA’s air quality primarily through innovative technology solutions that are rooted in a Just Transition framework. Specifically, we will develop a set of tools to assess the viability of Best Available Control Technologies to reduce air pollution from the facilities-of-concern identified by our community Air Quality Ambassadors, primarily auto body shops, metal facilities and dry cleaners. The Community Regenerative Plan will synchronize technical capacity building for community residents, small business outreach around clean and green production, and regulatory engagement to achieve our vision of transforming the state of the air in South Central Los Angeles.
Environmental reporting is a useful tool for communities to collect environmental hazards data and inform the appropriate agencies. In collaboration with the Department of Medicine at USC and community residents, the project supported the development of the EnviroReport app. The app will allow South Central LA residents to collect and crowdsource environmental issues such as industrial activities, odors, burning, truck idling, amongst other harmful conditions.
Are you interested in collecting environmental reports in your community?
Residents from South Central LA have expressed loud and clear that they are concerned by the cumulative impacts of polluting industries, mobile sources of pollution and socio-economic factors that determine health. Based on the community's concerns, as well as our analysis of air pollution in South Central LA, the project will amplify its efforts to engage in air quality regulatory processes in order to ensure crucial decisions center the needs of the community and the collective vision of a healthier and thriving South Central Los Angeles.
Our vision for environmental justice in South Central LA can be accomplished by demanding direct facility emissions reductions, a Just Transition of key industries-of-concern, holding agencies accountable to communities of color and low-income communities, and collectively advancing a vision for greener, healthier and more just environments. A significant body of scientific analyses points to the inevitable conclusion: we must reduce pollution burden and cumulative stressors, and address racism as a public health crisis to protect already overburdened communities. The current COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and increased the urgent need for improved air quality and health protections.
South Central LA is awaiting the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the AB 617 program to continue to push for significant emissions reductions and improvements in air quality. AB 617 needs to provide a stronger regulatory platform to carry out a Just Transition, clean production, and economic justice approach to address air pollution burden and create needed health protections. Though we strongly support South Central LA designation as an official AB 617 community, as environmental justice and health advocates we stand in solidarity and support other environmental justice communities who are also burdened by air pollution—because all communities deserve to benefit from air-quality improvements.
Our SCLA-PUSH team and Air Quality Ambassadors are the agents of change who validate community science and local wisdom as key factors toward a transformation that is rooted in dismantling systems of oppression and reimagining community health and safety. South Central LA communities’ stories and experiences are cemented in our collective vision of healthier, thriving, and cleaner communities and collectively we are paving the way toward a stronger and more resilient South Central LA.