The SCLA-PUSH coalition developed and implemented a collaborative and creative process for building our community’s capacity to understand and assess the state of air quality and its impacts on community health and well-being. Our work is rooted in community residents’ knowledge and needs, because they are experts in understanding the physical and environmental landscape of their neighborhoods.
We pursue our goals in three primary ways: train residents and advocates through the Air Quality Academy, collect and analyze data through ground-truthing outings with Air Quality Academy graduates, and advocate directly for policy changes; specifically, we engage in the AB 617 implementation process. Learn more in the following sections!
The AQA is our innovative training model to build the capacity of community members to understand and collect air pollution data in their neighborhoods and advocate for policy change. By the end of the two-day training, residents have learned the fundamentals of air quality and health, designed a community air monitoring network to guide data collection, mastered the use of monitoring equipment including P-track monitors and AirBeams, and cultivated their ability to assess and engage in the air quality regulatory landscape.
To date, the SCLA-PUSH project has held three Air Quality Academies over the span of a year, and trained a strong cadre of 70 residents to become South Central LA Air Quality Ambassadors. Our AQA graduates continue to actively engage in the project by attending regulatory hearings, meetings with decision-makers, and by participating in additional trainings.
We are mobilizing our collective power to conduct community-driven science to address systemic failures in air pollution data collection.
Ground-truthing is a community-led method of engaging residents in collecting and verifying data based on a local understanding of conditions. Residents use their comprehensive understanding of their communities—their local expertise— to ground data in recent, lived experience. In the Air Quality Academy, residents begin ground-truthing and gathering local data by walking census tracts near the training site.
In groups, Air Quality Ambassadors observe the surrounding environment noting where potential sources of pollution exist, and measure air quality conditions using P-track monitors and AirBeams. These skills are further refined in the Ground-truthing Workshop – “Air Pollution, Community Health, and the Power of Community Science,” where graduates once again take to the streets to locate potential hazardous uses and collect more data on additional environmental stressors such as cracked sidewalks, lack of green spaces, litter, etc. These stories, alongside the community collected data are presented in the Our Stories page of this website. The synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data helps us clearly visualize the cumulative impacts experienced by South Central LA residents.
AQA graduates assessing P-track Monitor data at an intersection in South LA.
In addition to collecting community driven data, our SCLA-PUSH academic partners have worked to assemble and analyze regulatory data on stationary facilities and pollution sources in South Central LA. This includes data on air pollution emissions by industries, industrial enforcement and compliance, and air permit violations. This information can be found in the Our Data (insert link) tab of this website. The map paints a more accurate picture of how residents experience air pollution on a daily basis.
The SCLA-PUSH coalition firmly believes that South Central LA deserves to be selected as an AB 617 community. While South Central Los Angeles has not been selected yet as one of the communities to develop or implement a Community Air Monitoring Plan and/or a Community Emissions Reduction Plan, SCLA-PUSH has been awarded funding to engage the community in education, awareness and air quality training.
By mobilizing advocates and Air Quality Academy graduates, we are pushing CARB, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and local decision-makers to select South Central LA for a Community Emissions Reduction Plan. To advance our goal, AQA graduates and SCLA-PUSH members have shared their stories at AB 617 board meetings locally and in Sacramento, expressing the need for tangible measures to comprehensively monitor air pollution, real solutions to truly reduce emissions, and the urgency to reduce air pollution burden and construct a healthier and thriving South Central LA.
Patricia Jones, SCLA-PUSH Air Quality Academy Graduate
Iretha Warmsley SCLA-PUSH AQA graduate