Beyond the white noise
by Tim SullivanThe environment doesn't begin as you leave the city - workplaces and neighborhoods are part of it, too. But battles to protect these places, especially those belonging to minority groups, have not often been visible to the public.
The 2000 Directory of People of Color Environmental Groups brings these community fights to life, listing the causes and contact information of over 600 organizations in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Their battles range from protecting Yakima Indian rights to hunt and fish in Washington state to promoting alternative energy sources in Guanajuato, Mexico. Several activists have written page-long articles about their communities, like Rose Augustine of Tucson, Ariz., who has fought to keep deadly trichloroethylene out of her barrio's water supply.
"This dispels the myths that people of color are not concerned about the environment and that they don't have their own environmental organizations," says Robert D. Bullard, the founder of the Environmental Justice Resource Center in Atlanta, Ga. Bullard put together the directory, now in its third edition. He started compiling names of organizations in 1991, because the groups needed a way to communicate among themselves to form a larger voice in mainstream politics.
"We have redefined the environment to include where we live, where we work, where we go to school, and the concept of equity," says Bullard. "We wanted to get out and tell our stories, and it's worked."
The 2000 Directory of People of Color Environmental Groups can be requested from the Communications Department of the C.S. Mott Foundation, 1200 Mott Foundation Building, Flint, MI 48502-1851 (800/645-1766), www.ejrc.cau.edu.
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