Dec 12, 2018
The CHESS (Clean, Healthy, Educated, Safe & Sustainable) Community Organization launched in the Fall of 2017 after establishing a partnership with the HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium. The mission of CHESS is to strive for a community that is environmentally clean which involves beautifying streetscapes, ensuring that residents live in a healthy environment through innovative community restoration and preserving historic homes and schools to ensure children are well educated, safe with a zero tolerance for crime, and experience a sustained great quality of life. To accomplish our mission we have implemented projects and trainings to insure we are always working to make things better for the Africatown Community: CHESS has organized quarterly trainings with the HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium to ensure the CHESS team leaders are equipped with the tools and resources needed to serve the community and that CHESS stays on track towards the accomplishment of its mission. In addition, CHESS meets monthly to discuss its community plan and create new projects when appropriate. The following is a list of activities and events organized by CHESS in 2018: Held quarterly Africatown Community Meetings that have served to educate, inform and bring together the Africatown Community as never before. Sponsored a session where officers from The Mobile Police Department spoke with players from the Africatown Youth Football Program. Created a monthly Africatown News Blog that informs Africatown residents and others about things going on in Africatown. Purchased and installed Tarps to place on homes in Africatown that have leaking roofs. Created tours of Africatown for individuals and organizations that are interested in learning more about the Historic Africatown Community. Started a project together with MEJAC that describes all lots located in Africatown. Started a process that will begin a school /parent/teacher organization, something the Africatown school has not had in several years. Working to implement the Africatown Plan that sets out a unified vision for the long-term revitalization of Africatown, a plan paid for by The City Council and approved by The Mobile Planning Commission. Monitoring Industry in Africatown to ensure that they are held accountable for toxic emissions spewed into nearby communities. A major sponsor of the annual Africatown "Kids Kite Day". A major sponsor of the annual "Africatown Community Day Celebration". A major sponsor for the first "Africatown Connections Blueway Celebration". Although CHESS has only been in existence for 14 months, it has established a voice throughout the Africatown Community and the City of Mobile. CHESS together with continued capacity building through the HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium, expects to be a beacon of hope for the Africatown Community and an example for other underserved communities looking to improve their quality of life today and in the future. By Joe Womack President of CHESS ...
Jan 8, 2019
It can be easy to focus on the bad news when we think about the ocean: climate change, overfishing, pollution, loss of coastal habitats, biodiversity loss. All that is real, and cause for concern and concerted action. Still, there is also cause to celebrate: there are incredible community-based organizations working to address those challenges and foster new leadership for conservation. Click here for full article
Dec 13, 2018
Pleasantville assessing flood mitigation and air quality post Hurricane Harvey Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS), a community-based organization on the east end of Houston, Texas, in the Pleasantville Community, has launched a flood mitigation and air quality assessment in partnership with the HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium. The Consortium is under the direction of sociology scholars and environmental justice advocates, Dr. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor at Texas Southern University and Dr. Beverly Wright, Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in New Orleans. During a January 2018 Environmental Justice Forum, residents of the Pleasantville Community identified several priority issues of concern that has plagued their community for decades. Since that time, Pleasantville has identified Flood Mitigation and Air Quality as the top two priorities of concern. Flood Mitigation The ACTS research team mentors are Dr. Denae King and Dr. Glenn Johnson of Texas Southern University. The community research team is led by Chairperson Tracy Stephens who has worked diligently to identify resource and solutions to mitigate flooding in the community. According to the Harris County Flood Plain maps, Pleasantville is not located in either the 100 or 500-year flood plain areas. Ponding at the 610 Freeway has been identified as a significant source for flooding. In addition, this 70-year-old community has been requesting replacement of the storm sewer drainage infrastructure for the last 30 years as part of the City of Houston (COH) Capital Improvement Project (CIP) process. To date, the COH has completed an evaluation of the system and designed replacement of the system to be performed in four (4) phases. Only phase one (1) has been funded and completed. Though collaboration with the Pleasantville Area Super Neighborhood, Council #57, meetings have been coordinated so that residents interact directly with representatives to identify expected timelines for resolutions. Air Quality The Air Quality research to action plan has included scientific training (data analysis) and identification of additional resources. Brain Christensen, an intern from the University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, began air quality data analysis in June 2018. Data results from two separate air monitors were presented. One monitor is maintained by TCEQ (Texas Commission Environmental Quality) and the other is a community air monitor installed as part of the Beacon Project (University of California Berkley and Environmental Defense Fund/EDF). Data was compared to identify most common emissions, trends, similarities/difference and potential health impacts from exposure. The ACTS research and community engagement teams will also conduct asset mapping trainings and community health surveys as they work diligently to improve the quality of life in the Pleasantville Community. By Bridget Murray President of ACTS ...