Dec 13, 2018

Pleasantville Flood Mitigation

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  ...

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Dec 12, 2018

CHESS on the Move

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  ...

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Nov 15, 2018

HBCUs Waging War for Climate Justice

2018 HBCU Climate Change Presentations Dr. Beverly Wright, executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) and Dr. Robert Bullard, distinguished professor, Texas Southern University co-convened the 6th Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference in New Orleans, September 18 – 23, 2018. Xavier University of Louisiana President, Dr. Reynold Verret, welcomed conference participants to their beautiful campus and Mayor LaToya Cantrell took time out of her busy schedule to welcome conference participants to the City of New Orleans. This year’s theme was, Fighting for our Lives.”   Over three hundred students, faculty, staff, faith, environmental justice and community leaders gathered to participate in the discussion about equity, inclusion, sustainability, and adaptation in the face of climate change.  Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in attendance included: Alcorn State University, Alabama A & M University, Bethune Cookman University, Dillard University, Fisk University, Florida A & M University, Grambling State University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Kentucky State University, Lincoln University, North Carolina A & M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University A & M, Spelman College, Tennessee State University, Texas Southern University, Virginia State University, and Xavier University of Louisiana. Other university participants included the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Massachusetts Boston, Emory University – Rollins School of Public Health, Chatham University, Humboldt State University, Carnegie Mellon University-Heinz College.  Four students from De La Salle High School, were also in attendance. The four-day conference included the Plantation to Plant Tour (Cancer Alley), expert panels, student panels, a student poster session, a career fair, two keynote speakers, two interactive workshops and the 2018 Damu Smith Award. For more information Click Here.  ...

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Oct 6, 2018

Climate Change Is For Real

Jeanne John recently planted some trees to help with drainage issues in her block of Piedmont Drive in Gentilly Terrace. But she’d like to do more, she said. So on Saturday morning, John attended a two-hour Community Forum on Climate & Equity at the Milne Rec Center and brainstormed with four dozen other New Orleanians, many of them leaders in the neighborhoods that make up Gentilly and the rest of City Council District D.   Click here for full article. ...

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Jun 7, 2018

The HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium co-host Environmental and Health Forum in Gulfport, MS

The Education, Economic, Environmental, Climate and Health Organization (EEECHO) co-hosted an Environmental Justice Forum to introduce an innovative project that aims to improve the lives of children and families in Gulfport communities, on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.   

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May 7, 2018

Environmental Career Worker Spring Graduation

May 7, 2018- The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) Spring 2018 Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) was held at 9801 Lake Forest Blvd in New Orleans East, February 15 - April 28, 2018. The twelve week training consisted of a six-week basic skills training that utilizes a work-based learning curriculum and  six-weeks of technical skills training. On May 7, 2018, sixteen aspiring young men completed the training receiving certificates in forty (40) hours hazardous waste operator, thirty-two (32) hours Asbestos Abatement Worker, sixteen (16) hours Mold Remediation, sixteen (16) hours Lead Abatement Worker, ten (10) hours OSHA General Industry, forty (40) hours Construction, and forty (40) hours Weatherization Installer. The graduation ceremony was held at City Park, Park View Terrace. The ceremony featured trophies and gifts for graduates who were recognized for significant achievement by their instructors, counselors, and program staff. Harrel Evans was named “Best All Around Student" for his excellent performance in all aspects of the training. The guest speaker was Dr. Dana Andrus, a Motivational Speaker and Life Coach.  Job placement efforts are underway to place graduates into viable and sustainable employment. The DSCEJ has trained young men and women in environmental health and safety for over twenty-three years. The next ECWTP training will be held in the Spring of 2019. The Environmental Career Worker Training Program is funded by the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). For more information about our training, please call 504-272-0956 or visit our website at http://www.dscej.org/our-work/worker-health-and-safety-training. ...

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Apr 22, 2018

Walking with Warriors

Dr. Beverly Wright is a professor of sociology and the founding director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ). For nearly two decades, she has been a leading scholar and advocate in the environmental justice arena.   Click here for full article.

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Mar 26, 2018

What's Council-Member elect Cyndi Nguyen's position on Entergy Plant?

While the vote is out of Nguyen's hands, she says it's not too late to take concerns to the president of Entergy in New Orleans.          Allowing Entergy to rebuild a plant in a place without doing health disparity studies or anything, just because it was there before makes absolutely no sense," Beverly Wright said. The debate over allowing Entergy to build a new gas fire power plant in New Orleans East is not over for some like Wright. As a resident in the East and director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, she questions why the vote for a new plant was not delayed until new incoming City Council members were sworn in. Click here for more information....

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Mar 2, 2018

What Entergy Wants Versus What New Orleans Needs

The City Council has the responsibility to decide whether Entergy's application for a gas plant in New Orleans East is in the public interest. What Entergy wants may not be in the public interest, but what New Orleans needs defines the public interest. There is no independent utility authority declaring that a new gas plant is needed in New Orleans. Entergy simply wants one. It is clear that Entergy wants a gas plant that would cost at least $210 million to construct. Entergy also wants the City Council to shift all the financial risks to residents and businesses in New Orleans. If approved, Entergy would receive an 11 percent profit on the construction cost -- called a "return on equity" -- of at least $23 million. Click here for more information....

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Feb 27, 2018

Entergy Gas Plant Bad Deal for New Orleans

Record of Evidence on Entergy Gas Plant Confirms It Would Be a Bad Deal for New Orleans - City Council Decision on This Record Expected Soon NEW ORLEANS, LA – As the City Council draws near to making a decision on whether Entergy’s application to build a new gas plant would be in the public interest, the evidentiary record confirms major problems with Entergy’s proposal. Entergy makes public claims promoting the gas plant that do not match the admissions of Entergy CEO Charles Rice and others under oath during the recent evidentiary hearing on the gas plant. The transcript of this evidentiary hearing can be viewed on the Energy Future New Orleans Coalition’s website at: https://www.nogasplant.com/news.  “We have said all along that Entergy’s gas plant would be a bad deal for New Orleans and now we have the record to prove it,” said Dawn Hebert, a resident of New Orleans East who attended the evidentiary hearing. “I hope City Councilmembers read the transcript of the evidentiary hearing before they vote,” she said. The City Council Utility Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 10:00 am to consider a resolution and order on the Entergy gas plant application. At this meeting, the Council will hear closing arguments from the parties and intervenors in the docket proceeding and comments from the public. This meeting will take place in the Pan American Building at 601 Poydras Street in the 11th floor auditorium. Click here for the full PDF  ...

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