The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice has three components for reaching its organizational objectives:
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice partners with communities harmed by racially disproportionate pollution burdens and attendant climate vulnerabilities. In these partnerships, the Center builds the capacity of communities to respond to environmental threats and hazards through workshops that train community members to:
- monitor environmental hazards in their neighborhood;
- understand the risks of toxic exposures;
- research online environmental data;
- know their rights and the duties of governmental agencies; and
- develop strategic advocacy for policies and decisions that prevent and remedy unsafe environmental conditions.
The Center also provides a wide array of organizational assistance to sustain community partners that include leadership development, strategic advocacy, outreach and membership recruitment, grant writing and fundraising, and collaboration with diverse organizations.
Research and Policy StudiesThe Deep South Center for Environmental Justice develops and manages innovative research and policy studies that build knowledge and inform policies for achieving environmental, climate and economic justice in the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor and the Gulf Coast Region. The Center also hosts the annual HBCU Climate Change Conference in New Orleans to raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of climate change on vulnerable and marginalized communities as well as prepare HBCU students to become experts and advocates on issues related to environmental and climate justice.
The Center has a long history of valuable research that has produced the following:
- the first maps showing the correlation between toxic pollution and race in the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor;
- environmental impact assessments of proposed industrial projects on nearby communities of color and poor communities; and
- data showing racial disparities in environmental health and climate vulnerabilities.
The Center studies local, state, federal and international policies to create opportunities for communities to have a voice in improving their environment, health and lives. The Center works collaboratively with communities for environmental, climate and economic policies that support the following:
- meaningful and effective public participation in governmental decision-making;
- healthful outcomes and the reduction of toxics and greenhouse gases; and
- economic justice and just transition.
Health and Safety Training and Workforce DevelopmentIn response to community interest in creating employment opportunities for residents in cleaning up environmental hazards, DSCEJ developed and conducted health and safety training and workforce development programs beginning in 1995 with funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The Center’s Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) and Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program (HWWTP) prepare people in underserved communities for occupations in environmental remediation and restoration, emergency response, construction, asbestos removal, mold removal, lead abatement, and hazardous materials/waste handling.
Currently, the Center leads the job training programs in New Orleans and with partner organizations in Houston, TX; Detroit, MI; Pensacola, FL; and Savannah, GA. Under a cooperative agreement with the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, these training programs are currently administered by Texas Southern University (TSU) under the direction of Dr. Robert Bullard, Principal Investigator, TSU, and Dr. Beverly Wright, Co-Principal Investigator, Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Inc.