–San Francisco, CA
On Wednesday, July 22, 2015, CCEJN joined Greenaction for Health & Environmental Justice and other IVAN partners statewide to launch the 7th deployment of the IVAN resident reporting model in the community of Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco. This deployment marks the second deployment of a model in an urban setting. Nonetheless, this community is similar to others with an existing IVAN project, in that the community has been heavily and disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards and is a disproportionately minority and low-income community.
During the initial meeting, members of Greenaction and other community leaders introduced the network and it’s different components. Residents were able to see a live-demonstration of the website and the process for problem solving that members of the taskforce would undertake after a report has been filed. Other IVAN partners talked about their experience with this model and gave an overview of best practices for making sure the project is successful. Cesar Campos of CCEJN spoke to the group about the power of community gathering that can be present with this network. Campos encouraged the community-member to use this model as an organizing, data-gathering, monitoring, and transparency tool with the purpose of improving compliance and enforcement in their neighborhood. He reminded the members to use this model as a way of bringing forth a community agenda that has strength and narratives behind it.
The meeting was also attended by many representatives of government were present. The array of these agencies extended from local agencies like the San Francisco Health Department and the Bay Area Air District, to state-level like the Department of Toxic Substances Control and California Air Resources Board, to U.S. EPA Region IX representatives that were also present. The government participants expressed their support of this deployments and their commitment to participate in the project.
In the final hours of the meeting, the residents of Bayview Hunters Point had an opportunity to talk about their experiences living in the community and fighting against various pollution sources. The residents were very eloquent in their delivery of the problems and showed a lot of community engagement and knowledge about hazards. This was very interesting to see, as the networks in other areas of the state have focused on residents that had less information about hazards and regulatory authorities. Those in BVHP seemed to already share much wealth of information about environmental programs. Of course, this network will serve to engage other residents that may be less knowledgeable, but a strong base does exist.
CCEJN is happy to have participated in this deployment, and excited to see the IVAN network grow. We will continue to work with Greenaction and the Bayview Hunters Point community to see this network succeed, and also work with others across the state that want to replicate this model. We are looking at you Sacramento!