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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Environmental Justice Issues To Take Center Stage At Community Meeting Thursday In Little Village

Community groups from the South and Southwest sides will discuss their ongoing fight for environmental justice in their neighborhoods.

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization Executive Director Kim Wasserman speaks at a press conference in March 2018.
Mauricio Peña/Block Club Chicago
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LITTLE VILLAGE — Environmental justice groups from the South and Southwest sides will come together to discuss environmental issues that affect their neighborhoods Thursday night in Little Village.

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, Pilsen Alliance and McKinley Park’s Neighbors for Environmental Justice will meet to highlight the ongoing struggles their communities are facing in a fight for environmental justice.

The meeting takes place at the YMCA on 2700 S. Western Ave. Thursday from 6-8 p.m.

During the meeting, each community group will give a brief presentation about the environmental issues facing their communities, while also discussing how public officials and city agencies have responded to their concerns, said Little Village Environmental Justice Organization executive director Kim Wasserman. 

The groups will also present a “cumulative impact” map created in partnership with the Natural Resource Defense Counsel. The map was created by evaluating an array of factors — including industries in neighborhoods, air quality, income, poverty, race — and assess the most and least impacted communities by zip codes, Wasserman said.

“The goal is to get people talking about the [environmental issues] impacting our neighborhoods, and get folks to take action in some capacity,” she said. 

With the municipal election coming up in 2019, Wasserman said it’s a perfect time to engage candidates and community residents on the environmental justice issues affecting communities across the city.

In an email, Robert Beedle, member of Neighbors for Environmental Justice, said the meeting was necessary to highlight a serious problem in the region involving outdated laws and policies and “politicians who put the interests of for-profit industry above long-time residents.”