Documentary Commentary (Download the PDF copy)
by Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez, Director, National Latino Research Center
April 20, 2012
The National Latino Research Center at California State University San Marcos joins community residents of the Eastern Coachella Valley in their efforts to increase awareness and education about the community’s environmental justice struggle for clean and safe water, clean air, and an overall healthy community.
In solidarity with Coachella residents and human rights advocates, we have created the documentary, “Living with Environmental Inequalities; Life in the Eastern Coachella Valley.” Our goal is to provide an overview of the community’s history of environmental racism and classism as experienced by families who live, work, play, and learn surrounded by environmental hazards. Prevalent problems of arsenic in water, exposed raw sewage, illegal dumping of chemicals, pesticide drift and other environmental hazards afflict families on a daily basis making many ill and vulnerable.
In recent years, environmental justice education and advocacy efforts have coalesced bringing together government agencies, elected officials, funders, community-based organizations, and concerned residents to advocate for improved health. Some of the accomplishments achieved to date include the following:
Although important changes are beginning to take place, greater focus and resources are needed to make the changes that are desperately needed. Therefore, affected residents seek protection from key federal, state and county agencies responsible for protecting public health and the environment. Until concrete solutions to protect the health of humans and the environment are identified and implemented, learning in schools is compromised, public health deteriorates, and overall productivity stagnates.
The following news articles bring to light stories from the Coachella Valley that describe the needs and emerging advocacy efforts to bring about change in the community. This list is intended to describe issues at a glance; however, ongoing research is necessary to continue documenting and tracking the community efforts to build a healthier community.
COACHELLA IN THE NEWS
East Coachella Valley IVAN’s
California Rural Legal Assistance
On Edge of Paradise, Coachella workers live in grim conditions
Neglected for Decades, unincorporated communities lack basic public services
Residents of Coachella suffer high rates of sickness
On Edge of a desert paradise, Coachella farmworkers live in putrid conditions
Mobile home park accused of overcharging for tainted water
Coachella Valley to Receive $53 Million for Air Pollution Reduction Projects
Latinos Protecting La Tierra
Feces Towers and Homelessness: Welcome to the Real Coachella
CRLA's Eastern Coachella Valley Tour: Environmental Agencies Witness Firsthand Health
and Environmental Hazards Plaguing Community
Eastern Coachella Valley Fights Pollution: 3 Profiles in Environmental Activism
Designation of Environmental Justice (EJ) Areas for the Coachella Valley Pursuant
to AB 1318
Community Worker Comes Home
For more information about Coachella’s environmental justice efforts, visit the East Coachella Valley IVAN website at http://www.ivan-coachella.org/.