CHEJ: “Champions for Change”
NEW YORK CITY – At a special awards gala on September 6th in the center of Manhattan, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice gave out three awards for outstanding work to save the environment.
One of these awards was presented to Houston’s Jackie Young, Director of the TxHEA or Texas Health and Environment Alliance.
The award was presented by Lois Gibbs, who is famous for exposing the hazardous conditions at the Love Canal. Also present was actress and film director Patricia Arquette, who is making a movie about New York. The ceremony was called “Champions for Change” and honored ongoing work with communities at risk from environmental harms.
Other recipients of the award were Dr. Beverly Paigen, a community scientist who documented health impacts at Love Canal, and PUSH BUFFALO, or People United for Sustainable Housing, Buffalo, New York. They worked on affordable housing, equitable jobs and ecological sustainability for the West Side of Buffalo.
Lois Gibbs, and CHEJ, for over 38 years through training, coalition building, and one-on-one technical and organizing assistance has been mentoring a movement and empowering people to prevent harm to human health caused by exposure to hazardous environmental conditions.
Lois Gibbs’s story was portrayed by Marsha Mason in the 1982 TV film, “Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal.” The film is based on the true story of Lois Gibbs, a housewife in Niagara Falls, NY who spearheads her community’s battle against Hooker Chemical. At first, her husband dismisses the idea that an old chemical dump site beneath their 36-block neighborhood has anything to do with a rash of child ailments. But Gibbs perseveres, circulating a petition, accepting the role of head of the Homeowners Association and leading a fierce legal battle for compensation.
Visit to EPA, Washington, DC
Following the awards ceremony, Jackie Young joined many of the same parties meetings with Congressional representatives, and in a special meeting with EPA administrators in Washington DC on September 12th.
The meeting took place at the EPA Headquarters at 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC.
The agenda included a discussion of reinstating “Polluter Pays” fees to stabilize the Superfund Program and accelerate the cleanup of contaminated sites. CHEJ says that a fundamental problem with the Superfund program is inadequate funding, including Orphan sites, testing, cleanup, legal action and technical assistance grants for communities near Superfund sites.