Gray Panthers of San Francisco
June 2007 Newsletter

20 Years and Counting


On the 20th anniversary of its 1987 groundbreaking report, “Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States,” the Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ (UCC) has released a follow-up report which finds the racial disparities discovered in 1987 to be even greater than previously reported.

Many believe the UCC’s 1987 report launched the environmental justice movement. It found “race to be the most potent variable in predicting where commercial hazardous waste facilities were located in the U.S.….,” more potent than income, home value, or amount of hazardous waste released. In 20 years, things have gotten worse. Many examples leap to mind: crumbling levees in New Orleans, federal attempts to establish a nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain, sprawling superfund sites in or near communities of color.

Locally, Gray Panthers participated in the campaign to close down the toxic PG&E plant at Bayview-Hunters Point. A 2007 study, “Still Toxic After All These Years: Air Quality and Environmental Justice in the San Francisco Bay Area,” found that two-thirds of residents living within a mile of a facility listed in the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory are people of color.

Gray Panthers must continue to oppose environmental degradation wherever we find it, and especially where it is most often found—in neighborhoods and communities of color.

Read about the SF Gray Panthers involvement in shutting down the toxic PG&E power plant in Bayview Hunters Point.

(back to June 2007 Newsletter front page)