Archive for March, 2008

This morning I was late to class because I couldn’t peel my eyes and ears away from watching a clip of Obama’s speech in Philadelphia.

Thoughtful, evocative, comprehensive, unapologetic and visionary.

Anyone who is frustrated by the filtering and spinning conducted by corporate media only needs to listen to Obama in his own words to understand and feel why this man is unequivocally qualified to be the next president of the United States.  Who else has the ability, the way Obama does, to move each one of us to work towards the change we believe in?   He calls on our communities to embrace “the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past.” In an eloquently direct way, Obama invokes messages of Gandhi (be the change we wish to seek), MLK (the fierce urgency of now), and James Boggs (America, love it enough to change it).

Click here for the full text and/or the entire clip.

Last December, Michigan took a step towards justice when Governor Granholm finally signed an executive directive calling for the recognition and incorporation of environmental justice in state policy.  This victory came after launching a three-year long campaign involving a coalition of community groups, businesses, public health organizations and environmental non-profits in Detroit.  Other states, like California, New York and New Mexico have already established such policy precedents.

As the former coordinator of this campaign, I had left Michigan to attend graduate school, but I’m thrilled that the coalition’s hard work has finally paid off.  Significantly, the campaign has brought a wider coalition of environmental justice advocates around the state, highlighting major groundwork in Saginaw, Michigan, particularly Saginaw’s urban neighborhoods that have been poisoned by dioxin and other contaminants from Dow Chemical.

Perhaps Michigan is coming back on track on the environmental justice front.  Having been a major player in the beginnings of the EJ movement, this executive directive could signify the opportunity for a new wave of energy to create more livable, sustainable and just communities.

Another significant victory in the environmental justice movement took place today at the announcement of WR Grace’s announcement to pay $250 million to clean up their asbestos scandal in Libby, Montana.