Hazel Johnson and the People for Community Recovery

A 1987 study found that 60% of Hispanic- and African-Americans lived near uncontrolled toxic waste sites. The results confirmed what Hazel Johnson already knew: that people of color and the poor suffered more than their share of environmental problems. Johnson's Chicago community of 10,000 mostly African-American residents was built over a landfill in the 1940s. Today it's surrounded by dozens of factories, landfills, toxic waste dumps, incinerators, and refineries.

In 1982, Johnson formed People for Community Recovery to educate the public on the effects of environmental hazards on low-income and minority communities. Johnson travels the country teaching local activists how to battle pollution and prejudice. According to Johnson, "The world should not be disintegrating around us because of our neglect. We should be able to pass on to our children the same blue sky and fresh air we grew up with."


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