This year Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles (PSR-LA) is celebrating our 40th Anniversary and today we are writing to ask you to join our Forty 4 Forty fundraising campaign to help PSR-LA raise $40,000 to honor our forty years of innovative activism and to continue this critical work.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, a racial justice reckoning, serious threats to our democracy, and the escalating climate crisis have demonstrated that our work to create safer and healthier communities is just as critical now as it was when we were founded 40 years ago.
PSR-LA’s early work was guided by a singular mission to prevent threats to public health related to nuclear weapons. PSR is an affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and our members were present when they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. Since that time our work has grown and our progress in 2020 includes:
- PSR-LA continued our leading role in the Back from the Brink campaign to fundamentally change U.S. nuclear weapons policy, helping to drive the passage of numerous city and state resolutions throughout the country.
- In April, we published our Community Costs project, which calculates the full cost of nuclear weapons programs to communities.
- We worked with the community and allied organizations to oppose NASA’s efforts to evade its cleanup obligations at the Santa Susana Field Lab.
In 1989, PSR-LA was the first PSR chapter to broaden its public health mission to include environmental health issues and our work is grounded in the principles of environmental justice. As frontline communities bear the brunt of the environmental health issues created by poverty, pollution and racism, PSR-LA works collaboratively with our partners to elevate the voices of impacted communities to demand real solutions from those in power.
In 2020, despite the enormous challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our work progressed in many significant ways:
PSR-LA achieved a major breakthrough in our work with the STAND-LA (Standing Together Against Neighborhood Oil Drilling) coalition when Committee members of the LA City Council voted unanimously to pass a motion directing the City Attorney to draft an ordinance declaring oil and gas extraction sites non-conforming land uses which would phase out oil drilling in LA.
We also advance climate justice through the LA Leap Coalition, which is the driving force behind the Climate Emergency Mobilization Office, a newly-created LA City office designated for all climate action.
Additionally, South Central LA community residents who work with our SCLA-PUSH project, which provides training on how to engage in air quality policy, achieved a huge victory when they successfully advocated for South Central LA to be designated for an air improvement plan under California’s AB 617 Community Air Protection Program.
Through our Land Use and Health program PSR-LA supports community self-determination in creating equitable and healthy neighborhoods. Current and past land-use policies are a major factor in COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on environmental justice communities. In October, PSR-LA’s work showing the link between poor air quality and the risk of contracting the coronavirus was featured in the LA Times.
In 2020, PSR-LA’s leadership in Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) supported education and successful legislative advocacy that is fundamentally shifting toxic chemical management in California, and we are also working with local allies to address water quality issues and achieve the Human Right to Water in South and Southeast LA.
The heart of PSR-LA’s mission is to ensure that our health professional members are equipped with the advocacy tools and resources they need to engage in campaign work, and our Health Ambassador Program provides training and opportunities to join in advocacy efforts.
This year our health professionals are also on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis and we are grateful for their dedication, bravery and strength in speaking truth to power.
PSR-LA’s work draws on medical science, public health knowledge and the lived experience of health professionals and impacted communities to advocate for health-centered public policy that protects the safety and health of those who are most vulnerable.
We cannot do this work without your participation and we appreciate everything that our members and partners do to help us build the power needed to advance community-driven solutions and policies that are grounded in health and justice.
As 2020 comes to a close, we want to extend our support to our entire community and our gratitude to everyone who has stood with us in this challenging year. We are grateful for your support and donation to our Forty 4 Forty campaign to raise $40,000 in honor of PSR-LA’s 40 years of innovative activism and to continue our vital work in the years to come.
Martha Dina Argüello Robert Dodge, MD
Executive Director President, Board of Directors