Overburdened Communities Should Not Have to Compete With Each Other for Cleaner Air

Throughout this year, our SCLA-PUSH initiative, a collaborative coalition comprised of  our Community Based Organizations partners, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education and Community Health Councils, academic partners,  University of Southern California and Occidental College, working to build the capacity of South Central LA residents to understand the character of air pollution in their communities and its impacts on health.  The SCLA-PUSH initiative, hosted an Air Quality Academy training on June 2019, through this training, South Central Los Angeles residents were able to learn about the fundamentals of air pollution, conducted community air monitoring, and lead a ground truthing process around the neighborhoods of Florence and Western. Through this training, community residents have learned to utilize community science data to build progressive policy and collectively push for air quality improvements in their communities.  

The SCLA-PUSH project is funded through the AB 617 bill Community Air Protection Program Grants. In 2017, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 617 (C. Garcia, Chapter 136, Statutes of 2017) to develop a new community focused program to develop a new community focused program to more effectively reduce exposure to air pollution and preserve public health.The bill directs the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and all local air districts to take measures to protect communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution.

During 2018, ten environmental justice communities were selected to start either a community air monitoring plan or a community emissions reductions plan or both. However, South Central LA was not selected to start any of these plans.On September 6th 2019, during The South Coast Air Quality Management Department (SCAQMD) board meeting, the agency voted to nominate and recommend two communities, East Coachella and East LA to CARB, that have the potential to receive funding to improve air quality. 

Once again, South Central LA communities are left out of the opportunity to receive the fair share of resources to start cleaning up the air for the opportunity to breathe clean air as equally as other environmental justice communities. Our message is that we want real solutions that can truly start reducing emissions in our communities and help construct a vision of a healthier and thriving South Central LA.  


South LA has one more opportunity to make sure that we get an air improvement plan and we will continue to focus on our ongoing advocacy. Over the next 2 months until the December CARB meeting we will be meeting with regulators and CARB members to fight for South LA.  

We have two more Air Quality Academies (AQA) left this year. One of them will take place on Friday September 27 and Saturday September 28th at Holman United Methodist Church. The third round of the AQA will be hosted in December. If you are interested in learning more about the SCLA-PUSH project and  would like to know how you can be part of our Air Quality Academy, please email Paula Torrado at [email protected].

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