PSR-LA is a member-organization of Coming Clean, a six-year old collaborative of more than 100 local, state, national and international organizations working towards a toxic free future via chemical industry reform.
From March 16-19, PSR-LA hosted the 2007 Annual Coming Clean Conference at the Wilshire Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. The over 60 conference goers represented a wide array of organizations and campaigns throughout the United States including NRDC, Californians for Pesticide Reform, the Safe Cosmetics Campaign, the National Black Church Initiative, Friends of the Earth and communities such as Port Arthur, Texas, Mossville, Louisiana, Dickson County, Tennessee, and Midway Village in Daly City, California.
Over the course of the weekend, conference attendees reviewed the current state of the chemicals industry, discussed the efficacy and impact of the 2006 Environmental Justice for All Tour (www.ej4all.org), and tried to identify ways of moving beyond the rhetoric of racial justice to build a more truly inclusive chemical policy reform movement. Members of the Fenceline Working group, which seeks to ensure all of Coming Cleanʼs work is guided by the environmental justice principles of the Louisville Charter, championed the importance of not forgetting the immediate needs of communities suffering from chemical contamination while pursuing strategies of long-term policy reform.
The weekend was at once invigorating in terms of the networking and relationship building and daunting because of the incredible scope of change sought by the collaborative. The question of how to feel effective in our progress towards a toxic-free future set the foundation for a Sunday afternoon introduction to Democracy School—an approach to organizing developed by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) that “teaches citizens and activists how to reframe exhausting and often discouraging single issue work (such as opposing toxic dumps, quarries, factory farms, etc.) in a way that we can confront control on a powerful single front: peopleʼs constitutional rights.” (http://www.celdf.org)
The collaborativeʼs plans for the coming year include engaging physicians more deeply in the work of chemical policy reform and publishing a report highlighting how lack of enforcement of environmental regulations has negatively impacted the health of communities around the world.