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ACTS Celebrates 10 Years of Cutting-Edge Environmental Justice Work

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Date
February 3, 2023
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10 Minutes
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HOUSTON, TX - Nestled behind the Anheuser Busch plant on the other side of the railroad track, you’ll find the historic African American community of Pleasantville. A tight knit community that is holding local officials' feet to the fire where their neighborhood and pollution are concerned. They sit just northeast of the 52-mile Houston Ship Channel, which is one of the largest complexes of petrochemical facilities in the nation.

Ranked 26th out of over 73,053 census tracts across the country using the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Vulnerability Index ToxPi overall rank score, the residents of Pleasantville are some of the most vulnerable in the US. However, they are also some of the most resilient people you will ever meet. Since 2012, Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS) has been focused on the core areas of food insecurity, emergency preparedness and equitable response, as well as community air monitoring to assess poor air quality.

On Saturday, January 14, 2023, ACTS held its 10-year anniversary community meeting at the Judson Robinson Senior Community Center. The meeting provided over 75 residents with an opportunity to revisit and prioritize environmental and climate justice concerns in the Pleasantville community first discussed in January 2018.

ACTS became a member of the HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium co-lead by Dr. Robert Bullard of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University and Dr. Beverly Wright of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in June 2017 and selected several environmental and climate justice concerns, including air quality assessment, to focus on for their research to action project.

ACTS was proud to announce the launch of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Community Air Monitoring Project. The EPA selected 132 projects, in 37 states, to receive a total of $53.4 million to conduct ambient air monitoring of pollutants in communities across the country with environmental and health outcome disparities stemming from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACTS will receive nearly half a million dollars to conduct a mobile air monitoring campaign, along with three other community-based organizations, Sunnyside Community Redevelopment Organization (SCRO), Coalition of Community Organizations (COCO) and the Environmental Community Advocates of Galena Park (ECAGP) to expand the capacity and scope of local community air monitoring networks through investments in additional low-cost sensors, analytic and visualization tools and community outreach/citizen science training.

The project will generate actionable data that will be used by communities to advocate for reduced environmental exposures to improve community health, increased surveillance and response from local and state governments and environmental and climate justice policy changes.

Community member discusses the importance of air monitoring.
Dr. Denae King updates the community on their accomplishments.
Baby EJ (Environmental Justice) and Ms. Rachel pose for a photo.
Ms. Brigette Murray is always working.
Dr. Bullard pulls tickets for giveaways.

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