“Our Valley, Our Voice”

24
Lupe Martinez and Maria Martinez (no relation) singing at the outset of the Town Hall meeting, called “Our Valley, Our Voice.”

By Peter Maiden

A town hall meeting titled “Our Valley, Our Voice” was held by the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) at Bitwise in downtown Fresno on July 15. A second meeting was held July 20 in Delano.

Around 25 community members attended the Fresno meeting to ask questions and express support and criticism.

A statement from the CEJA reads:

“Environmental justice and immigrant rights are intrinsically linked. The San Joaquin Valley has some of the worst air quality in the U.S., where the dirtiest air is concentrated in areas with high numbers of immigrants and people of color. An asthma epidemic is hurting our children, who can’t even play outside due to toxic air days. Farmworkers whose labor powers our state’s agricultural economy, work under the sun and are exposed to ongoing and acute poisons. We need strong health protections for children, workers and impacted communities through improved clear air and immigrant rights policies.”

The CEJA urges lawmakers in Sacramento to pass legislation protecting and improving the environment and publishes a “scorecard” highlighting the performance of legislators toward that goal.

*****

Peter Maiden is a photographer for Community Alliance newspaper.