The People’s

Senate
A Model for Transforming Toxic Communities from
the Ground Up

Hazardous Waste and Race: A Toxic
Legacy

Toxic Communities Today

The Environmental Justice
Conundrum:
• Siting inequalities stem from structural racism and systemic forces, but. .
.
• Community-based environmental justice advocacy is inherently local.
• Local campaigns address community priorities and build community power.
• Advocates responsive to residents and do not set the agenda.
• If we focus on the local ramifications of larger structural inequalities, we
won’t fix the root problems and will expend a great deal of resources in
the process.
• Can we, as a movement, improve our use community-based advocacy to
address systemic inequalities?

Yes!




Identify systemic barriers to just outcomes
Build relationships across communities
Understand shared problems to develop shared goals
Use political momentum to create opportunities
Increase capacity through experiential learning

The Problem –
Department of Toxic Substances Control



Conflicting and unclear agency mission
Lack of strong and consistent agency leadership
Industry capture
No governing board or other systems of accountability
and transparency
• Unchecked agency discretion; no standardized criteria

Developing a Shared Vision
• Nominate representatives from impacted communities



across the state
Relationship building
Visioning workshops
Recognizing shared concerns
Developing shared solutions

Identify Opportunities




Legislation
Oversight hearings
Meet with DTSC leadership
Senate Confirmation process
Media

Experiential Learning

What Next?




Grow to represent more areas of the State
Engage in DTSC policy development and implementation
Pass legislation
Develop the criteria upon which to assess new director
All communities engage in coordinated local advocacy
efforts

Questions?