To support a community organizing and advocacy effort to document, educate and mobilize the public about the environmental health and equity aspects of a ten-year redevelopment initiative for the I-880 (Hegenberger) Corridor area of Oakland.
Communities for a Better Environment (CBE)Nehanda Imara, Oakland Community Organizer
The Hegenberger Corridor – also called the Coliseum Area – of East Oakland is zoned for residential, commercial, and industrial uses. According to the EPA Scorecard, the Coliseum Area of East Oakland contains more than 40 pollution-producing industrial or commercial facilities, and sees over 218,000 vehicle trips per day, a large percentage of which are heavy diesel engine vehicles like transport trucks. Diesel exhaust has been identified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as the single greatest airborne threat to human health and is responsible for 70% of total airborne cancer risk in California.
It is against this backdrop that 42,000 people, mostly African Americans and Latinos, live. Despite the concentration of major environmental and health hazards in the community there is very little by way of community infrastructure to support and sustain local activism. In fact, there has been relatively little community organizing compared to other high need parts of Oakland, such as West Oakland. Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) is an environmental health and justice organization with a long history organizing low-income communities of color in California to address threats to their health and well-being from toxic pollution. For the past two years, CBE has been laying the groundwork for targeted organizing in the Hegenberger Corridor/Coliseum community by beginning to talk to residents about environmental health concerns.