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Environmental Justice Knocks Loudly at the White House
Wednesday 22 December 2010
by: Elizabeth McGowan 
White House Guard

It might have been the inaugural environmental justice forum at the White House. But that doesn't mean there were a bunch of rookies in the room.

The all-day gathering was barely under way when veteran activists of the movement partially rearranged the Wednesday agenda after they explained emphatically that they wanted federal government officials in the lineup to do more listening and less talking.

Once that was settled, much of the "us vs. them" tension in the room dissipated but didn't disappear. Advocates from some of America's most impoverished neighborhoods-where the underbelly of the country's industrial grind has turned the simple acts of breathing the air or drinking a glass of water into risky and deadly propositions-pleaded passionately and poignantly for substance over symbolism.

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