WE ACT for Environmental Justice
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RBF Grantee Close-Up:
West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc.
Harlem on the River: Making a Community Vision Real

Park Charette

In 1999, West Harlem residents examine design ideas for what will ultimately become the West Harlem Piers Park.

Environmental justice - drawing upon the experiences of the civil rights and environmental movements - developed as "a response to the disproportionate burden of pollution and health disparities, environmental degradation, and health risks borne by people of color and low-income communities." For one Manhattan neighbor, Harlem, it can literally trace its environmental justice roots to the Hudson River and Harlem Piers.

"The Harlem Piers were the anchor of the community back in the early 1930s.  My elders described it as a vibrant public space with ferries coming from and going to Fort Lee and other locations across the Hudson in New Jersey.  There were shops along the shoreline, and people would go to the piers to fish," said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director/Director of Policy Initiatives for WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a nonprofit, community-based environmental justice organization. More...