Environmental Justice: An Analysis of Community Activism for Environmental Justice In the City of Commerce

Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


While the topic of predominantly minority and low income community homes being located near environmentally hazardous facilities is not a new topic in the research society, there is however a research gap of overlooking the City of Commerce community. I will not be looking at the normal trend of research of why hazardous waste facilities choose to operate by a community like the City of Commerce, but more so why the residents of the City of Commerce have chosen not speak about to this injustice. The constant heavy impacts from the industrial pollution, soot found on cars, and overall bad air quality occurring in their own backyards are heavily impacting the life span of residents. Why are not enough residents in this community creating political awareness and becoming community activists? Through my research, I will be able to find the different reasons why or why not residents become environmental activist. I interviewed residents, employees and board members at the local East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, City of Commerce Council members and park employees. I am measuring correlations between social and cultural capital, gender related opportunities, educational attainment, and high levels of community involvement from a young age. I have been able to conduct 16 different interviews residents, one on one. All the interviews conducted were of random, and also were done with residents of different ages, and genders. While conducting those interviews, my goal was to gain a better understand how and why residents will/ will not take action to secure improvements in environmental quality by using their voices as a strong force that will fight for a healthy life. With my research project completed My findings through those interviews, as well as being able to making the argument that the most common reason of why residents are not become political activist is because the lack of time. Most residents that I interviewed were currently working blue collared nine to five types of jobs. After a days work they come home to a family to care too, leaving them with hardly any, or some cases no time to become more aware of what environmental issues are accruing, and how they can make a change in the community.


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