In this issue:
2008 Race Conference
We want to hear from you! SOCR launches a new online customer feedback form
Whether your e-mail concerns a compliment, complaint, comment, or
request for service, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights is committed
to listening to what you have to say. After you fill out and submit your
online feedback, you will receive a confirmation e-mail letting you know
we have received your question and we will work to resolve any issues
you have brought to our attention.
Human Rights Day Preview: Ticiang Diangson discusses Dr. Robert Bullard
Seattle Human Rights Day!
Thursday, December 11th 7pm
Town Hall, Seattle
8th and Seneca
Guest speaker: Dr. Robert Bullard, author of "Confronting Environmental Racism"
To view the event flyer click here.
Community Film Screenings at SIFF Cinema
TULIA, TEXAS Saturday, January 24, 2009, 3:15PM to 5:15PM
ARUSI PERSIAN WEDDING Saturday, February 28, 2009, 3:00PM to 5:00PM
Ticiang Diangson has a personal interest in being the MC for this year's
daytime event for Seattle Human Rights Day: she wants to meet this year's
featured speaker, Dr. Robert Bullard. As a lifelong environmentalist, Ticiang
has long followed Dr. Bullard's career, and several of his books grace her shelves.
"I've admired him from afar for years, and I'm thrilled to be able to
introduce him in Seattle," says Ticiang, director of Seattle Public Utilities'
(SPU) Environmental Justice and Service Equity Division, which is charged
with eliminating barriers to service equities in SPU. Ticiang was one of the
founders of the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice, a local grassroots organization.
Recently the E-News talked with Ticiang about Dr. Bullard, as well as
her own long commitment to environmental justice.
What is the significance of Dr. Bullard's work?
TD: Robert Bullard was one of the guiding theorists when the environmental
justice movement was emerging. The mainstream environmental movement has
been - and still is - very white. Starting in the early 90s, Bullard began
writing books and articles that gave credibility to the environmental justice
movement. Without his work and influence, today's "Green Jobs" movement would not exist.
How do you define environmental justice?
TD: Environmental justice means equally distributing the risks and benefits
of actions that affect the health of people and the environment. It also
includes involving the affected parties in the decision making process.
What role does Seattle Public Utilities play in environmental justice?
TD: SPU plays a huge role in environmental justice. We own two pristine watersheds.
We manage full service transfer stations for garbage and hazardous waste disposal,
and we manage the City's recycling programs. Those services don't exist
in a vacuum - we maintain close working relationships with Native tribes
on water rights, and we work with local neighborhoods and communities on
everything that we do. Decisions about how we renovate a transfer station,
how we expand our facilities or how we communicate with our customers,
many of whom are limited-English speakers - all involve questions
of environmental justice
Why is environmental justice a human rights issue?
TD: Air, water and land are all human rights issues. In the U.S. many
of us have always taken these things for granted. But in communities of
color, clean air and clean water are not a given. I think in the Northwest,
and maybe in the United States, we don't really know what's in the human
rights declaration. It includes the right to promote better standards of
life, including security of person and equal protection under the law.
Right now, communities of color and low income communities are still
fighting for better standards and equal protection for air and water and
land in their neighborhoods. And it took the grass roots community and
leaders like Dr. Bullard to make environmentalists and policy makers
pay attention to these issues.