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Delia B., IL

I am a woman of color who lives in an overburdened environmental justice community. There are approximately 83,000 individuals who live in Cicero and 72,000 are Latinos.

Cicero has a young population compared to Cook County. Approximately 30 percent of children under 18-years-old live and live in poverty.

Cicero was second to Chicago of large industrial areas. Many of the old industries left behind vacant abandoned toxic land where our children attend school everyday. Our schools were built on industrial zoning areas where some industries continue to violate the Clean Air Act.

One company in particular uses nickel chromium, which is a human carcinogen. In Cicero, we also have a rail yard that emits soot. This particulate matter can be deadly to our children and communities of color.

It is the environmental racism that exists for communities of color that moves me to challenge profitable industries that cut our lives short. Our elected officials and government health bureaucracies ignore our concerns to environmental racism.

As a mother of 6 children and 12 grandchildren, I have taken the responsibility to be accountable to my community of color. The industries target communities of color and indigenous communities to destroy our mother earth. The Cap and Trade only creates more pollution that destroys the only planet where we can live.

The disproportionate health impacts of pollution can be avoided by imposing strict rules on industries. The lack of regulation is why we are breathing diesel soot, sulfur dioxide, lead, nickel chromium and other toxins in Cicero, IL.

The systemic racism that exists in communities of color has not changed much in 500 years. The segregated communities are a key factor on who gets equity resources and which communities suffer racial oppression from governments in power.

First Published: March 24, 2016

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