SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Health and environmental justice organization Greenaction mobilizes community power to activate pointed change in communities that need it most. At the forefront of the environmental justice movement, Greenaction's co-founder and executive director Bradley Angel crusades for cleaner air in San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods. And he won't stop until residents can confidently breathe fresh air.
"There is no choice, it's the air we breathe. When I see friends of ours who are part of Greenaction, and other community members who aren't with us anymore because they died, I think, from pollution, it makes us fighting mad," expresses Angel. "We're going to do everything we can and keep winning victories to bring about the change we need on our planet."
Since 1997, Greenaction activists have worked on the front lines to protect communities facing unhealthy living situations due to pollution and airborne contaminants.
Angel has dedicated his life to the environmental health movement and collaborates daily with fellow Greenaction activists to challenge polluters and enact government policy changes.
One of Greenaction's objectives is centered around reducing particulate matter pollution and harmful emissions exposure in low-income communities, such as Bayview-Hunters Point in San Francisco.
"Government agencies have a mandate to protect public health, to protect our environment, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the places we live and in many cases they don't do it," explains Angel. "It's important for Greenaction and our community partners to work together to protect people's health and bring about those changes."
For decades, Bayview-Hunters Point residents have lived with a greater risk for asthma, cancer, and other respiratory illnesses compared to general San Francisco.
The organization has fought to hold polluters and government officials accountable for radioactive contamination at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Superfund site and dozens of other toxic sites throughout the community.
CalEnviroScreen ranks the community as one of the most at-risk from pollution in the state of California with a higher pollution burden than 90% of the state.
"Bayview-Hunters Point is a prime example of what we call cumulative impacts of pollution and other health and socioeconomic disparities," says Angel.
To combat this disproportionate pollution burden, Greenaction started a community air-monitoring project, installing ten air monitors throughout Bayview Hunters Point and one located near Potrero Hill. The sensors gather data and evidence surrounding particulate matter, particle concentration, and overall air quality patterns.
The activation is named after the late Marie Harrison - a Greenaction member and fierce leader of the environmental justice movement, who contracted chronic lung disease and passed away in 2019.
"I'm continuing to advocate for that and not just because my mom's name is on it, but because it's important," states Marie's daughter Arieann Harrison. "If you don't have the science to back up what you're saying, then we're just making noise."
Angel believes that Greenaction's mission is important not only for the health and well-being of present and future Bayview-Hunters Point inhabitants, but also for past residents like Marie Harrison, who have suffered due to air and water contamination.
"I hear Marie Harrison in the back of my head, promising her when she couldn't breathe anymore to keep up the struggle and make sure we kept working with the community," says Angel.
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