Research in Action

Community organizers and advocates worldwide are making efforts to provide low-income and people-of-color communities with the scientific research and technology they need to launch campaigns and protect their communities from environmental harm. The following is just a sampling of such endeavors that groups can learn from and incorporate into their work.


Academic Institutions, Communities and Agencies Network (ACA-Net)
ACA-Net joins together historically black colleges and universities with communities and government agencies in a collaborative effort to respond to environmental hazards in urban and rural communities. By building a network of people-of-color scientists and professional technicians committed to solving environmental injustices, ACA-Net provides communities with emergency, short-term, and long-term resources for achieving non-toxic living environments.
Mildred McClain, Executive Director, ACA-Net
1115 Habersham St, Savannah, GA, 21401
Tel: (912)233-0907 Fax: (912)233-5105

Clearing the Air in Chinatown

Asthma advocacy stems from resident-driven research

Chinatown, located in New York City’s Lower Manhattan, is the city’s oldest Chinese community. Since the late 1800s, when the first Chinese immigrants arrived from Guangzhou, a province in southeastern China, Chinatown has been a destination for new immigrants. According to 2000 Census figures, nearly 60 percent of Chinatown residents are foreign-born.

While rich in history, Chinatown is economically poor: thirty-one percent of residents live below the poverty level. The community is also plagued by environmental problems such as poor air quality. The Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) was founded in 1977 to ally the different parts of our diverse community to address such issues. We envisioned an organization that ordinary people could join to improve the community's living and working conditions. Because many families lived in turn-of-thecentury tenements or public housing with substandard conditions, CPA first helped tenants to form associations and demand basic services like heat and hot water. Since then we have worked on a wide array of issues including immigrant rights, voter empowerment, housing and health, and worker rights.

Hogging the Land

Research and organizing put a halt to swine industry growth

In late 1991, Charles Tillery, Jr. of Tillery, North Carolina approached the community group, Concerned Citizens of Tillery’s (CCT), with news about a plan by the Halifax County Economic Development Corporation to bring industrial hog farming to Tillery. For Mr. Tillery, the only remaining descendent of the family that gave Tillery its name, the proposed development was cause for alarm. As he and CCT’s executive director Gary R. Grant began looking into the development, it became clear that it was not the type of hog farming to which farmers in the area were accustomed. Unlike the pasture or free-range farming that was typical in Tillery, industrial farming would concentrate thousands of animals in confined spaces and produce greater waste.


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