August 2022: Call to Action, Let’s Fix the Harm!

Fix the Current Harm from 450,000 Sea-Tac Flights

It has been almost a year since El Centro de la Raza started an Environmental Justice Organizing and Education training with the Plaza Roberto Maestas and El Patio residents that aims to develop and promote environmental justice leadership, education, and community organizing within the Latino Community. The program includes topics such as the environmental justice movement, climate change, air and noise pollution, community organizing and more! Through the program, we aim to enable and empower our community to act as leaders and influence policy makers to improve environmental and health outcomes for Beacon Hill residents as they are disproportionately impacted by surrounding airports and major roadways causing air and noise pollution.

Beacon Hill is surrounded by major roadways where aircraft fly over us on average every 90 seconds causing air and noise pollution that lead to health impacts such as asthma, lung cancer, respiratory diseases, and other ailments. Noise pollution can lead to higher stress levels, less sleep, poorer cardiovascular health, and reduction in learning capabilities in youth. Yet our community, which is made up of primarily people of color, refugees, and immigrants, are not eligible for mitigation. Mitigation efforts can include funding for double panned windows to reduce the indoor noise, or more tree canopy to help filter and reduce air and noise pollution. Where you live, your income, race or language ability shouldn’t determine how healthy you are. However, the reality is that as low-income people of color, people are likelier to be disproportionately harmed by environmental issues.

Thirty community members from El Patio & Plaza Roberto Maestas have completed the Environmental Justice and education training with El Centro de la Raza. Through community organizing and leadership community members have come together as an important part of the fight against the exacerbated threat of air and noise pollution from the proposed Sea-Tac Airport Sustainable Air Master Plan (SAMP).

Through our Environmental Justice and Education Program, participants gained the knowledge and tools to make their voices heard as they fight for environmental justice for their families, friends, and community, including through story telling. Participants have expressed their concern in the added harm that SAMP will bring to their communities as flights are slowly increasing to pre-COVID flight numbers.

Community member Sandra Santos has expressed her concern in the increased flights as she is now aware of the health impacts it has on her family, especially her daughter who suffers from depression and is beginning to show symptoms of asthma. Santos is also aware of the climate impacts that aircraft aviation emissions will account for 25% of the global carbon budget by 2050. Forest fires is an additional concern Santos is worried will continues to worsen if nothing is done about the Climate Crisis. Santos fights for environmental justice for the health and future of her daughter as she wants a cleaner and sustainable world for her daughter.

Participants have continued to be involved after completing the EJ Training course by helping collects signatures for the Fix the Current Harm letter of concern that will be included in the comments to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about the SeaTac Airport service expansion. El Centro de la Raza is continuing to organize more community members to participate in the Environmental Justice & Education program to continue to grow the movement. To support airport-impacted communities sign and share the letter of concern to help reach our goal of 4,000 signatures.