August 5, 2008

Environmental Justice in Action

By Chris Treadway

Supervisors took the occasion to pass a July 22 resolution officially honoring Clark "for over 25 years of dedication and struggle on behalf of environmental justice in Contra Costa County and beyond."

As defined by Contra Costa Health Services, "Environmental justice refers to the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures and incomes by identifying, advocating for and adopting laws, regulations and policies that reduce disparity in the exposure to toxics in the environment."

Clark's years of advocacy have made him synonymous with the issue, said county Supervisor John Gioia.

"Ever since I started public office life in 1988 -- even before - - Henry has been considered a leader in West County on environmental justice issues," Gioia said. "I think nobody would argue that he is the preeminent environmental justice advocate in the county."

The West County Toxics Coalition has grown to 1,000 members since 1986 and won numerous awards.

Clark, who has received individual recognition as well, hasn't confined his involvement to the coalition. He serves on the board of the North Richmond Center for Health and has been active with the North Richmond Municipal Advisory Council, the county Hazardous Materials Commission, the board of Green Action and California Communities Against Toxics, to name a few.

"Obviously, some people will agree with the stands he's taken and some will disagree," Gioia said. "But I think they all will agree he always stands for the inclusion of the community and for full transparency on the nature of projects. There's respect. Even people who come out of industry respect him."

-- The Friends of the Richmond Public Library is holding a Grab- a-Bag Book Sale from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the adult reading of the main library, 325 Civic Center Plaza. Fill a bag with up to 10 books for $2, with proceeds supporting programs and services the friends sponsor at Richmond library branches. Details: 510-620-6561.

-- About 150 members of the classes of 1972 and '73 from El Cerrito High School celebrated their 35th reunion in Oakland last weekend. The El Cerrito High School Archiving Project is trying to gather alumni information for those and every other class since the original school opened in 1941 in preparation for the opening of the new school next year. Gauchos from every class year can send their contact information to [email protected] and at the same time sign up for the ECHS Archiving Project Newletter.