Community organizers Vanessa Agudelo and Angel Garcia advocate for healthy communities during the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) virtually session in its Immigrant Tea Time series on April 20, which started two months ago.
In that session on environment and society, they discussed the ways in which they support the promotion of healthy communities.
Agudelo, who lives in Peekskill, previously worked at NYIC as the Hudson Valley manager of Member Engagement. She now works with the Energy Justice Network (EJN) and Westchester Alliance for Sustainable Solutions (WASS). For her, organizing started after she was inspired by Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.
During the session, she shared that she has been working on a campaign to “expand zero waste laws and remove the trash incinerator in Westchester and Peekskill.”
She also placed emphasis on “working together with other organizations to build community and work on waste management.”
Garcia, who was born in Puerto Rico, is a long-term community organizer and resident of the South Bronx. He is a member of the Rainbow Garden of Life and Health on Melrose Avenue.
He shared more details about his current work involving environmental remediation. He has been working with other activists to find alternate ways to decontaminate the former Melrose Avenue Dry Cleaners, which was located at 753 Melrose Avenue. Here is the link to all documents about the site: https://www.dec.ny.gov/data/DecDocs/203009/.
Through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation State Superfund Program, this is one of the sites that has already been investigated for chemicals at this location including Perchloroethylene (PCE). Here is a link to description of PCE: https://www.environmentalpollutioncenters.org/perchloroethylene/
Garcia is also a member of the Melrose Environmental Awareness Committee (MEAC). During this tea time session, he shared his concerns “that this project, which will last up to 10 years and is expected to cost $3.4 million, will have a contracting firm carrying it out in our neighborhood, with no supervision from DEC, except from offices in Albany – 150 miles away.”
Garcia placed emphasis on “getting local leaders to assist in taking action, specifically the DEC.” He also agreed with Agudelo regarding working with other community organizations. According to Aguedelo, the key thing to accomplishing this is knowing governmental policies.
Those who are interested in joining the other tea time sessions can sign up here: nyic.me/teatime.