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Press Release

Date: Monday, January 5, 2004
Contact: Christopher Greaves, Communications Director, (212) 961-1000, ext. 304 or Chris@weact.org

West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT), an environmental justice group advocating for the health and well-being of Northern Manhattan residents, celebrated its fifteenth year in existence on Tuesday, October 21st, by honoring nine heroes and "sheroes" who have made significant contributions to the struggle for environmental justice in Northern Manhattan's Black and Latino enclaves.

The honorees included: environmental scientist Barry Commoner; former New York Mayor David N. Dinkins; WE ACT founding member the late Genevieve Eason; New York League of Conservation Voters founder Paul J. Elston; director of external affairs at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, Barbara J. Fife; the former chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Harlem Hospital, Dr. Jean G. Ford; Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney Eric A. Goldstein; former New York Deputy Mayor William Lynch Jr.; and WE ACT co-founder Vernice Miller-Travis.

"This is a rare opportunity to publicly recognize individuals who have had a lasting impact on the struggle for environmental justice," said WE ACT's executive director, Peggy Shepard. "We want to show our gratitude for their contributions and encourage their continued involvement with our communities," said Shepard.

The affair, held at Columbia University's International House, at 500 Riverside Drive, was a first push to raise funds for WE ACT's Environmental Justice Resource Center, a Harlem brownstone at 459 West 140th Street that WE ACT plans to renovate into a state-of-the-art "green" building. The center, which will serve as a model of environmentally responsible design, will house storage space for WE ACT's environmental health research materials, meeting rooms for WE ACT's Government Accountability program, and a resource room for WE ACT's Youth Leadership program. It will provide a new venue for collaboration between government, industry and academia to create sustainable development solutions and construction projects that benefit communities.

WE ACT, headquartered at 271 West 125th Street in Harlem, is part of a broad-based effort to address the disproportionate burden of pollution, environmental degradation, and health risks borne by people of color.


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