Hazel Johnson, environmental justice and freedom fighter

Hazel Johnson, one of the most important fighters against environmental racism in the U.S., died Jan. 12. She began organizing in 1979 with other African-American residents of the Altgeld Gardens public housing project on the South Side of Chicago. Initially, they were seeking proper maintenance of their homes. Her organization, People for Community Recovery, is still active today with Cheryl Johnson, Hazel’s daughter, as Executive Director. Hazel learned that her community was surrounded by polluting industries and waste sites, and had been built on top of a landfill. She called it a toxic doughnut and became an environmental justice activist before the phrase was invented. For the rest of her life, she never stopped fighting for the people of Altgeld Gardens and every community around the world whose health is under attack by polluting companies and complicit governments. (See “Environmental Justice Wake-up Call,” Aug.-Sept. 1995 News & Letters.) She pointed out that poor people of color were most affected. Last year she fell ill and received the kind of low-quality healthcare the poor in our country so often receive. We need more fighters like Hazel Johnson. The struggle continues!

Funeral Arrangements (see http://www.peopleforcommunityrecovery.org/ for latest information)

January 22, 2011
St. Ailbe Catholic Church
9015 South Harper
Chicago, IL 60619

Visitation: 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Funeral:  11:00 am – 12:00 noon

January 21, 2011, 4pm-8pm
W.W. Holt Funeral Home
175 W. 159th Street
Harvey, IL 60426

CYC/ Community Building
951 E 132nd Place, Chicago, IL 60825
January 22, 2011, 3pm-5pm, immediately after burial

The family is requesting, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to help with funeral costs. Donations can be made on the http://www.peopleforcommunityrecovery.org/ website.

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