On December 2nd, United Parents and Students hosted a summit on issues facing our communities in Los Angeles facing Green Dot parents and students. This series will explore the focus areas of ForwardLA: A Day of Justice.
The health of a person is crucially dependent on the health of his or her community. If a child does not have healthy community environments, it is significantly more difficult to thrive in school. Because students’ personal health is undeniably tied to their school performance, every student should have healthy communities to live in with access to clean water and breathable air–in Los Angeles in particular. At Green Dot Public Schools, no matter how hard we work to give our students the tools they need to succeed inside school walls, we cannot have the lifelong impact students need without advocating alongside our community for healthy, clean neighborhood streets.
“Having safe and clean streets does not only impact the community, but it also impacts how people view you as an individual from the community,” said one student from Ánimo Leadership Charter High School. “ This issue need to be addressed because it affects peoples’ well-being. We need to help these people to become and feel safer in their community and not constantly looking over their shoulder.”
Especially in historically underserved communities, whose unregulated pollution by oil and gas industries goes unaddressed, the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable community members are overlooked. Environmental burdens caused by neighborhood drilling interfere with the ability to access safe recreational areas and drinkable water. Locals who live near drilling sites continue to suffer from directly correlated health effects such as upper respiratory illness, nosebleeds, headaches, and an increased risk of cancer.
“When it comes to solving environmental issues that affect our communities, there is almost always a diffusion of responsibility; but no more. Issues like neighborhood oil drilling in areas like South Los Angeles aren’t just environmental; they concern the long-term health and well-being of families,” said Veronica Toledo, Parent and Community Engagement Manager at United Parents and Students. “This is as much about health equity as it is about the environment. As a family of public charter schools, Green Dot stands behind this effort to clean up our local environment and ensure that all communities—not just some—are healthy and free from the effects of issues like oil drilling. We share a community, and therefore we share this responsibility.”
“As a family of public charter schools, Green Dot stands behind this effort to clean up our local environment and ensure that all communities—not just some—are healthy and free from the effects of issues like oil drilling. We share a community, and therefore we share this responsibility.”
–Veronica Toledo, UPAS Parent & Community Engagement Manager
At Green Dot, we work hard to prepare our students to be active members of their communities. At ForwardLA on December 2nd, United Parents and Students, in partnership with Green Dot, collaborated with advocates, parents, and civic leaders to drive plans of action that will improve environmental issues affecting the health of our neighborhoods. Parents demanded that elected representatives create policies that hold accountable companies that threaten and pollute residents’ health. Living in clean communities should be a universal right, and at this year’s event, we welcomed all community members to come together and help make this a reality for members of the Los Angeles community and beyond.