Environmental Justice History: Hazel M. Johnson

Environmental Justice History: Hazel M. Johnson

Climate justice is racial justice. As we unlearn & relearn about the environmental movement, we'll be sharing key figures here.

Hazel M. Johnson is known as the Mother of the Environmental Justice movement. In 1979, Hazel discovered that the Chicago public housing project she lived in was built on a TOXIC LANDFILL - causing high cancer rates & respiratory illness.

She founded People for Community Recovery, a nonprofit dedicated to environmental justice and improving the living conditions in public housing.

In 1992, Hazel was given the President’s Environment & Conservation Challenge award in recognition of her environmental justice work. She was instrumental in pressuring President Bill Clinton to sign the Environmental Justice Executive Order, which holds the federal government accountable for urban communities exposed to pollution.  

Learn more about Hazel M. Johnson:

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