Ramirez writes editorial on health of L.A.'s blue-collar Latino neighborhoods
I grew up in Commerce surrounded by family who moved here from rural Jalisco, Mexico in the 1970s. We’ve always been an active family in the community – we go to local events, see the Fourth of July fireworks, and take part in the city’s summer reading programs. And that’s how it is for many families here – we come to Commerce, and we stay here for generations. This is our home.
What often isn’t obvious, in our blue-collar community with many families, is the low air quality and exposure to toxins that affect residents every day. We’re exposed to these toxins at parks, in schools, and in our homes. The toxins come from sources like the 710 freeway and local industrial pollution.
I’m a local community organizer, and the longer I’ve worked in our community to encourage our elected officials to keep our environment clean – to plant more trees, and discourage industrial infrastructure in residential neighborhoods – the clearer it’s become: a clean environment is a public health issue.