Who We Are
The purpose of Neighbors for Environmental Justice is to educate, advocate and organize with our community to accomplish environmental justice on the southwest side of Chicago.
We believe environmental justice cannot be separated from racial justice, and so we align and advocate to support the larger struggle for justice in all the forms it takes.
N4EJ has been organizing food distribution dates at rotating sites on the Southwest Side, in partnership with Gourmet Gorilla and the USDA. Our program ran most weeks from June through September 2020, and we plan to resume in 2021. So far we have distributed more than $250,000 worth of food.
A series of open discussions about environmental justice and what it means for our community, these (currently virtual) conversations are a chance for us all to connect and consider the issues facing us and what we can do about them.
We try to track the announcement of new developments and potential sources of pollution, and warn the community as soon as we find anything.
Stop MAT Asphalt!
The sudden appearance in 2018 of a hot-mix asphalt plant across the street from McKinley Park is what first prompted Neighbors For Environmental Justice to get organized. We’re still fighting to close the plant, which has received numerous complaints and citations. Read about it! Get involved! And if you’re in the area while it smells bad, head on over to smellsbad.today to submit a report or file a complaint.
Chicago Environmental Justice Network (CEJN)
Environmental justice isn’t just an issue on the Southwest Side. We are working in coalition with Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, People for Community Recovery, Southeast Environmental Task Force Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, Blacks In Green, and Ixchel to confront Chicago’s long pattern of environmental racism and fight for change. Every neighborhood deserves clean air and clean water.
Suing the EPA
N4EJ has partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to sue the US EPA over the way they evaluated the toxic chemical methylene chloride, which is used in the Clean Harbors solvent reprocessing facility at on 42nd street by Ashland.
SWSide Air Network
We crowdfunded a set of PurpleAir monitors around the Southwest Side. We use these air monitors to collect data about particulate matter (PM). You can view the map or follow @SWSideAir to get air quality alerts and status updates. You can also get your own monitor and add it to the network!
To learn more about the effects of air pollution on community health, we’ve been collecting articles and research.
We have gathered a lot of public documents through public records searches and FOIA requests in our campaign to close MAT Asphalt. Check out our collection of key documents. To search the Chicago data portal for inspections or documents related to a person, business, or address, try BetterDataPortal (built by one of our board members).
The first thing you can do is speak up. When it smells bad, report it (to us) and file a complaint (with the city/state) at smellsbad.today.
If you want to help with food distributions, environmental actions, community conversations, or other possible events, fill out our volunteer survey and let us know how you want to be involved.
We’re also on a bunch of different platforms, so you can follow and engage with us here, too:
Oh, and of course you can always email us: neighbors4environmentaljustice @ gmail.com