Pilsen Residents Pack Hall to Discuss Neighborhood Pollution with Authorities Alderman Daniel Solis (25th) Only Invited Official to Not Attend

Friday May 13 2011

More than 150 Pilsen residents and environmental justice supporters packed a community hall to meet authorities regarding action on known sources of carcinogenic pollution yesterday. The Illinois Attorney General’s office joined Illinois EPA, the Chicago Health Department and other officials at the event. Alderman Daniel Solis (25th) was the only guest who did not attend.

The meeting was the first large informational event since the Chicago Tribune revealed April 1 that lead levels in Pilsen’s air were above the health norm for most of 2010, one time as high as 10 times. Coal soot and other emissions are also an issue.

At the meeting experts and authorities made short presentations and residents followed up with questions and additional information. In the end, the neighbors’ demands could be summarized as wanting a place at the table when dealing with pollution and polluters. Participants agreed to continue to mobilize and to have a follow up meeting in a month.

The meeting was organized by the Pilsen Alliance in collaboration with PERRO, Pilsen’s environmental justice organization. The Pilsen Alliance is a grassroots community group organizing in the historic Chicago neighborhood to preserve its opportunities for people of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds