By Ashley Werner, Special to CalMatters

For generations, public agencies have directed highways, landfills, meat processing plants, warehouses and other polluting facilities to South Fresno neighborhoods, an area of the San Joaquin Valley that is predominantly populated by lower income households and people of color.

This activity has turned South Fresno into one of the most environmentally burdened neighborhoods in the state. Every day, thousands of trucks rumble past homes and schools. Domestic wells have run dry as warehouse landscaping springs up around them.

2020’s devastating hardships brought important truths about the enduring legacy of structural racism and inequity in California to the forefront of public awareness. Some recognized for the first time that many communities suffer from a lack of access to clean air, reliable drinking water, quality housing, safe parks and other basic amenities due to this legacy.

It does not need to be this way...(more)