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Climate and Environmental Justice



It is no surprise to Environmental Justice Organizers, including those at Michigan United, that Detroit is an epicenter for the COVID-19 virus.  According to health officials, “the city’s high levels of poverty and pre-existing health conditions make those who acquire the disease more susceptible to the most acute cases of COVID-19.” Detroit has a higher percentage of African Americans and higher poverty levels than any other large U.S. city. 


Michigan United Environmental Justice Organizer Emma Lockridge has led a campaign to secure a home buyout program for some of the residents in her Detroit 48217 community—the most polluted in Michigan.  The organizing has targeted Marathon Petroleum Corporation, the largest polluter based in her ZIP code.  The refinery already purchased a limited number of homes on one side of its massive tar sands oil refinery.  The push is for the corporation to expand the buyout to more residents.

In the interim, several recently hired Michigan United environmental justice organizers will team up with Emma to focus on heavily polluted areas in close proximity to Detroit 48217, including the small downriver cities of River Rouge and Ecorse. The three communities are referred to as the Tri-Cities and have 29 of the largest polluting facilities in the state located in or near them, including steel mills, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department and AK Steel.  The type of contamination impacting the Tri-Cities has turned the cities into Sacrifice Zones.  That means

corporate and government polluters are legally allowed to damage health, property, air and water at the expense of the predominantly Black citizens who live in these communities.  If you are interested in supporting work on the Sacrifice Zones send your contact info to:


Detroit’s poverty and pollution are connected. Above Detroit 48217 and

Marathon emissions—below the East Side of Detroit.
















Michigan United is fighting for the health, wellbeing, and environmental justice for all Flint residents regardless of citizenship status. Some of the most vulnerable populations affected by the failure of Government on all levels when the people of Flint were poisoned by contaminated drinking water are people with disabilities and our immigrant community. 

  • Accessibility to information, healthcare, and vital basic needs resources remain a top focus of our advocacy efforts during COVID-19

  • Advocating for transparency in disaster preparedness plans for local & state governments

  • Advocating for front-line workers to have PPE available

  • Encouraging and promoting the social distancing model for mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus

  • Invest in the people of Flint and Genesee County through continued relationship building, coalition building, and advocacy efforts

Email Flint Michigan United organizer, Monica Villarreal for the regular Saturday zoom meeting times and link. or call/text 810-938-1648

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