South Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (SJEJA) is an environmental justice group with a diverse membership of community and environmental activists, scientists, educators, and concerned citizens from all over the SJ region, including many members from Camden City. We work together to identify, prevent, and reduce and/or eliminate environmental injustices that exist in communities of color and low-income communities.
The South Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance embraces this diversity and abundance of experience and perspectives. We work in a mutually supportive manner to eliminate many threats to human and environmental health.
Although, SJEJA’s geographic area covers the eight counties that make up South Jersey (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Mercer, Ocean & Salem), the group’s main efforts are focused on Camden City because of the severity of the city’s environmental problems.
SJEJA is the Southern arm of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA), a statewide umbrella, all-volunteer organization comprised of nearly 40 groups (as of this writing) and individuals.
NJEJA has three regional components organized geographically within the state—Northern, Central and Southern—to encourage and support local struggles. NJEJA will support community efforts to remediate and rebuild impacted neighborhoods, using the community’s vision of improvement, through education, advocacy, the review and promulgation of public policies, training, and through organizing and technical assistance.
We believe that everyone is entitled to a safe environment with clean and unpolluted air, water, soil and food. We recognize that poor, urban minorities are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards. The South Jersey Environmental Alliance provides a way for people living in such affected communities in South Jersey to organize and take back control of their neighborhoods and communities. SJEJA aims to build alliances and coalitions with other activists in our region, the nation, and around the globe who are fighting similar struggles. We are united in a progressive vision for society based on social and environmental justice, which is grounded in the deeply held conviction that “another world is possible.” (WSF 07)
Major Environmental Justice Activities
SJEJA was formed in October of 2002 as the southern regional chapter of the state-wide New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA) and was incorporated as a separate entity on December 18, 2003. Since the formation of SJEJA, the organization has provided technical and capacity building assistance to neighborhood groups, organized and participated in numerous public hearings and events, submitted public comments on facility permits and other environmental-related matters, conducted research on local environmental issues.
Most recently, SJEJA was one of several groups to successfully protect the integrity of the Waterfront South community by preventing enactment of a redevelopment plan which would have forced residents to relocate and start further environmental degradation.
>>> more about Waterfront South
In January 2007 a SJEJA contingent has attended the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya to present issues residents are facing in South Jersey. The of our members presented at this international conference. Mangaliso’s workshop on environmental degradation in Camden, NJ created a stimulating dialogue which generated hope, energy and an awareness of the similarity many peoples on this earth are finding themselves in. Nelson, in collaboration with Eleanor, led a workshop about the struggles of SJ farm workers, resulting in interesting, unforeseen outcomes.
Speaking with South African farmworkers Nelson found out that the labels on the pesticide containers that were being used are in Chinese. Currently South African farm workers are not able to read the labels on the insecticides products they are using due to language barriers. CATA will translate pesticides labels from Chinese into English.
Positive outcomes like this were encouraging and motivated SJEJA to actively stay in touch with other activists around the world. Nelson beamingly explained: “By meeting other people who share so many of the issues we are dealing with here at home, the World Social Forum changed our perspective and renewed our spirit.” By sharing information and resources electronically via the internet, we are better equipped to make a difference in the quality of life for ordinary people both at home and in far away, remote places of the world.
>>> more about the WSF’07
South Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (SJEJA)
112 N. 7th Street, 3rd Floor – Camden, NJ 08102
Phone: (856) 365-9038 – Fax: (856) 365-0011
email: [email protected]