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“Who should I talk to if I’m dealing with a polluter in my neighborhood?”

“Is anybody working on neighborhood disaster response plans?”

“What organizations are working on water affordability?”

Whew. There is a lot going on in our city… and a lot of different people and organizations working to advance healthy and sustainable communities! We did some research to try and help you answer the questions that are most relevant to you.

This guide is simply a list of orgs that we’re aware of working on different fronts. Are we missing some? Let us know, please email Andrew.

Each group’s location, focus areas, and some key notes are listed here. Some key focus areas we highlight are:

air quality , asthma , energy , lead , legal support , policy advocacy , skill building , water

Detroit Based Groups

Black to the Land Coalition

  • Location: Citywide
  • Focus Area: Outdoor Education, Youth Programming
  • Notes: Black To The Land’s programs have offerings for all ages and include things like the Urban Forest School. They are Black and Indigenous led and centered.

Detroit Environmental Agenda

  • Location: Citywide
  • Focus Area: Policy, Networking
  • Notes: This coalition brings together numerous research groups and non-profit orgs. Check out their member orgs for more research leads!

Eastside Community Network (ECN)

  • Location: Mack and Conner (Eastside Detroit)
  • Focus Areas: Community Development, Policy Advocacy, Organizer Training
  • Notes: ECN hosts a whole variety of programming for community residents as well as some environmental justice specific initiatives like a fellowship program, regular climate action coalition, and facilitating a network of resiliency hubs to administer relief in the event of a natural disaster like floods or heat waves. ECN also has a fleet of vans that folks can rent at low cost for your community events.

Great Lakes Environmental Law Center

  • Location: Statewide
  • Focus Area: Legal Support, Air Quality
  • Notes: Great Lakes Environmental Law Center offers legal services to folks facing environmental injustices. They also run a Permit Tracker and an Enforcement Tracker for monitoring air quality in Wayne County.

Ecology Center

  • Location: Ann Arbor and Detroit
  • Focus Areas: Citizen Science, Air Quality
  • Notes: Ecology Center works on various fronts from helping research and report on diverse pollution and sustainability issues to supporting with community-based science.

Transit Riders United (TRU)

  • Location: Metro Detroit
  • Focus Area: Transportation
  • Notes: TRU advocates for sensible transit policy and host various educational events. They also engage in some lobbying and campaign work.

Soulardarity

  • Location: Highland Park
  • Focus Areas: Utility Accountability, Policy Advocacy
  • Notes: Soulardarity started as a resident led campaign to get solar powered streetlights after DTE repossessed and removed streetlights from Highland Park. Now they focus on advocacy and are a presence at the Michigan Public Service Commission – the governmental body that regulates things like utility rates and other energy infrastructure.

Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV)

  • Location: Southwest
  • Focus Area: Air Quality, Land Use
  • Notes: SDEV works with both residents and businesses to help address some of the issues with air quality. SDEV is currently convening a coalition focused on trucking and it’s impact on air quality.

We The People of Detroit

  • Location: Detroit
  • Focus Area: Utility Accountability, Policy Advocacy, Organizer Training
  • Notes: One of the foremost organizations advocating for comprehensive statewide water affordability bills – which are different from “assistance programs” that have limited funds and don’t ensure people’s access to water. We The People of Detroit also runs organizer trainings and supports various campaigns based around youth leadership.

State-Wide Groups

These are included because some of their activities are in Detroit.

Just Air

  • Location: Statewide
  • Focus Area: Air Quality
  • Notes: Just Air offers technical tools to support with air quality monitoring.

Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition (MEJC)

  • Location: Statewide
  • Focus Areas: Policy Advocacy, Utility Accountability, Organizer Trainings
  • Notes: MEJC is a coalition formed of various member orgs. They have a broad reach and host various initiatives that include everything from policy analysis and advocacy work to grassroots volunteer campaigns.

Also note: Michigan Alliance for Justice In Climate (MAJIC)

  • Location: Statewide
  • Focus Areas: Coalition Building, Organizer Training
  • Notes: A project spun out from MEJC devoted to supporting grassroots organizers.

Michigan United

  • Location: Statewide
  • Focus Area: Policy and Lobbying Campaigns
  • Notes: Michigan United organizes various campaigns related to everything from immigration to criminal justice reform to labor to the environment and more. They offer resources to help organizers get experience.

The Peoples Water Board Coalition

  • Location: Statewide
  • Focus Area: Water Rights, Policy Advocacy
  • Notes: The People’s Water Board coalition advocates for safe, accessible, and affordable water.

Water Equals Life Coalition (WEL Coalition)

  • Location: Statewide
  • Focus Area: Water Rights, Policy Advocacy
  • Notes: WEL is advocating for policy that will ensure everyone has enough clean, safe, affordable water by making sure each family has a water bill capped according to their monthly income.

Media

Below are some outlets that you may find helpful.

Planet Detroit

Outlier Media

Detroit News

Metro Times

Riverwise Magazine

Fighting Words

A Note on Block Clubs

We live most of our lives locally. Sure, we may commute to work or build online communities, but studies show that when environmental or other disasters strike it’s the people we live closest to that play the biggest role in determining if we’re all right at the end of the day.

If you have a question or need support and are not sure where to start, try asking around your neighborhood or reaching out to your block club. There’s a wealth of local knowledge and most likely your neighbors will point you in the right direction. That said, we’re not gonna list out block clubs or neighborhood associations in this guide because it would simply be too long to be useful and you probably know your own local community pillars better than us!

For folks who are holding it down on a local level and looking to link with others or collaborate with DWEJ you can reach out to Andrew.

Note: This is a living document and subject to change! If you would like to be included in this directory or share a resource that is not listed please email Andrew. Your help is appreciated.

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