Mayor Albert Robles used the occasion to recognize Dr. King’s contributions to ensuring environmental justice for all, and question a decision by local air quality officials not to fund air-quality monitors in Carson
The City of Carson today paid tribute to slain Civil Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., – on the 50th year since his assassination – by renaming 192nd Street in his honor and recognizing his contributions to advocating and ensuring environmental justice generations before the term was ever coined.
“Today, I am truly privileged and honored to recognize the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the many and immense contributions that he made to the social fabric of our country,” said Mayor Albert Robles, who was joined by other council members, elected officials, city staff, community leaders and local school children during a ceremony held near the corner of Avalon Boulevard and the just named Martin Luther King, Jr. Street (formerly known as 192nd Street) in Carson.
“The City of Carson today joins the hundreds and hundreds of cities across America in renaming a street in honor of Dr. King, who advanced not only the civil rights of African-Americans but all Americans through the use of nonviolence and civil disobedience,” Mayor Robles said. Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work in this area.
A street sign bearing Dr. King’s name was unveiled during the ceremony. Local school children participated in the event by citing a variety of characteristics and attributes that pertain to the late civil rights icon. Coincidentally, the street renaming event also coincides with the 50th anniversary year of the incorporation of the City of Carson in 1968. “If not for the efforts of Dr. King and all who joined him, I would not be the Mayor of this great City,” he said.
“Dr. King is universally known for the March on Washington in 1963 and the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, but he also believed that everyone had the right to clean air, water and soil, and that all people should have the right to a healthy environment,” Mayor Robles said. “Within years of Dr. King’s most famous speech, environmental activists using the same tactics successfully pressured the Federal Government to pass the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Protection Act.”
Mayor Robles cited Dr. King environmental achievements against the environmental landscape that confronts the City of Carson, which is considered by the State of California as a disadvantaged community, where entire generations of residents have historically been exposed to the region’s poorest environmental quality.
Unregulated air and soil pollution caused by industrial and petroleum operations are among the environmental issues that face residents. The City is home to two of the largest oil refineries on the West Coast and dozens of related petroleum processing and storage operations. The City also suffers from the unmitigated air pollution related to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, truck traffic related to business activity and air pollution from locomotives using the Alameda Rail Corridor.
“I wonder why Carson, unlike other surrounding communities with less environmental impacts, does not receive its fair share of funding to mitigate these problems,” Mayor Robles said.
The Mayor has called on the South Coast Air Quality Management District to immediately fund and immediately install air-quality monitors in Carson like it has done in other less-affected communities. Mayor Robles said Carson residents near oil refineries need air-quality monitors to help protect them from harmful air pollutants.
Paraphrasing a well-known comment by Dr. King, “Environmental injustice anywhere, is a threat to clean air everywhere.
“As the Mayor of Carson, it is my responsibility, and that of my colleagues on the City Council, to ensure that we use all and every means possible to safeguard the health of our residents and protect them from any potential environmental hazards,” Mayor Robles said.
“Before the term, ‘environmental justice’ was ever used, Dr. King understood the impact that the lack of clean air, water and soil could have on disadvantaged communities,” he said. “Today, inspired by Dr. King’s leadership, I call on local air-quality officials to install air-quality monitors in Carson to protect our residents from any potential harm. Carson lives matter too.”