Twenty years ago, when I was a kid outside of Chicago, plans were announced to build a waste incinerator near our home. The incinerator threatened our community with toxic fly ash and toxic metal emissions, and my friend’s mom took us to community meetings to stop it.
We went to city-run hearings, we talked to the media, brought in health experts, testified in front of local officials… and together, as a community, we stopped the incinerator.
Around the same time I found out my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and although I didn’t know the cause of her cancer, I knew no other family deserved to watch their family members get sick from preventable causes like toxic ash and coal pollution.
Today I’ve dedicated my life to help families and communities around the country stop injustices in their own backyards the way we stopped that incinerator when I was a kid. Whether there's millions of us or just two, it's when people work together that we are powerful and can change the world.