Public Resource
How to Shut Down a Coal Plant: Lessons from LVEJO
Jessica Xiao, Climate Justice Alliance

This article draws from an interview with Kim Wasserman, executive director of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), based in Chicago, Illinois. Kim Wasserman and LVEJO (pronounced “ell-VAY-ho,”) have spent nearly two decades "fighting the bad" in Chicago’s predominantly immigrant community of Little Village, engaging in a 12-year campaign to shut down two coal plants that ranked as the top three for most polluted in the US and contributed to some of the highest asthma rates in the country.  After the conversation with Kim, the article captures are the main lessons the author learned about how to be an environmental justice leader.

  1. Know your neighborhood and know your strengths.
  2. Know your city.
  3. Follow your community's lead
  4. Find, educate, and create allies within institutions.
  5. Ask lots and lots of questions. Never stop learning.