Oil Drilling in Los Angeles, a Talk with Bhavna Shamasunder and Sandy Navarro from L.A. Grit Media
June 5, 1pm-3pm PST
This talk is organized as part of the research phase of the upcoming exhibition, Beatriz da Costa: (un)disciplinary tactics, Getty PST initiative 2024 with A Preemptive Study group organized by Andrew McNeely, Daniel Lieja Quintanar, and Ana Briz.
What can a ten year long successful struggle to curb oil drilling in Los Angeles and a study of chemical exposures from beauty products used by women of color tell us about the current role of community-based research in environmental health and justice? Our community-academic research team shares stories on the struggle to curb a century of oil drilling in Los Angeles. We consider how community engaged research research can work alongside environmental justice social movements to address structural inequality and help combat entrenched environmental racism.
Bhavna Shamasunder is Associate Professor and Chair in the Urban and Environmental Policy Department and co-chair of the Public Health Program at Occidental College. She teaches and conducts research on environmental health and justice with a focus on the disparate and cumulative burdens faced by poor communities of color. Her active research projects include health impacts from neighborhood oil drilling in Los Angeles; the “environmental injustice of beauty” that considers health disparities for women of color from synthetic chemicals in consumer products; and the types of information (i.e. economic, public health, etc..) used by diverse immigrant communities in decisions to lighten skin and/or use skin lightening products. Her work has been supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the California Breast Cancer Research Program, and the National Science Foundation. She received her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.
Sandy Navarro is a lifelong resident of Historic South Central Los Angeles, whose firsthand experience of living in a disenfranchised community galvanized her commitment to social justice work. In 2014, Sandy joined the staff of Esperanza Community Housing, overseeing multiple community-led beautification projects and health-driven collaborations throughout South Los Angeles. While at Esperanza, Sandy managed the environmental justice campaign, People Not Pozos (People Not Oil Wells), served on the Stand Together Against Neighborhood Oil Drilling (STAND LA) coalition, and led local youth leaders in the formation of the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition. In 2017, Sandy launched, L.A. Grit Media, an agency dedicated to working collaboratively with organizations, researchers, and public health groups to produce community-driven media and advance community-based research. Sandy has produced educational videos, designed health literacy intervention materials, and created art exhibitions for Esperanza Community Housing, Occidental College, USC Environmental Health Centers, Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. A graphic designer, videographer, and Community Health Promoter, Sandy Navarro utilizes her skills to bring visibility to the social issues in her community.
For attendees interested in learning more about the topic prior to the event, here are 3 suggested readings.