Kenyatta, Policy Committee discuss environmental justice in disadvantaged communities

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., held a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today at Lutheran Settlement House to discuss environmental justice.

Kenyatta requested the hearing in his legislative district, the 181st, to discuss environmental justice and health issues affecting Pennsylvanians, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. He was joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.

“In Philadelphia, many of our residents send their children to school buildings where lead paint poses a serious health risk, many of our residents are dealing with health issues related to air quality, and many of our residents are seeing daily the impact of pollution,” Kenyatta said.

Sturla added, “People in our urban centers, especially those people in disadvantaged communities, are being put at risk by the environmental factors around them. Today’s hearing provided an opportunity for experts in the field to explore those risk factors and possible solutions.”

Testifiers included Justin Dula, eastern regional coordinator for the Office of Environmental Justice, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Dr. Marilyn Howarth, director of community outreach and engagement, University of Pennsylvania’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology; Ebony Griffin, staff attorney for Environmental Justice, The Public Interest Law Center; and Sonia Galiber, director of Operations & Added Value/Herbalism, Philadelphia Urban Creators.

This hearing is among a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. More information about the plan is available at and hearing materials are at