Core E: Community Engagement Core

Narragansett Tribal Elders Attend First Workshop on Preparing for Emergencies
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A Visualization of Flood Stages in the Oxbow Area of the Woonasquatucket River
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CEC work with Narragansett Tribe recognized by Rhode Island Department of Health
A poster summarizes the milestones achieved this past year toward developing a robust government continuity plan and an emergency response and recovery plan to respond efficiently and effectively to the needs of Tribal members during an emergency. Smaller versions of two posters displayed at the Tribe's annual powwow illustrate recent local natural disasters: mishita'shin (wind) and mishittommo'ckon (water). This display will remain for the month of January in the RIDOH's main lobby for staff and visitors viewing.

Blackstone River Watershed Council / Friends of the Blackstone
"A Fish Advisory Initiative" by Alice Clemente features our collaboration in the Fall 2013 issue of the BRWC/FOB newsletter.

Tainted School site monitored Amelia Rose, director of the EJL of RI, speaks to the Providence Journal about toxic vapor testing at Alvarez High School, built on a contaminated industrial site in the Reservoir Triangle neighborhood of Providence. Read the full story here.

Woonasquatucket River Oxbow Area Research Project Beverly Xu, a Brown undergraduate in Civil Engineering, worked this summer with the CEC team on the Woonasquatucket River Oxbow Area Research Project

Community Partners 2013 Narragansett Indian Tribe Annual Powwow: SRP Community Engagement Core Team. Lorén Spears, consultant (far left), Elizabeth Hoover, CEC member (left), Robert Vanderslice, CEC member (middle), Dinalyn Spears, community partner (right), and Marcella Thompson, CEC member (far right).

Community Partners 2013 Narragansett Indian Tribe Annual Powwow: Elizabeth Hoover was awarded first place in the women’s smoke dance and second place in the fancy shawl competitions. She is Brown University’s only faculty member of Native American descent.

Community Partners 2013 Narragansett Indian Tribe Annual Powwow: It Takes a Village. Marcella Thompson and Narragansett Tribal Administrator Anthony Deane Stanton. Mr. Stanton serves on the Tribe’s Emergency Planning Committee.

Community Partners 2013 Narragansett Indian Tribe Powwow: All hands on deck.

Community Partners
2013 Narragansett Indian Tribe Annual Powwow: Academic-Government-Community Partnership. Marcella Thompson stands with Narragansett Chief Sachem “Seventh Hawk” Matthew Thomas.

Community Partners 2013 Narragansett Indian Tribe Powwow: Booth Duty. Mike Brazel, NIMS Coordinator for FEMA Region 1 and Marcella Thompson.
Core E: Community Engagement Core – Environmental Health and Justice
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The Community Engagement Core promotes environmental health and justice outreach and education across Rhode Island, a small, densely populated state burdened by a long history of industrial activity. Its program complements the SRP's focus on a state-based approach by working on multiple levels with a variety of constituencies, including community-based organizations, state and federal government agencies such as EPA, ATSDR, and RI Department of Environmental Management, and our and other universities.

Specific Aims

  • Work with community-based organizations on environmental health and justice issues, in formal and informal partnerships, on education, legislation, regulation, and cleanup.
  • Increase environmental health and environmental justice education.
  • Work with state and federal environmental agencies on projects involving public participation, agency outreach, and environmental justice.
  • Communicate our work to the broader Brown community and get them involved.
Community Partners

Woonsaquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC)
One of the nation's fourteen federally-designated American Heritage Rivers, the Woonasquatucket River's watershed comprises five towns (including Providence), and includes a Superfund site and several Brownfields. Among its many projects, the WRWC is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others on remediation to address dioxin contamination at the Centredale Manor area. WRWC also works on maintaining and promoting land preservation along the watershed, and in developing environmental materials for students. The Brown SBRP Community Outreach team has researched cleanup methods implemented at forty other similar Superfund sites, and has interviewed community organizations near those sites to learn about their satisfaction with the cleanup alternatives chosen. We are also helping the Watershed Council identify other stakeholders along the river, so that they may network and make a coordinated demand for cleanup to the most stringent standards possible.

Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island (EJLRI)
The Community Engagement Core helped in the formation of the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island (EJLRI) to create a network of community-based organizations that addresses issues related to Superfund brownfields clean up, remediation, and redevelopment, and to help this network secure resources, training and scientific expertise to address community concerns about toxics. Two short videos highlight their important work:
    Vehicle of Change describes how a young organizer from the EJLRI finds an innovative way to get around and so much more.
    Toxic Schools provides an overview of Rhode Island’s industrial past and toxic legacy. In low income neighborhoods many public schools are being built on toxic sites creating a variety of health issues for local children. These issues gave rise to the EJLRI.
Community Environmental College (CEC)
The Community Environmental College is a educational program for youth, providing classes in Environmental Justice, Food Justice, and Leadership Media and the Arts.

Hospitals for a Healthy Environment in Rhode Island
Hospitals for a Healthy Environment in Rhode Island (H2ERI) is a coalition of hospitals, hospital associations, professional associations, nursing schools, unions, academic institutions, government agencies, local food groups, and environmental organizations which works on promoting, cost effective, efficient, healthy and sustainable green care practice in health care institutions.

Urban Pond Procession (UPP)
Urban Pond Procession (UPP) is a network of Rhode Island artists who promote stewardship of the Mashapaug Pond through arts and education. The UPP facilitates creative arts workshops for youth in schools and in the community to raise environmental awareness, promote environmental health, and engage community members to participate and advocate for the cleanup of Mashapaug Pond, adjacent to the Gorham/Textron Brownfield site, and other Pawtuxet River watershed ponds.

Blackstone River Watershed Council (BRWC)
Blackstone River Watershed Council (BRWC) is devoted to the restoration and continuous preservation of the Blackstone River through public advocacy, education and stewardship. The BRWC is committed to the goal of a fishable and swimmable river by 2015. Over the past 21 years, the BRWC has sponsored nature walks, fishing, canoeing, and opportunities for residents to become involved in cleanup projects.

Narragansett Indian Tribe
The Narragansett Indian Tribe is the only federally recognized tribe in Rhode Island. As a sovereign nation, the Narragansett Tribe has its own governing body comprised of Chief Sachem, Medicine Man, Tribal Secretary, Tribal Treasurer, a nine-member Council, and a Tribal Elders’ Council. In 2007, there were approximately 2,600 Tribal members. The Tribal government has administrative and department offices, a health center, daycare and senior centers, and the Four Winds community building. The Narragansett Indian Health Center provides a holistic approach to address the health needs of its Tribal members. The Department of Community Planning and Natural Resources promotes sustainable community development and protects the health and welfare of the Tribal culture, community members and the natural environment.

Rhode Island Indian Council (RIIC)
is a private, non-profit agency in Providence that was established in 1975 to promote the social, economic, and cultural well-being of 50 tribal communities. Their 5,600 constituents are located in Rhode Island and throughout the Northeastern U.S. The RIIC is governed and staffed primarily by Native Americans.

Important Links
Comprehensive list of organizations specializing in issues related to human and environmental health and environmental justice.

Core Leader: Robert Vanderslice, Ph.D.

Environmental Health State Agencies Liaison and Core Co-leader: Marcella Thompson, Ph.D.

Core Co-leader: Elizabeth Hoover, Ph.D.
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