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12 African Americans who are greening the nation

By: Laura Moss on Feb. 2, 2011, 12:18 p.m.
Beverly Wright

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Beverly Wright

Wright is the founder of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, and she’s best known for her environmental justice work in post-Katrina New Orleans. Lead and other chemical saturation was a serious health issue in the city before the hurricane, but the floods exacerbated the situation. However, the EPA said it wasn’t responsible for cleaning up the toxic lead, arsenic and PCB contamination. Wright fought for the areas to be properly cleaned and developed a program called A Safe Way Back Home to cleanse homes that were full of mold and noxious air pollutants. The green jobs movement also owes Wright much credit — she helped develop the first government programs to create environmental cleanup jobs for communities with high unemployment. Wright recently received the National Heinz Award for her work.