Comité Civico del Valle was established in 1987 to assist the farm working labor force with various social service and health needs in Imperial County. Comité began as a service provider by helping residents of Imperial County to gain citizenship through naturalization preparation classes. Later, the organization began to widen its mission to include health and social service topics such as environmental health education, nutrition and asthma awareness. Through its work in asthma prevention and pesticide awareness, the focus of Comité has evolved to include advocacy, civic engagement, resident education and participation in research studies. Comité Civico's commitment to continue its work in advocacy prompted the implementation of the first ever Grassroots Environmental Health Conference. The overall mission of Comité Civico del Valle, Inc. (CCV) is to improve the living conditions of our communities through education, capacity building and civic participation. CCV's motto is "Informed people build healthy communities."
CCV's environmental justice strategy included hosting an inaugural Summit on June 2, 2007 in Imperial County. This was the first ever conference meeting dedicated solely to the environment. Subsequent summits were held in 2009, 2010 and 2011. This summit convened residents, educators, community leaders, health care providers, and environmental justice advocates discussing important environmental health concerns. The purpose of each summit was to raise awareness about environmental justice issues, present new data and research, and identify key priorities. Evidence-based strategies were discussed to address key issues in Imperial County as well as emerging concerns. In addition to the conference, participants were invited to tour the community on a chartered bus the day before the Summit event. During the bus tour, community members were given the opportunity to make candid observations of environmental health hazards. This also provided an opportunity to discuss concerns at the event on the following day.
In 2011, CCV began a partnership with a grassroots advocacy organization called Promotores Comunitarios Del Desierto. This partnership has led to the deployment of the first Coachella Valley Environmental Justice Taskforce adopting the IVAN (identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods) model. Among the achievements of the Environmental Justice Taskforce included the halting of hazardous waste to an unpermitted facility in Mecca, Ca and advocated for over 2 million dollars in grants for air quality mitigation form AB1318 which funded a weatherization program for Desert Hot Springs and a Coachella Valley Unified School District wide installation of air filters which reduces indoor classroom air pollution. Hosting the Inaugural Environmental Health Leadership Summit in 2013 demonstrated the partners' commitment to the future of environmental health leadership development in Coachella Valley. We are once again very proud to be hosting the 2nd Annual Environmental Health Leadership Summit on May 24, 2014 at the Desert Mirage High School in Thermal, California.
This summit funded in part by: