In 1987, Comité Cívico del Valle (CCV), a community-based organization, was established in Imperial Valley, California by concerned residents to assist the farm working labor force with various social service and health needs in the region. CCV also began as a service provider by assisting residents of the Imperial Valley in gaining 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 CCV has continued to evolve now included advocacy, civic engagement, resident education, and participation in “citizen science” research studies. The overall mission of 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."
Presently, CCV is leading multiple community projects to improve the quality of life of Imperial Valley residents through environmental monitoring. The IVAN Air Monitoring Data Display which was just launched September 30 2016 will give community members the tools needed to take a more informed approach to their everyday outdoor activities the IVAN Air Monitoring which could be found at ivan-imperial.org/air is instrumental in addressing air quality at the neighborhood level. This project currently consists of 40 Air Quality Monitors throughout the Imperial County between Mexciali BC and the Eastern Coachella Valley including the Salton Sea . This project is a collaboration between CCV, the University of Washington and other partners, like the California Environmental Health Tracking Program (CEHTP) that received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a 4-year community-based air monitoring research project in Imperial Valley. CCV in collaboration with Clinica de Salud del Pueblo, San Diego State University is also leading The Respira Sano project which offers a comprehensive asthma education and management program to help Imperial Valley residents to deal with all aspects of the disease. This project is fundamental in providing support to the overwhelming population of people that live with asthma in the Imperial Valley.
The foundation of CCV environmental monitoring and education projects is IVAN (Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods). IVAN is an innovative program of environmental monitoring and reporting and enforcement in environmental laws throughout California. It is intended to improve health and conditions and well being in environmental justice communities where residents face high levels of pollution from multiple sources ,environmental hazards and low levels of the economic, political, and social resources needed to address them. IVAN has expanded to six environmental justice communities statewide, including: Imperial County, Coachella Valley, Fresno, Kern County, Wilmington, and Kings County, and its most recent launch in Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco. All the IVAN networks include a task force consisting of environmental justice and other kinds of community-based organizations, along with staff from county, city, state, and federal environmental agencies which meet monthly, allowing for constant interaction between community and government agencies that are expected to help address environmental hazards in disadvantaged communities. The expanding statewide IVAN network has proven to be a catalyst for community engagement and government accountability that has resulted in various benefits for environmental justice communities.
As part of CCV’s dedication to environmental justice, they organize an annual Environmental Health Leadership Summit (EHLS) in the Imperial Valley, which has been a success since its initial inception on June 2, 2007. EHLS is considered to be the first conference in the Imperial Valley solely dedicated to discussing topics concerning the environment. Subsequent summits were held in 2009, 2010, and 2011. This summit convenes residents, educators, youth and community leaders, health care providers, government officials, and environmental justice advocates to discuss important environmental health concerns. The purpose of each summit is to raise awareness about environmental justice issues, present new data and research, and identify key priorities. The past two EHLS have been hosted at Brawley Union High School in Brawley, California. CCV’s continued collaboration with Brawley Union High School demonstrates a commitment to the future of environmental health leadership with the youth of the Imperial Valley. We are very proud to be hosting the 7th Annual Environmental Health Leadership Summit on October 22, 2016 at Brawley Union High School.