mark! Lopez is a community organizer and Executive Director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice. He comes from a family that has been engaged in a multi-generational struggle with the legacy and impact of environmental racism left by Exide, a car battery recycling plant, and its release over decades of 7 million pounds of atmospheric lead into the East LA and Southeast LA communities. Through community organizing, Areas around the now-shuttered plant are the site of an unprecedented cleanup effort of over 10,000 residential properties, daycare facilities, schools and parks across seven southeast Los Angeles County communities. Mark!’s intergenerational perspective on community organizing allows him to see beyond the immediate victory of the cleanup authorized by the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and allows him to identify Exide’s continuing legacy of environmental racism in the health and social impacts of lead poisoning on a massive scale. A student activist, mark! earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz, and earned his masters from the Chicanx Studies Department at Cal State Northridge. His masters thesis titled “The Fire: Decolonizing ‘Environmental Justice’” argues that understanding the history and historical context of struggle can decenter master narratives of environmentalism in the United States. mark! writes that “Recentering our stories and understanding the responsibilities we hold is a powerful step in the process of decolonization.” At Chemical Entanglements mark! will speak the strategies and perspectives of intergenerational struggle as a decolonizing praxis.
For access to mark!’s thesis from Cal State Northdridge, follow this link:
For information and a timeline of LA County’s reaction to the Exide Industries contamination, see:
Profile by Winter Rae Schneider