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Press Releases

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

"Love Canal" Activist, Lois Gibbs, Lecture October 6

SALISBURY, MD--The Salisbury State University fall lecture series, The Environment and the 21st Century, begins on Wednesday, October 6, with Lois Marie Gibbs, founder and executive director of the CCHW (Citizens Clearinghouse For Hazardous Waste) Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Free and open to the public, her presentation, Lessons Learned from Love Canal to Carry us into the 21st Century, is at 7 p.m. in the Wicomico Room of SSU's Guerrieri University Center.

Gibbs lecture focuses on the events at Love Canal, her transformation into activist, lessons learned and how they apply to grassroots efforts today. She will also discuss how citizens can take action in their own communities against corporate polluters. A brief question and answer period follows her presentation.

Gibbs, a native of Niagara Falls, NY, in 1978 discovered her child was attending an elementary school built on top of a dump containing 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals. Her discovery and response led to the formation of the Love Canal Homeowners Association which she led in a 2 year relocation struggle against Occidental Petroleum, local, state and federal officials. Following an Emergency Declaration for relocation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 Gibbs, realizing that the toxic-waste problem went far beyond her backyard, was determined to provide support for those in the same struggle. In 1981 under her leadership the CCHW (Center for Health, Environment and Justice) was formed. A national, nonprofit organization, the CCHW educates people on how to organize their communities and successfully challenge toxic dumpers.

Gibbs, recognized for her critical role in the Grassroots Environmental Justice Movement, was the recipient of the 1990 Goldman Environmental Prize, Outside Magazine's Top Ten Who Made a Difference Honor Role in 1991 and received an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York, Cortland College. Living in Northern Virginia with her husband and four children, Gibbs continues to serve as executive director of CCHW.

For more information on the lecture series or for a complete listing of fall cultural events at Salisbury State contact the SSU Public Relations Office at 410-543-6030.

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