Eugene’s environmental groups are not necessarily known for reaching out into the Latino community, but Beyond Toxics is looking to change that. The group is organizing a series of forums, panels and discussions on how toxic pollution affects the West Eugene community that runs April 11-13. Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics says events will include the academic and the experiential. “It will be a trip into environmental justice from all different angles,” Arkin says.

The events run the gamut from an all-Spanish forum at the Iglesia Bautista Hispana to a panel at the UO’s John E. Jaqua Academic Learning Center (aka the big glass jock box). Beyond Toxics has been working with Centro LatinoAmericano, the EPA and other businesses and organizations to bring together a diversity of perspectives on toxics issues such as how pollution can disproportionately affect lower-income residents.

On April 11 Luis Olmedo, executive director of Comite Civico del Valle, a California group whose mission focuses on addressing environmental health related problems in the farmworker community, will speak at 6:30 pm at an event called Voces Unidas at Iglesia Bautista church, 1105 River Road.

Alison Guzman, environmental justice outreach coordinator for Beyond Toxics, says Olmedo’s “cutting edge approach to environmental justice is a bold model for our work in Eugene.”

Olmedo will next speak at the UO with Carleen Sisk of the Native American Winnemum Wintu and Ben Duncan, chair of Gov. Kitzhaber’s Environmental Justice Task Force on April 12. Arkin will moderate the panel, which begins at 7 pm at the Jaqua Center and is free and open to the public.

An environmental justice bus tour April 13 — a tradition in other areas but a first for Oregon, Arkin says — will be followed by neighborhood community forum at 1:30 pm at Cascade Middle School. Seating is limited for this event and it requires an RSVP by April 9.

For more information on the events call Guzman at 465-8860. Para obtener más información sobre Voces Unidas, llame al Centro LatinoAmericano 687-2667, pregunte por Alison.