Environmental Racism in San Diego

Barrio Logan’s multicolor murals at Chicano Park tell the story of the Chicano struggle. The residents of this poorer neighborhood in San Diego fought for it back in the seventies, and they now consider it the umbilical chord of this community, where 20,000 Latinos live right next to the factories and shops of the city’s maritime industry. The residents of Barrio Logan say their higher-than-average asthma rates are due to the factories that have bordered the neighborhood. Some argue it’s a case of environmental racism against San Diego’s poorer Latinos. Barrio Logan got re-zoned by city authorities to make it fully residential, but the maritime industry has lobbied for a referendum that would overturn the ban. Sandhya Dirks reports on the dispute between workers and industry executives and the residents of Barrio Logan. 



UntitledSandhya Dirks covers city news and politics for radio, TV, and online as KPBS’ Metro reporter. She focuses not just on the political horserace, but on how policies affect people in the community. Prior to joining the KPBS Newsroom, Sandhya worked at Iowa Public Radio, where she covered the 2012 presidential campaign for that key state as well as state politics.





Photo courtesy of Sandhya Dirks

A Tree Grows in Watts

Urban grit and natural beauty exist side by side in a community garden in LA’s Jordan Downs Housing projects. Go on an audio tour of this garden as part of Latino USA’s Radio Nature series.

RadioNature is a year-long series that looks at how people of color connect with nature. Funding comes from the REI Foundation.

Click here to download this week’s show.

To see an audio slideshow, click below. You can make it full-screen to see it better:

Tena Rubio is an award-winning radio journalist based in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She’s a frequent contributor to NPR’s Latino USA and is the former host & executive producer of the nationally-syndicated show Making Contact. A former TV news writer and producer, she is currently a member of the board of directors for the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR).






Blair Wells is a Los Angeles-based photographer whose journey with camera-in-hand began in 2002, using throw-away Kodaks to visually articulate his experience living in Central L.A. His love of documentary photography has led him to capture the face and heart of social issues, including projects featuring post-Katrina New Orleans day-workers, the everyday moments of a Santa Barbara homeless family and health issues of kids living near the Port of Los Angeles. Blair has also organized participatory photography projects involving the deaf community, as well as teenagers with autism. His projects have given participants an opportunity to express themselves in new and profound ways. Through it all, the human condition — the struggles and successes of everyday people — remains the single most compelling subject of his work.








Leda Hartman remembers her mother, Sonia Carlota Garcia de Barnes. After her mother’s death in 2010, Leda carried her ashes home to Puerto Rico to place them under the flame-colored flowers of the Flamboyan tree her mother loved.

RadioNature is a year-long series that looks at how people of color connect with nature. Funding comes from the REI Foundation.

[audio:http://latinousa.org/audio/1214seg03.mp3]Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Leda Hartman

is a print and broadcast writer, reporter and editor. She is a longtime contributor to nationally broadcast public radio programs. Her work has aired on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Latino USA, Living on Earth, Studio 360, and The World and Voice of America.






Radio Nature is a year-long series that looks at how people of color connect with nature. Funding comes from the REI foundation.

The REI Foundation focuses on supporting efforts to get more young people, including youth from diverse populations, into nature. Through this work, The REI Foundation’s goal is to help inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and environmental stewards.