On December 29, 1999, Diana Bazan
died of breast cancer. She was only 42. Several people at her services came up to the family to
talk about others Diana's age that lived on the Westside community too
that were dying or had
died of cancer. The family became concerned that perhaps Diana's death
and the deaths and
illnesses of others was due to the fact that they grew up sandwiched between old pre-regulation
dumpsites and decided to investigate.
Suzie Canales, one of Diana's
sisters, took the lead and placed
ads in the Thrifty Nickel and Adsack asking for anyone that grew up in
the area around Cunningham
Jr. High School and knew of anyone with cancer or who had died of cancer,
to please give CFEJ a
call. Then the group went door to door in the immediate vicinity of the
Westside community and
conducted an informal health survey.
Because CFEJ found a direct link to the oil industry
in their Westside community and because environmental
injustice issues are prevalent along refinery
row too, CFEJ environmental justice work focused
on refinery emissions and health impacts. The
group's mission was to work for environmental justice.