People for Community Recovery (PCR) was founded in June 1979 and was incorporated on October 25, 1982. Our initial mission was to press for serious and long overdue repair work in Altgeld Gardens, a Chicago Housing Authority development located on the South Side of Chicago. PCR soon turned its attention to the more serious problems of urban environmental pollution when it was discovered that the Southeast side of Chicago had the highest incidence of cancer of any area in the city.
PCR's founder and CEO, Hazel Johnson, made numerous calls around the country to educate herself regarding the cancer rate in her own community. Later, she connected with city and state health departments to investigate reports on environmental problems surrounding Altgeld Gardens, as well as information regarding industrial pollution.
Ms. Johnson dedicated years learning about urban environmental issues and networking with other environmental groups. After conducting her research, she learned that many waste disposal companies surrounded Altgeld Gardens as well as manufacturing companies that produced and emitted thousands of pounds of pollutants into the air, water, and land. PCR found that due to the heavy concentration of industry, low income residential communities on the Southeast side of Chicago were being exposed to substantial amounts of toxic chemicals that could be responsible for negative health impacts.
With these facts in mind, PCR, along with other residents from Altgeld Gardens, began to address the environmental problems within their community. For the past four decades, PCR has been applying pressure on "corporate polluters" and government officials to make them aware of their negligence. It is PCR's goal to make both corporations and the government accountable to the communities in which they operate.
Concurrently, PCR has continually been educating itself and the community about urban environmental issues and their relationship to industry. Through extensive research and partnerships, PCR has found a significant correlation among various industrial processes-- the byproducts of which pollute the air, land, and water--and the health status of urban minority communities. With perseverance, tenacity and dedication, PCR continues to be a positive force not only within the Altgeld Gardens community, but within the Environmental Justice movement at large.