Ironbound is home to a legacy of exploitation, beginning with the violent removal of the Lenape people and the marginalization of communities of color and poor people, followed by successive waves of industrialization and environmental destruction, to the creation of sacrifice port and logistical zones supporting the region’s consumption and waste habits.
In the 1920s, the Port Authority began a project of infill industrialization in the Ironbound. Former marshlands gave rise to the airport, seaport, garbage dumps and industrial base of the region. This concentration of pollution is the product of racism, settler colonialism, and the failure of democratic systems.
ICC is committed to intersectional, frontline-led, organizing and resistance strategies that hold the promise of well-being, liberation, and self-determination. ICC’s approach to environmental justice is focused on a Just Transition to a regenerative economy grounded in the Jemez Principles.
Our Point of View
Two of our graduate courses partnered with the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) who prioritized the environmental justice issues we addressed. Being in New York City, the main beneficiary of Newark’s waste and global goods infrastructure, we were mindful of the interlinked scales across physical, discursive, and imagined spaces. Students considered how they are complicit in the global flows of capital that create injustice in the Ironbound and how they can fight alongside groups like ICC for alternative futures.
—The New School
ICC’s mission is to engage and empower individuals, families, and groups to work together to create a just, vibrant, sustainable community. ICC is a community-based non-profit that has been a voice for environmental justice for 50 years in Newark, NJ. This project reflects a shared commitment to the Jemez Principles of letting the most impacted speak for themselves; working in solidarity and mutuality; and being committed to self-transformation and bottom-up work. This approach infuses the project to tell a story of past, present, and future articulations of all that is possible when frontline communities lead the way.
—Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC)