The Struggle for Basic Amenities in Mebane, North Carolina
The West End Revitalization Association (WERA) is a community-based organization located in Mebane, North Carolina. WERA focuses on addressing the lack of basic amenities and infrastructure in distressed African-American communities in Mebane and other areas in the Southeastern United States. To address residents’ civil rights and environmental justice concerns, WERA created an innovative research paradigm in 2000 called community-owned and managed research (COMR) which is the gold standard for community-driven public health research. WERA combines COMR with collaborative problem-solving (CPS) to empower low-income communities of color to produce scientific data and translate research into action. Dr. Wilson has worked with WERA to train community monitors to assess home and neighborhood infrastructure and to advocate for change. As a result, nearly 100 homes received first time installation of sewer and water infrastructure and neighborhood roads were paved for the first time. Read more about Dr. Wilson’s role in this partnership here. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Wilson has worked with Omega Wilson, WERA President, and other partners such as Dr. Chris Heaney at Johns Hopkins University to train other communities in the use of the COMR framework including REACH and the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA). In addition, Dr. Wilson and Omega have co-presented at workshops and seminars on COMR and citizen science. The two are collaborating on elevating environmental justice as a theme at the upcoming Citizen Science Association Conference that will be held in Raleigh in March 2019.
Wilson O. (2012). Are you getting the basic amenities your taxes paid for? U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice in Action Blog, 7 December.
Wilson O. (2011). Lack of basic amenities: indicators of health disparities in low-income minority communities and tribal areas. NC Med J 72(2):145-8.
Heaney C, Wilson S, Wilson O, Cooper J, Bumpass N, Snipes M. (2011). Use of community-owned and -managed research to assess the vulnerability of water and sewer services in marginalized and underserved environmental justice communities. J Environ Health 74(1):8-17.
Wilson, S. M., Heaney, C. D., & Wilson, O. (2010). Governance structures and the lack of basic amenities: can community engagement be effectively used to address environmental injustice in underserved Black communities?. Environmental Justice, 3(4), 125-133.
Wilson, O. R., Bumpass, N. G., Wilson, O. M., & Snipes, M. H. (2008). The West End Revitalization Association (WERA)'s right to basic amenities movement: Voice and language of ownership and management of public health solutions in Mebane, North Carolina. Progress in community health partnerships: research, education, and action, 2(3), 237-243.
Wilson, S. M., Heaney, C. D., Cooper, J., & Wilson, O. (2008). Built environment issues in unserved and underserved African-American neighborhoods in North Carolina. Environmental Justice, 1(2), 63-72.
Wilson, S. M., Wilson, O. R., Heaney, C. D., & Cooper, J. (2008). Community-driven environmental protection: Reducing the PAIN of the built environment in low-income African-American communities in North Carolina. Social Justice in Context, 3, 41.
Heaney CD, Wilson SM, Wilson OR. (2007). The West End Revitalization Association's community-owned and -managed research model: development, implementation, and action. Prog Community Health Partnerships 1(4):339-349.
Wilson SM, Wilson OR, Heaney CD, Cooper J. (2007). Use of EPA collaborative problem-solving model to obtain environmental justice in North Carolina. Prog Community Health Partnerships 1(4):327-337.