A Good Neighbor
A Good Neighbor is a feature-length documentary about Lucy Molina, a Latina single mother fighting against racism and climate change as she campaigns for city council in one of the nation’s most polluted ZIP codes. The film begins with Lucy in the car, giving one of her famous “Toxic Tours” of the 80216 zip code - named the most polluted zip code in America in 2018. As she drives by factories, highways, and the looming oil refinery - she speaks tearfully and candidly about her children’s illnesses. “I moved here because of that park for my kids” she says at one point, “I didn’t realize I was killing them.” Lucy’s family health struggles - leukemia, brain cancer, migraines, bloody noses, diabetes - combined with inaction from her local government, motivated her to run for city council. The film follows Lucy’s campaign, using community events and campaign speeches as jumping off points to discuss larger issues such as racism, sacrifice zones, climate policy, health bias, and just transition.
A Good Neighbor culminates in a nail-biting finale as Lucy’s family and friends gather on election night to see the results. But whether she wins or not, Lucy's intimate story highlights a global need for change, and creates empathy by putting a face to the realities of marginalized communities like Commerce City, Colorado.
Zampella, Brittany (film director)
Zampella, Brittany (film producer)
Hartmans, Maggie (film director)
Molina, Lucy (on-screen participant)
Cinematography and editing, Maggie Hartmans, Cam Hartmans; music, Khris Clymer.
A Good Neighbor - Transcript
Young Girl [00:00:03] I also want to give a special thanks to Lucy Molina, who is a leader in the community for better and cleaner air.
Quinn Antus [00:00:11] I love Lucy because she is a firecracker.
Lucy Molina [00:00:15] Hey, neighbor, did you vote already? Ti voto?
Rosie Gonzalez [00:00:18] An outgoing, vivacious, charismatic, passionate woman who puts her 100% into everything that she does.
Ean Tafoya [00:00:26] Lucy has more tenacity than almost anyone I know. And she ain't afraid.
Lisa Calderon [00:00:29] She is a fighter. She embodies the love of her community.
Lucy Molina [00:00:34] [Speaking Spanish] I go say hi to you. I got something to give you, baby.
Ean Tafoya [00:00:41] What I love about her, she's always inviting people in to feed them. And not just such a cultural piece for us Latinos for sure.
Lucy Molina [00:00:49] Did you have the potato tacos?
Maryah Lauer [00:00:50] Yes, I had, like, four.
Lucy Molina [00:00:52] Oh, okay, good.
Lisa Calderon [00:00:54] She really does make you feel like family.
Lucy Molina [00:01:11] I got my coffee. You guys got water? Anything you need? I'm really humbled actually. I can't believe you guys chose me.
Brittany Zampella [00:01:23] We can't believe we found you.
Lucy Molina [00:01:27] Bless your soul. I do have to wear my glasses to drive. See my kids were getting migraines and bloody noses. I was getting in trouble with school because the kids were missing a lot of school. They sent a caseworker. You know, it was very invasive and intrusive because, you know, I'm a Latina mom, I'm a Mexican, you know, Mexicana and I'm very proud. So we have a lot of pride. And that was kind of like, am I a bad mom? I felt attacked by my own government, using my school district to come at me, take me to court because my kids are missing school, because they think I'm abusing my kids, because I'm, they're having bloody noses and my daughter didn't want to go to school. I mean, I literally chased my daughter in front of the school. I mean, of course that looked pretty bad. But I didn't understand that my daughter was sick. Having to get up in the middle of the night to take my kids to the hospital. You know, all those surgeries, all these like little things that I'm like, wait a minute. Why are we so sick?
Juan Madrid [00:02:44] We were looking at health equity and we're looking at bias within the health profession. So then you get somebody like Lucy who takes their kid in and takes their kid in and the E.R. physician or the family physician says, "Okay, this patient is continually coming in for respiratory issues." And we go through our set of questions, "Is there smoking in the home? Is there this? Is there this? Is there this? Check, check, check. Okay. You need to decrease smoking in the home. You need to decrease these." But they're not thinking, "What's your zip code?"
Lucy Molina [00:03:19] 80216. It's one of the most polluted area codes in the nation. That includes Globeville, Swansea and a little bit of North Denver. It's like a little Bermuda Triangle, kind of like, sorry to say like that, you know, because you see how it is like the Suncor, Excel Energy and then we have the Waste Management and then they have the highway right here and then we have the Purina factory. All that contamination is like trapped here.
Ean Tafoya [00:03:56] Commerce City is a suburb just north of Denver that is along a border that is covered with environmental injustice and industrial pollution.
Rebecca Curry [00:04:07] It's the highway, it's the wastewater treatment plant, it's the food production factories. There's, you know, bottling companies. There's, you know, chip and pretzel manufacturing companies that might not be polluting air, but they're major distribution hubs.
Juan Madrid [00:04:24] I-70 cuts across there, 270 cuts across, whether it's Amazon coming on the big diesel truck or UPS is going in and out of neighborhoods and where are their warehouses? In Commerce City. That's the number one pollutant there is that pm2.5, tailpipe emissions, big rig trucks.
Lucy Molina [00:04:59] So this is, uh, Brighton Boulevard and I call it Suncor Road. I call it Suncor Road. So, yeah, this is our backyard. This is the only refinery we have in the state of Colorado. So this is, we live under the shadows of this billionaire industry, and this is like our contaminated waters and contaminated lands.
Juan Madrid [00:05:34] They're taking the oil, turning it into gasoline, shipping that off. In that process of doing all of that, we know there's benzene. Benzene's responsible for leukemias and other cancers. We know there's hydrogen cyanide. We know there's formaldehyde that is released. The health effects from those, within hours of being contaminated, you can have vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness. We know there's that direct exposure to the mucous membranes, so the eyes, inside of the nose, or if you're breathing it in, it can cause tissue injury and irritation. You can have convulsions, you can have rapid or irregular heart rate and death at very high levels. So that's why OSHA regulates what those workers do and where when they're working in and around the plant. Yet when those go up in plumes and go out, they're going out in the community, and community doesn't have those protections. They're not walking around with a micron filtered mask that will filter out those known carcinogens. They're breathing that in. They're going to school with headaches, bloody noses, that accumulated impact.
Lucy Molina [00:06:58] And not only Suncor. I mean, we have the Xcel Energy over there. I mean, that's why I always say this is like an environmental vomit, right? We have no drinking water. The air stinks. Our air is polluted. Our soil is polluted. You guys, there's a school. Like, who chose to put this industry next to a damn school?
Juan Madrid [00:07:31] And there were a host of issues with the high school, you know, grades, testing scores. And they looked at truancy or absences or missed days. But again, not making the connection to exposure to contaminants which cause respiratory diseases. Adams County alone was looking at 775 missed days of school.
Lucy Molina [00:08:06] Okay, that's my my daughter's school. This is the school that went on shutdown when, when Suncor blew it.
News Reporter [00:08:14] Developing tonight, people living in Commerce City want answers after thick yellow smoke billowed out of the Suncor energy refinery yesterday.
News Reporter [00:08:22] Raining down a clay like substance on cars and homes nearby...
News Reporter [00:08:25] Triggering two schools to prompt a lockout.
News Reporter [00:08:28] Parents like Lucy, her daughter, an eighth grader, attends Adams City Middle School, one of two schools that went into lockdown mode on Wednesday when particles began raining.
Lucy Molina [00:08:38] It was chaos for the moms. The moms were scared. There was a lot of Spanish speaking moms like asking me because I speak English. They're like Lucy, in Spanish, [Speaking Spanish], you know, ask what's going on. When do I get my child out? We thought, like, is there a shooter? Right? Is there someone shooting? Like you think the worst.
News Reporter [00:08:58] They called it non-hazardous, adding that anyone who made contact should wash their hands and clothing.
Lucy Molina [00:09:05] My aunt, she's like, her eyes were swollen for a week. My mom was also complaining that her eyes were swollen for a week. People were having chest pains.
Juan Madrid [00:09:23] What mechanisms were put in place to monitor community? None were put in. What was offered to the community was free car washes.
Lucy Molina [00:09:32] It's not like it was the first time. You know, we've known that for years. It's just that they were caught. What did they offer us? A car wash. You guys, a damn car wash. If that's not an insult to this community.
Juan Madrid [00:09:50] So now we're taking the gas form that came down and converted from that gaseous state to a powder, settled on our vehicles. And then we went to the car wash and washed all of that onto the drainage system to then go into the river. Right? So then we have a contaminated river.
Rebecca Curry [00:10:09] Sand Creek is a water system where there are some drinking water systems that draw from that body of water. Also have to remind ourselves that Colorado''s a head water state. So whatever we're putting into the water here is traveling all the way through, through many other states down to the Mississippis.
Juan Madrid [00:10:34] When we talk about those industrial areas, we're talking about large amounts of water to cool equipment, cool processes, and then that water picks up that contamination. One of those byproducts from those processes is PFAS is ending up in the river, in the drainage.
Rebecca Curry [00:10:58] PFAS are incredibly persistent in our environment and have a host of human health impacts things like thyroid issues all the way up to infertility, cancers.
Lucy Molina [00:11:10] Well, you know, right now, sadly, I just found out that I was positive for PFAS, the Forever Chemicals. They just recently, a few weeks ago, I had my my, my blood tested and it was three of us, a firefighter, a cancer survivor and myself. And it says that it's forever chemicals, meaning it's not going to ever break down from my body. So then my future looks bleak sometimes. You know, cancer is in the radar. Leukemia is in the radar. And that's really the reality, not only for me, I think it's for most of us here in Commerce City and and and in neighborhoods and communities like mine throughout the nation, not just here. It's scary. It's really scary. To see that my children might not have a future because of the greed and the ignorance and the lack of awareness.
Lucy Molina [00:12:10] And then one of the reasons I moved here was like, my kids, that park right behind, I was like, oh, that's so awesome there's, my kids are gonna have a park right behind, right behind them and I didn't know I was actually killing them. You know, like now my son was having bloody noses, my daughter has the migraines and and my mom got sick on me and I got sick. We're going down with the ship, right? We're going down with the ship.
News Reporter [00:12:58] As the company investigates, the state says it does not believe there's an ongoing risk to the community.
Lucy Molina [00:13:09] It's okay. It's normal here. It's normal. It's okay. It's normal here. That's environmental racism, environmental injustice. Because then we normalize it. We make it. "Oh, it's okay. My mom had a bloody noses. My grandma used to have a bloody noses, my son has bloody noses too now. It's normal here. It's okay." No it's not, No it's not okay. It's, it's not okay to have bloody noses all your life, to have migraines all your life and not be able to focus at work, not be able to, to have a normal life. Not normal.
Lucy Molina [00:14:00] I was told that it was genetic by one of my representatives. My ward representative, when I asked him a few years ago, what was he gonna do about this? He's like, "You know what? There's nothing we can do." Then that to me was like, okay, then I need to be an elected official in order to be able to do something like, you know, write bills, to make changes to policy and all this stuff.
Lucy Molina [00:14:25] Hola, my name is Lucy Molina, and I'm running for City Council At-Large.
Lucy Molina [00:14:35] We are live. Hola, Hola. Aqui estamos, aqui estamos. And there we go. There you go. There's my mama. Yes. Aqui estamos today con mi amiga Lisa Calderon de Emerge Colorado. So gracias bienvenida a Commerce Cirty, Lisa.
Lisa Calderon [00:14:57] Emerge Colorado is part of a national organization. And we recruit, train and get women elected to public office.
Lucy Molina [00:15:07] She ran for mayor of Denver against Hancock. When you know, when I saw Lisa and Candi DdeCaca running, I was like, hey, there's women like me doing this. Oh, I got chills.
[00:15:23] I'm Lucy Molina. I'm running for Ward one here in Commerce City. And I got to do, with Rosie that's right there holding the camera. She's my girl, my sister, my treasure, my girl, my everything. She, we got to do the boot camp a couple of years ago in 2019.
Rosie Gonzalez [00:15:42] She calls me up and she's like, "You know, Rosie, you want to come with me to this Democratic convention or something like that?" And I was like, "Sure, let's go." She's like, "It's in Grand Junction." And I'm like, "Yes, road trip, you know?"
Lucy Molina [00:15:57] The, I went to trainings in Grand Junction with like I like my brother gave me $100 for gas. I borrowed my mom's car. We decided we were going to sleep in the car. It was raining, pouring rain in Grand Junction that year. I was like, Oh my God, I don't know how I'm going to do this. I'm like, I can't have you sleep in the car. Like she goes, It's okay, girl. We'll sleep in the car. I called my brother. I was like, "You know, I have the company card. Is it okay if I rent a room?" You know, I was like, very proud because my family didn't want me to run. My brother and they're like the same people, I had to humble myself to ask them for money just to do it. Like I didn't know what to do. I was like, I felt embarrassed. I rented a room at La Quinta Inn, and we're like, well, we were going to sleep in the car and we ended up getting a really nice hotel room. And my brother, he was like, he's like, "Okay, just be quiet." He goes, he goes, "Are you safe?" Yes. "Did you sleep comfortable?" Yes, he goes, "That's all that matters sister that you're okay and your safe." And that just really moved my heart that like at least he, you know that, I'm such a crybaby you guys, I'm sorry I get so emotional. That my family still even they didn't support me running for office. They still help me.
Lisa Calderon [00:17:22] One of the most difficult parts of my job is knowing how hard it is. For women of color to run for office. I mean, wrenchingly hard.
Lucy Molina [00:17:38] I ran in 2019. I did - lost you know, I lost by 150 votes. That encouraged me. I was like 150 votes. That means that if I would have had more money, more time, and I would have hit more doors, I would have had those 150 votes like this. I'm like, because I, I missed like 5,000 houses because I had no time or money. I had no car. Imagine that! I'm running a campaign and I have no car. So my volunteers were driving Miss Lucy.
Lucy Molina [00:18:07] Of these um, I have a box of literature from from from my last campaign. And, you know, we need to recycle, right? It's important to recycle. So we're gonna um just, you know, edit move the "at large part" and November 5th turns into November 2nd. And at large, is actually now City Council Ward one because I'm running for my ward, which is the the most polluted ward in probably in the whole state of Colorado.
Lucy Molina [00:18:44] My thoughts about a politician was like ew, I don't want to be a politician. But then I realized, like there's a difference between a politician and a public servant. I realized I've been a public servant all my life.
Lucy Molina [00:18:57] Hey, guys. Sorry to bug you guys. It's that time of the year. We get to ask for your vote, y'all. We need your vote.
Kristi Douglas [00:19:04] And I'm running at large. Lucy is running in your ward, So she's you're representative.
Lucy Molina [00:19:08] I'm one of us, bro.
Lisa Calderon [00:19:10] For women, we often don't think we can be political candidates, especially for women of color. Like, we're not groomed for public office, usually from, you know, childhood. We don't necessarily have those mentors who are like, "Watch me create a bill and get it passed." But what we do have is our communities, our families. And that's really, for me, where organizing starts.
Lucy Molina [00:19:45] So then Kristi Douglas, Reneé Chacon and myself are running together for council.
Reneé Chacon [00:19:53] I'm not a politician. I'm a community organizer. I come from a long line of community organizers, my husband's family's community organizers. And both of us grew up in the indigenous communities here to the point that we already know that Colorado has a bad history of erasing us through different forms and different policies and to have to provide representation for our very survival. So be it. But if that means that my kids are not going to have to do the same fight that I have to do, that my mother has to do still to this day, then I guess that's what it has to be. So that's why I personally run. And it's women like you Lucy that have honestly, I admire because I know how every barrier is before you and it never deters you. And that type of [Speaking Spanish] is really what gets.
Lucy Molina [00:20:42] Thank you mija.
Kristi Douglas [00:20:45] Wow, I always have to follow you magnificent women and it's like it leaves me speechless every time. So it's like, Oh my goodness. What, what I'm going to say that hasn't already been said. My name's Kristi Douglas, and I am running for Commerce City at-large which is the whole city, it's my city. It's my family, it's my Commerce City family. And that's why I'm running.
Lucy Molina [00:21:15] They're filming already. Did you bring the signs? Oh you did! This is my Kristi Douglas, one of my mentors.
Lucy Molina [00:21:26] Generally in our community, we are not very much encouraged to pursue a political career. You know, culturally, you know, it's a man's thing or it's a white man's job to do, you know what I mean? To be in the political realm. And that was my thought. Like, what? What am I going to do running for office? That's, like what? Who? Me? No. I get food stamps. I'm like, What do you mean? Like I'm on Medicaid. You know, I live next to Suncor. I live in one of the poorest communities in the state of Colorado. And her mind was like, So? That's exactly why we need you to run.
Quinn Antus [00:22:00] I think there's a lot of emphasis on what happens federally and for good reason. The territory that is impacted by federal regulation and policy is significant, but federal policy and regulation is in large part driven by what we can accomplish on a state level, which is driven by local communities. For areas like Commerce City, especially with an issue where enough of the state doesn't know what's going on, isn't paying attention, Commerce City, their local election is incredibly important, their local government is really important because they have resources, they have levers that a lot of citizens don't have access to. They have levers that they can pull to address the issues that their community is facing.
Lucy Molina [00:22:46] Vote por Lucy Molina.
Lucy Molina [00:22:48] I say now if we want to represent at any level, it's not enough to just get a seat at the table anymore. It's time for us to flip the table. We cannot just get a seat at the table. It's time to flip that over.
Brittany Zampella [00:23:02] If you get a elected, or let's say, when you get elected,
Lucy Molina [00:23:05] When I get elected.
Brittany Zampella [00:23:07] When you get elected, what will you be able to change? What specific solutions are you proposing that you're really going to get behind as a city councilwoman?
Lucy Molina [00:23:14] Well, when I get elected, that's correct. You know, like I mentioned, there's so much work to do. It wouldn't be fair me knowing the things I know now and walk away, leaving my neighbors like this. At least I can let them know what's going on. Let them know that that you know, these these things that we smell every day and every night and every morning, it's actually, that's what's making us sick.
Lucy Molina [00:23:51] Okay, let's do this. Let's do this. I got my water, my mask, my lit.
Brittany Zampella [00:23:58] What would you say is your campaign strategy?
Lucy Molina [00:24:02] It's talking to people, girl. Doing the grunt work, talking to people, going door to door.
Kristi Douglas [00:24:08] Hi, I'm Kristi Douglas, and I'm with Lucy.
Lucy Molina [00:24:11] We're together and we're running for council, and we're seeking for your support.
Lucy Molina [00:24:16] Doing the work really is understanding the needs of our community again, is really talking to our community, talking to the people and to my neighbors and find out what are their needs.
Lucy Molina [00:24:27] These are my neighbors, these are my neighbors, and this is why I'm running. I mean.
Kristi Douglas [00:24:33] This is why you're running.
Lucy Molina [00:24:35] Who's representing them? Right?
Lucy Molina [00:24:37] This is my girl here. We're like, we're the people that took care of each other the last, during the pandemic.
Neighbor [00:24:42] Yup.
Lucy Molina [00:24:43] Because nobody came to save us, huh? We saved each other. Yeah. No, nobody came in and said nothing. We just kind of took care of each other because.
Neighbor [00:24:49] And they're still not taking care of us.
Lucy Molina [00:24:51] Yeah. And that's why I'm running.
Lucy Molina [00:24:53] Because not necessarily my needs are the same as theirs, right? I see things at a broader level when I talk about the environmental issues and the education, but surely there's, you know, maybe other smaller issues that might impact my neighbors that I don't know about. So it's really talking to them. Not even, I gotta think of myself always like, what would I, you know, what would I like to see some of my local councils do right now?
Band [00:25:22] I feel like shuttin' it down. Feel like shuttin' it down. Suncor! I feel like shuttin' it down. Feel like shuttin' it down.
Lucy Molina [00:25:33] I feel like shuttin' it down.
Ean Tafoya [00:25:44] We're here today fighting for clean air and clean water for our people and we're celebrating while we're doing it.
Lucy Molina [00:25:54] Eco Fiesta is the first annual event educating the community about the environmental impacts, the uh the injustices that we are going through here in Commerce City.
Reneé Chacon [00:26:07] I'm very grateful for all of you. Today, we offer a land acknowledgment. We live on the land of the Ute, the Cheyenne, the Arapaho, the Kiowa, the Lakota, the Comanche, the Chicano tribe and 48 tribes that still live, travel and try to fight to have a good quality of life still on these lands and for these sources of life. I ask you to remember that and honor that because land acknowledgment is just the beginning. We honestly need to now include where everything has been erased for all of us. So please do that with your heart and in a good way.
Ean Tafoya [00:26:44] I want you to know that Suncor has problems with benzene and hydrogen cyanide, and it is in the water. And is it in the air. And we need to fight against their permits for the air and for the water.
Ean Tafoya [00:27:05] The way the system is set up with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency is to allow them to pollute up to a certain limit.
Rebecca Curry [00:27:16] When we think about a permit, really what it is is it's a document, it's an agreement that permits pollution. There are serious flaws with permitting.
Ean Tafoya [00:27:29] Deny!
Crowd [00:27:29] The permit!
Ean Tafoya [00:27:31] Deny!
Crowd [00:27:31] The permit!
Ean Tafoya [00:27:33] Deny!
Quinn Antus [00:27:34] And you think, well, at least it's, at least there are permits, at least somebody's keeping an eye to make sure, that, that we don't go over a certain threshold. That's not what's happening in reality. What's happening is that organizations, Suncor included, are just applying for more permits to pollute, and they're facing a startling lack of opposition.
Lucy Molina [00:28:01] They're giving out permits like Halloween candy, right. And they're telling the government, let us throw more of it into these communities and our government is allowing it, has allowed it for years.
Quinn Antus [00:28:13] And the the amount of pollution that's in these permits is unbelievable.
Rebecca Curry [00:28:37] They've told us, you know, a list of 188 pollutants that are toxic, but they have not set standards for those. They have not essentially said what what the goal level in the area is, what the allowable amount in the air of these toxics can be. And that that means that when we're issuing permits, when we're kind of figuring out the amount the facilities can put into the air, we don't really have a benchmark that we're trying to meet. And that's been a problem in Commerce City, where you have hundreds of facilities, you could have hundreds of facilities that are following the best practices, but there's still too much of a toxic in the air.
CDPHE Rep [00:29:20] Thank you, John. And thank you all for coming here. So we do have an extensive air monitoring network across the metro area and a number of monitors in the area around the refinery. While we occasionally see some elevated levels, we haven't seen any levels recently that would cause concern from a public health perspective in the area right around the refinery. That doesn't mean that more investigation really isn't necessary or that more investigation isn't necessary. We need to investigate more, but we haven't seen any levels that at this point we would consider alarming from a public health perspective.
Ean Tafoya [00:30:01] I do believe that there is an idea that there's a safe amount of pollution that is qualified by the government, but I don't think that that's taking in any sort of understanding of cumulative pollution.
Rebecca Curry [00:30:12] These permits are happening very much in silos, so each facility is looked at by itself and has its own process for figuring out its emissions limits. But we need to do more to look at the cumulative impact of all of these individual air permits. And we haven't been doing that. We haven't been saying the goal is for, you know, a person in the community to have healthy air. We have been just, you know, implementing the minimum of the law, you know, following the law to its minimum in Colorado. And we need to be shifting our mindset.
Ean Tafoya [00:30:54] I would say there hasn't been accountability and a lot of the smaller polluters, smaller businesses have been able to skirt by as companies like Suncor have taken the heat, which justifiably they should. They continue to have incidents and issues. We just released a report. We identified more than 183 facilities with some sort of violation of the environmental protection laws, at least 94 that have current violations, several dozen of them that have had violations for 12 of the last 12 quarters. So for an entire straight three years. There's also the sense of long term exposure in even small amounts and what those can do to you.
Juan Madrid [00:31:33] We're just starting to scratch the surface and understand the prolonged effects of exposure. And so there was a report done that there was a 6.8% increase in mortality, even below current U.S. National Ambient Air Quality standards. And I don't think we can see that loud enough or often enough to our policymakers and our legislators and regulators because they're not hearing it.
Rebecca Curry [00:32:09] There's no safe level of a toxic.
CDPHE Rep [00:32:22] I think the message that it sends to Suncor is that they need to come into compliance and they need to reset their relationship with the community to really improve their environmental performance and build those bridges. We need to work together to address the disproportionate health impacts and other impacts in these communities.
Lucy Molina [00:32:42] They were fined $9 million right? Through that, you know, we were able to bring $2.6 million to the to the community to bring education and their air monitoring. Right. And it's a start. But guess what? It's pocket change. Right?
Ean Tafoya [00:33:00] Where we see real problems is it becomes a cost of doing business for them to violate the rights of the people in those communities. Because millions of dollars when you're producing billions, it doesn't make a difference really to those companies, or at least it seems that way because their behavior doesn't change.
Rebecca Curry [00:33:19] They bill themselves as this good neighbor. They're your local friendly gas producer. They fund the Boys and Girls Club.
Ean Tafoya [00:33:27] Like Lucy Molina says, "Justice isn't charity." You don't get to harm the community, come in through some sort of settlement, put your name on something and say you're doing good for the community. You were mandated to do that. And in some ways it continues to be injustice because they pay to play, to pollute in our communities.
Lucy Molina [00:33:46] None of that's gonna take the cancers away. They're not going to take the people that already died like my grandmother, the leukemia. They're not going to bring my grandma back. Not millions of dollars, not a park. You know, these little Band-Aids, I call them Band-Aids. That is not going to bring my family back and all the pain and suffering that they already went through, all the chemo, radiation, all the loss that we've already dealt with. You know what I mean? All the work, all the school loss. Nobody's going to give that back to us.
Lucy Molina [00:34:29] The wealth of this community is in its people, not in those industries that are killing us. I don't think our government sees the value of our our children, of our communities and our, the future. Like I see the future. I see like, wow, I see kids that are bilingual, I see kids that are, they're resilient. They've grown up with so much, go to school every day, and after school they go to work to take care of their familias, right? That's the kind of people that we have here. And these children are our future. Why can't we protect them? That's not, those are my children. Those are my kids. That's my son and my daughter and my neighbors, my niece and my nephews.
Elijah Molina [00:35:10] One day, one day when I'm president, I will protect the earth so nobody can get sick and die. I know I'm just a kid but please stop poisoning my community. We love the earth. Please take care of it. God bless you and thank you.
Lucy Molina [00:35:33] Our brown and black children, our poor kids, our low income kids are not worth it. That's what it is. That's why Commerce City and all this area is a sacrifice zone for us. They'd just rather bank that it's not worth it. That's, that's my kids they're talking about there, you know?
Quinn Antus [00:36:07] There was a study done a while ago, a couple of decades ago, that showed that the number one indicator of where a toxic waste site was going to be placed was the race of that community.
Rebecca Curry [00:36:29] And we know that these facilities are throughout our community, but certainly much more concentrated and focused in north Denver, where the cumulative impacts are the greatest. You know, North Denver has some of the highest environmental indicators on our, on the EJ screen tool, the environmental justice screening tool, of any location in the state.
Ean Tafoya [00:37:02] There's a historical narrative to where affordable housing is and racism is a part of that. And if you look, Latino and indigenous women, they are the ones that are making the least. And so when you're in a single family household and where you end up living, it's definitely impacted by that. And so if you look at where the greatest facilities for energy production, whether that be coal or gas, Latino communities, if you look at where highway expansions are taking place, Latino communities. Now, we're not exclusive, right? There are certainly highways that bisect many communities. But if you look at the sheer number of people like Commerce City who are impacted by many point source emissions, more than 184 polluters alone who've had violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA which is for soil pollution, just in the last three years, 50,000 people live near there and a great majority of them are Latino.
Lucy Molina [00:37:54] This is our little humble hood, you know, and a lot of people's like, "Why don't we just move?" Well we can't afford to move, one. We end up in places like Commerce City because they push us out of these gentrified areas and we move up where it's cheaper to live.
Quinn Antus [00:38:10] This community has been saddled with the burden of Denver's economic growth. In order for us to fuel the economic growth and expansion in a manner that has been unsustainable, not good for the planet, Commerce City has been the community that has paid that cost, and honestly, they've paid it involuntarily.
Lucy Molina [00:38:32] We're the the hood right here. We're the poor side of town. We're the south. We have no legal representation. We have no representatives that have the economic power to defend us. After 100 years of environmental racism and environmental injustices, this community's is fed up, we're done.
Lucy Molina [00:38:54] I want you to see the diversity, how we have come together as a community. Now you can see that we have no color because I left, I left three like almost, what, four years ago by myself. I went to knock on doors by myself. I was humiliated. I was told that it was a genetic situation by my local representatives that they were, there was nothing they can do. I left by myself and all these people behind me, and all of you guys came back with me to represent. Because I'm not alone. No estoy sola. I want to let my leaders know that. I want to let all the polluters know that. That I'm not alone anymore. Okay? No estoy sola.
Lucy Molina [00:39:50] Hey, this is Lucy. I'm your neighbor from Commerce, I'm just calling to make sure you got your ballot in today. I'm running for Ward One. Yeah, here in Commerce City. No, I'm just calling to make sure you guys got your ballot in. I'm your neighbor. I'm Lucy Molina, running for Ward One. And, you know, it's that time, I get to bug y'all. They already voted. Good job. This is my neighbors. Oh, yay, you my hero. You my hero, sir. Thank you, Mr. Wolf. I'm fucking proud of my neighbors. I'm fucking proud of them.
Lucy Molina [00:40:28] Hey, neighbor. Did you vote already? Ti voto?
Neighbor [00:40:33] Yeah. Where do I send it?
Lucy Molina [00:40:35] Oh, girl. It's right here. The social service office.
Lucy Molina [00:40:39] And I hope you guys supported me.
Neighbor [00:40:41] Haha, we did.
Lucy Molina [00:40:41] Oh my God. You hear that? You hear that, guys? Thank you, Mr. Mores. This is my crew.
Lucy Molina [00:40:47] I hope I can count on your support today.
Neighbor [00:40:50] Yes, I will go do that now.
Lucy Molina [00:40:52] Yay! Thank you, my neighbor. And thank you. This is what I'm talking about. My neighbors, we woke huh sister? We woke. I know that's right.
Lucy Molina [00:40:59] They voted for me. You see, oh God you know, yeah, we, I've been hitting these doors for so many years. It feels really good to see that my neighbors are responding. You know, they, like, hard work pays off. You know what I mean? Because it's been years of knocking these doors. Not for me, but for them.
Lucy Molina [00:41:35] My backpack, my Bible, my Bible, I need my Bible. So, yeah, we're going to church because God before men, God before men. And yeah, let's go see and really at the end of the day, it's whatever God's will it is, it is because this is how we're gonna be. We need to get blessed.
Lizeth Chacon [00:42:05] It's early. It's not all the ballots yet. There's still like, the night is young. This is for more Lucy Molina. I don't know. I think we'll have a better idea by nine, 9 p.m. or so. But it's just, it's a waiting game right now.
Kristi Douglas [00:42:31] Lucy's in third place.
Rosie Gonzalez [00:42:33] Might be just, they're, I'm sure they're just slow in counting, honestly.
Jarrett Dias [00:42:36] Oh, yeah.
Rosie Gonzalez [00:42:40] Worst case scenario, we come back again, a couple of years, and we're gonna be even better.
Lucy Molina [00:42:50] There we go. Let's go. So they're going to meet us there. Yeah, I don't have anything here. Thank you, guys. Oh. See what happens. I got butterflies. Well, I'm glad I came to church. At least it relaxed my spirit a little bit. It's cold. Let's see how it's going. Yeah. I got butterflies. I got butterflies. Oh, my God. Oh. Results. Lisa Smith. City, Aurora. Brighton. Brighton. Commerce City, ward One - Madera. He. He won. Yup. Oh well.
Lucy Molina [00:43:54] Kristi, Kristi Douglas. Kristi won. Kristi got in. Yeah, I didn't, nope I didn't make it. Oh, well.
Lucy Molina [00:44:19] I was not surprised at all.
Omar Sandoval [00:44:23] Yeah, Oscar got a lot.
Lucy Molina [00:44:25] 371 votes. Well, he had a lot of money to do it.
Lucy Molina [00:44:29] We lack representation and resources. And which is, I ran to represent. But I lacked the resources. And I feel, I was not surprised. I was disappointed, of course. All my staff, all my campaign team was crying. They were, because they worked so hard. And I feel like, you know, we did everything right. We just didn't have enough resources to reach more.
Lucy Molina [00:45:17] We have to vote local. We have to vote. We just we we have to vote. There's no, no excuses. Someone's like, "Oh our vote doesn't count or it doesn't matter if I vote or not." In a local election, it does.
Ean Tafoya [00:45:31] If you look at the majority of the undervoting that occurs across Colorado and across the country, it is in these environmental injustice communities where they feel like their voice has been powerless, that you see the lowest voter turnouts. Which means seven more people knocking doors for four more hours could be the difference. I mean, shoot, Lucy lost by hardly any. Our friend Renee lost, by hardly any.
Quinn Antus [00:45:57] Climate change is interesting because a lot of people know it's really important, but it's not driving voting decisions at this time. It's not one of people's key issues that they're using to evaluate candidates. I would say if anyone's looking to get involved with these issues in a substantive way, it starts with voting in all of your elections, with understanding where candidates, where officers, where decision makers at really every level stand on on climate change and environmental justice. And we need to make sure that they know that their community is passionate about this.
Lucy Molina [00:46:37] All I tell people, you know, don't wait for me. Don't wait for me or someone like me to go fight for you. If you know better then do better now. You know, you could be the next leader that might make it on council, you know. And if you don't make it the first time, then continue trying. Continue fighting and continue trying because, hey, you know what I mean? We don't have nothing to lose.
Ean Tafoya [00:47:09] The only way, and this is what I tell everybody, the only way you win is by doing the work. There's no magic Facebook post or Google ad or you mail to a certain amount of people. You gotta do the work. You gotta convince people that it's worth it. And I think the climate crisis is so in people's face that more and more people are coming to the table to do the work.
Lucy Molina [00:47:32] We have a lot of parties, right? Sometimes we get out of hand. You know, they put the music, the bandas getting down at 3:00 in the morning. The neighbors like, Knock, knock, "Hey you, can you guys turn it down?" And the neighbor turns it up. I mean, what kind of neighbor is that? This is what they're doing. Every time they have an opportunity, they want to pollute more. They want to kill us some more. That's not a good neighbor. You know, a good neighbor's like, "Okay, I hear you. I'ma turn it down or I'ma just turn it off." Turn it off. That's why I call this place the future hanging gardens of Commerce City because we have to transition. We have no choice to transition into the future because of the climate crisis we're facing. The world is shifting.
Rebecca Curry [00:48:18] As long as we continue to see this as a, you know, "That's not in my neighborhood. That might be North Denver's problem, but that's not my problem." We have to question that. And we have to, you know, continue to push for alternatives. You know, we know that we are moving away from from gasoline. We are moving towards alternatives. We're moving towards things that are healthier for our communities. And, you know, it should not only be Commerce City, North Denver, that's speaking up. We all have to speak up and push for for the future for us to move on to a different status quo.
Quinn Antus [00:48:55] We are in the middle of the most significant infrastructural economic social transition arguably in history, and we have unprecedented opportunity to redraw the lines of our society so that they are just, so that they are equitable, so that they are, they are supportive and beneficial to everyone. There is, there is a world, and I believe it is not far off, where we can stand in the middle of the busiest, most prosperous cities and breathe clean air. That hope isn't just for the communities that haven't seen what's going on in places like Commerce City. I think that hope is strongest for places like Commerce City, and it's gonna be really hard. It's gonna be really hard to to undo some of the atrocities that have been forced upon those communities. But the hope is real and we have to keep fighting for it.
Lucy Molina [00:49:55] And I will be running again in 2023 because, again, I have no choice. I'm down and, you know, I'm gonna continue fighting for climate justice, for the right things.
City Council Official [00:50:46] I will faithfully perform the duties of the office.
Reneé Chacon [00:50:49] I will faithfully perform the duties of office.
City Council Official [00:50:51] Of Councilmember Ward three of the City of Commerce City, Colorado.
Reneé Chacon [00:50:55] Of Councilmember Ward three of the City of Commerce City, Colorado.
City Council Official [00:50:57] Congratulations.
Reneé Chacon [00:50:58] Thank you.
Olga Gonzalez [00:51:03] [Speaking Spanish]
Lucy Molina [00:51:13] I get to, put my, my pin because actually now I am representing. I got a seat at one table for now. And I'm happy there because it's for the students and my kids are there and I get to protect the students and the kids. So I get to prepare because now I'm part of the board.