If you ever travel on Highway 5 between Northern California and Southern California, as you pass the exit signs for small Central Valley towns or stop for gas and food…towns like Kettlemen City or Arvin, or exit signs for other highways that take you across the Central Valley to places like Modesto, and you may wonder about these places. What is their history? What is it like to live in one of these towns? On this segment, we learn about current and historical environmental justice struggles of towns along Highway 5 and its tributaries, particularly in the Central Valley. One resource we’ll discuss is Invisible 5, a free, podcast audio tour that is downloadable at invisible5.org. The podcast, which was produced in 2006, is a self-guided audio tour of Highway 5 in the form of a museum audio guide. It includes individual podcasts that features selected cities you would pass on the route starting from San Francisco via Highway 5 all the way to Los Angeles. You can also play it in reverse order, from LA to San Francisco.
This is relevant on the Fourth of July not only because many of us may be driving along Highway 5 this weekend or sometime over the summer, but also because these stories reveal a pattern of persistent gaps in democratic rights, here in California. Joining us by phone is Emiliano Mataka, Secretary of the Steering Committee of Valley Improvement Projects in Modesto. Joining us in the studio are Jessica Hendricks, Program Manager of Global Community Monitor, based in El Cerrito and Bradley Angel, Executive Director of Greenaction, based in San Francisco.
Correction from guest Global Community Monitor: The statistic in the segment that 70,000 vehicles, 18,000 of which are large trucks, pass by Lebec is per day, not per year as indicated in the audio segment.