Watts mother-daughter duo fight for environmental justice, promote adoption of electric vehicles

WATTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Linda Cleveland and Jaquelyn Badejo are a mother-daughter duo advancing environmental justice. Badejo's awareness of environmental injustices began as a young girl growing up in Watts.

"I have seen the brown water in my bathtub. I always wondered why the community suffers from respiratory diseases, and other health disparities," Badejo said.

Badejo helps lead the Watts Clean Air and Energy Committee.

"Right now we're working to do water and soil testing in the community," she said.

Badejo and Cleveland are helping promote the Electric For All campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of electric vehicles and resources available to purchase one.

"We deserve to be a part of this upcoming industry," said Cleveland.

A study in Transport Policy found disparities in access to electric vehicle chargers based on race and income in California, with Black and Latino majority neighborhoods having lower access to public chargers.

David Hochschild is chair of the California Energy Commission.

"About 50% of our charging infrastructure that we're putting in is going into disadvantaged communities. Rebates are higher for vehicles for those communities, and that's a core part of the strategy," said Hochschild. "These communities that often live very close to major freeways have suffered the worst air pollution of all."

Gov. Gavin Newsom allocated more than $1 billion toward infrastructure and incentives. Affordability is a concern for many drivers.

"There's also a lot of progress in the secondary market for used (electric) vehicles," Hochschild said. "You can buy a used Nissan Leaf electric car for $8,000."

"Even (LA)DWP has a rebate to get the infrastructure, the charging infrastructure at your home," said Badejo.

The Electric For All website provides information on rebates and other incentives based on your zip code - incentives Cleveland plans to take advantage of this year.

"I understand the importance of having one," she said. "That is one of my goals for this year is to save and to apply for the rebates, and get me a car."
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