AAEJAN’s mission is to address the disproportionate impact that pollution and toxins have on African American communities in the South and to work with others to achieve environmental justice for all Historically, people of color and the poor have endured the brunt of most oppressive systems and actions and by the late 1980’s, African American communities began to realize that that oppression involved the very community they lived in. Facilities were built on the fence line of many communities and as a result community residents were sick and dying.
AAEJAN local member groups were formed primarily to fight environmental assaults in their local communities. Toxic attacks on these communities were seen as a major contributor to land loss and devaluation, violence in children, declining health and poor air and water quality. Because these assaults are consistently merged with some other form of oppression, many network members have also had to address social and economic injustices – such as judicial and police misconduct, poor wages and unsafe jobs, failing school systems, and lack of resources for community-driven development.