2020 was a rough year: COVID-19, epic wildfires, economic crisis, QAnon, far-right militias, and a proto-facist presidency. But 2020 was not all bad. It was also the year that we experienced residents’ ability to transform the politics and institutions that maintain systemic inequity in Fresno. As a result, Fresno in 2021 will move one step closer to being a city where everybody’s social needs are met and all have the opportunity to thrive.

Here are some highlights:

Measure P: Fresnans know that our park and green space infrastructure is poor. It is particularly lacking in south and west Fresno due to the racist and classist sprawl-oriented politics of members of City Hall and those who support them. But after years of youth-led organizing through Fresno Building Healthy Communities, Measure P has been upheld as victorious by court ruling. Fresnans can now start building an equitable parks and recreation infrastructure worthy of the fifth largest city in California, one that will reinvest in youth, community connections and public space.

Darling plant: The egregious lack of public green space in southwest Fresno is exacerbated by its existence as a “sacrifice zone” where City Hall locates noxious facilities. This inequity has been challenged by residents for decades and supported by the work of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. As a result, a City Hall-tolerated blight on the community, the Darling rendering plant — one that has ruined residents’ health, depressed property values, and scared away alternative economic options — will be closing down. Southwest Fresnans will soon be able to breathe cleaner air in their backyards and at parks and greenways, thanks to Measure P.

Read the full story by Fresno State sociology professors, Amber Crowell and Justin Myers on The Fresno Bee.