In 1998, Harold Mitchell Jr. founded the grass-roots Environmental Justice organization, ReGenesis. While suffering his own personal undiagnosed health challenges, Mitchell discovered that the cumulative impact of abandoned industrial sites and landfills (later designated by EPA as Superfund/Brownfield sites) had caused many of the deaths and chronic illnesses plaguing his family, and the larger Arkwright/Forest Park Community of South Carolina.
ReGenesis received a $20,000 EPA small grant and began conducting a community-led planning process to chart the necessary infrastructure projects needed to repair the history of harm and rebuild the Arkwright and Forest Park communities. Since that inception, ReGenesis has executed a plan of cleanup, redevelopment and revitalization that now serves as a model for meaningful environmental justice. To date, almost $300 million in federal, state, local, private sector, and philanthropic investments have been leveraged to benefit the community. Harold’s story represents hundreds of other communities in America that have suffered, and are currently suffering, from crippling environmental injustices.
Now, the ReGenesis Institute is launching its second phase to complete the vision the community outlined while helping expand the ReGenesis Model to lead the Just Transition. In addition, the ReGenesis Institute has launched the first-of-its-kind accelerator for communities like Spartanburg to lead their own social economic and climate resiliency transformation.
Mitchell was also a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from the 31st District, serving from 2005 to 2017.
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