Skip to the content
Here, you can find a variety of WERA-related photos with quick descriptions of what they show. They are in no particular order. These photos are included here as a collage which serves to demonstrate, in a visual manner, the history of WERA and its activities.
A letter from former Administrator of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, commending Omega Wilson and WERA for their environmental activism
A document signed by former President Barack Obama commemorating the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice and activists, like Omega and Brenda Wilson, who filed federal complaints on environmental justice before the federal government took any action.
A typical concrete septic tank. When too much solid waste enters the tank, the surrounding pipes can burst and cause toxic sludge to overflow into near-by areas. This problem often occurs in Mebane’s Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities.
Screenshot from a slideshow presented to the American Bar Association by Omega Wilson. This screenshot showcases the original site of St. Luke’s Christian Church.
Photo of the demolition of the original St. Luke Christian Church in 2016.
Screenshot from a slideshow presented to the American Bar Association by Omega Wilson. This screenshot showcases Mebane First Presbyterian Church and its adjacent community cemetery. Both are still standing thanks to WERA’s advocacy.
Aerial photo of the Walmart Distribution Center in Mebane. It cost 100 million dollars to build and it is the largest Walmart Distribution Center in the US. This facility as well as other facilities in this industrial park area have received all the basic amenities and infrastructure (i.e. safe drinking water and sewer services) that People of Color Communities are still denied.
Aerial photo of the Lidl Distribution Center in Mebane, another example of a large-scale facility that possesses all basic amenities and infrastructure.
Aerial photo of the Cambro plastic manufacturing facility in Mebane. This facility is located a quarter-mile from WERA’s office. The chemicals used in this facility are proprietary and even emergency personnel do not what these chemicals are. Basic knowledge of chemicals is essential for protecting first responders and citizens. Additionally, this facility is a transport hub that sits between a railroad spur and the new 119 bypass-overpass. As a result, hundreds of diesel trucks drive in-and-out of the facility. The estimated cost of building this facility is over 100 million dollars.
Chemical silos at the Cambro plant.
Photo of the entrance to a construction zone in the industrial park of Mebane. A huge Chick-fil-A distribution center is being constructed here as of July 2021. The estimated cost of building this facility is around 52 million dollars.
Another photo of the upcoming Chick-fil-A distribution center.
Photo of the entrance way to the polluted and once abandoned Craftique Furniture site on West Holt Street in the West End Community. Take note of the water tower foundation on the left.
The water tower pictured in the previous photo is once again pictured here during the construction of the 119 bypass-overpass.
Construction of the 119 bypass-overpass which crosses West Holt Street. On the left side, near the water tower, stands the contaminated and once abandoned Craftique Furniture Plant. The same water tower in the previous two photos is once again pictured here after the construction on the overpass was completed.
Omega Wilson, alongside a veteran-rights activist, is pictured here being interviewed about environmental justice at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC. This interview was conducted in the Thomas J. Boyd Chapel.
Omega Wilson speaking alongside Catherine Coleman Flowers, founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, at Duke University. Note that Catherine Coleman Flowers is the author of the award-winning book, Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret. This photo was taken at Duke’s Environmental Law and Policy Clinic,
Omega Wilson and Dr. Sacoby Wilson giving a tag-team lecture at the NC Biotech Center in the Research Triangle Park of Raleigh, NC. The tag-team lecture method is designed to give communities and universities equal time during scholarly presentations from coast to coast.
DOT Workers repairing major pot holes in front of Mebane First Presbyterian Church and the WERA office on West Holt Street in May 2021.
Photo of Allen Baynes Road in the West End Community that, with the aid of WERA’s advocacy, was paved in 2005. Also, the houses on this road were saved from demolition as a result of WERA’s 1999 complaint. This complaint changed the path 119 bypass corridor.
Former Governor Robert Scott accepting “ Set a Plumb Line” from Omega Wilson at WERA’s Third Annual Dinner in 1997. “ Set a Plumb Line” is a piece of Enviro-Art by Kojo Wilson, son of Omega and Brenda Wilson. The painting depicts a hammer striking a plumb-line, which is an ancient construction instrument that is used for determining if a construction is plumb or vertical.
“ Cherish” by Kojo Wilson, another piece of Enviro-Art that was created in 2003 at the North Carolina School of Design.
Photo of a house being constructed on top of a landfill in Mebane at West Holt and Madison Streets. This eight acre site has two streams which converge into a landfill. This site is where soil was collected to make bricks in the 19th century. Photo taken circa 2000.
Photo of the Craftique Furniture Company in Mebane, which closed more than a decade ago. As early as 1989, 10,000 gallons of petroleum leaked into the ground. To this day, this legacy pollution still threatens ground and well water in the West End Community. Photo taken circa 2000.
A photo which was taken during a meeting for Grassroots Training for Civic Engagement at Mebane First Presbyterian Church, circa 2000. This church is the site of a continuing legacy of community organizing for descendants of slaves, dating back from 1865.
Map of Alamance County as well as Orange County. It identifies environmental justice communities which WERA started working with at its inception in 1994. This map was created long before any governmental department tried mapping these two areas.
Map of Mebane’s Extra-Judicial Territory (EJT). EJT is a system of land governance that has its roots in the feudal system of medieval Europe. The city Mebane uses the EJT system to exercise control over areas that exist outside the city limits. Alaska, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas, and North Carolina are the only states in the country which still operate under an EJT system that is governed by state laws.
Photo from the 2008 Environmental Justice Awards in Atlanta, Georgia. Pictured with Omega Wilson (center) are from left: Charles Lee, Director, EPA Office of Environmental Justice; Richard Moore, National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Chair; Robert Varney, EPA New England Regional Administrator; Omega Wilson, award recipient and President of the West End Revitalization Association; Granta Nakayama, EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA); Catherine McCabe, EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, OECA; and Russell Wright, Acting Deputy Regional Administrator, EPA Region 4.
Omega Wilson standing beside former EPA administrator Lisa Perez Jackson in 2010. Jackson was the first EPA administrator of color. She is originally from the ninth ward in New Orleans, Louisiana. This photo was taken after Omega asked a question regarding EPA’s support of first time safe drinking water and sewer infrastructure for People of Color Communities across the US. The photo was also taken at EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Meeting in Washington D.C.
From left to right in the front of row: Elaine Chiosso (Director of the Haw River Assembly Waterkeepers), Sacoby Wilson (now an associate professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland-College Park), and the late Steve Wing (former epidemiologist at UNC Chapel Hill) celebrate the work of WERA at its 15th annual dinner at the K&W Cafeteria in Burlington, NC.
WERA stakeholders’ board members at 20th annual dinner on November 14th, 2014. From left to right: Rachel Hester, Joe Johnson Sr., Donald Tate, Chartasha Vincent-Garner, Patricia Torain (deceased), Evon Connally, Josephine Cousin, WERA President Omega Wilson and wife Brenda Wilson, and attorney Omari Wilson.
Photo was taken at UNC Chapel Hill, circa 2012. From left to right: Chartasha Vincent-Garner, Marilyn Holt Snipes, Natasha Moore, April Snipes, Evon Connally, Patricia Torian.
A summary of the life and work of WERA’s former Board Chair, Marilyn Snipes.
Lucas Thornton, WERA’s Z. Smith Reynolds Summer 2021 intern, walking in front of the construction site for the Chick-fil-A distribution center in Mebane, NC (July 2021).
Lucas Thornton standing alongside Omega and Brenda Wilson in front of the historic Mebane First Presbyterian Church in the West End Community (July 2021).
Lucas Thornton standing alongside Omega and Brenda Wilson in front of the WERA office in Mebane (July 2021). Notice the Crape Myrtles, which are always in bloom in June and July.
Lucas Thornton standing alongside Brenda Wilson and Gale Worth. Gale is a close friend of the Wilson’s as well as a fellow parishioner at Melfield United Church of Christ in Haw River, NC. They are standing in front of the construction site for the Chick-fil-A distribution center in Mebane, NC.
A slide from a Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation presentation which features Omega and Brenda Wilson alongside Lucas Thornton (July 2021). The two sentences on the right side feature an overall lesson that Lucas has learned over the course of his internship, as spoken by Brenda Wilson.
Photo from a Community Resilience Environmental Disasters (CRED) workshop in Warsaw, NC. The meeting took place at the headquarters of a local EJ organization called the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH). CRED is sponsored by the University of Maryland and Duke University. The purpose of CRED is to aid overburdened communities in creating disaster plans.
Flyers from the CRED workshop.
WERA’s Summer 2021 Intern, Lucas Thornton, watching Duke University researcher, Celine Robinson, give a presentation at the CRED workshop.
A group photo from the CRED workshop. Featured in the photo are WERA members, REACH members, and researchers from the University of Maryland, Duke University, and Virginia Tech.
Another group photo from the CRED workshop.
Photo featuring (from left to right) Brenda Wilson, Jessica Thomas, Lucas Thornton, and Omega Wilson after a dinner at the Rose Hill Restaurant in Rose Hill, NC. Jessica Thomas is a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists as well as an important ally to WERA.
Omega and Brenda Wilson met at Shaw University in the mid-1970’s in Raleigh, NC. They were married on September 7th, 1974 at Brenda’s home church, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Reverend Joiner officiated the ceremony.
Omega and Brenda Wilson venture out into the world from the oldest African-American owned church in the United States, founded in 1794 by Richard Allen.