When Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) unveiled its Master Plan to modernize Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), it encountered considerable community opposition. Federal and State law required LAWA to ensure that low-income and minority communities surrounding the airport received their fair share of economic benefits, and not just environmental impacts from the project. In 2001, LAWA hired Dakota Communications to develop and coordinate an Environmental Justice community benefits program associated with the Master Plan and the media outreach associated with the Environmental Justice Program. 

The Environmental Justice component included bilingual (English/Spanish) public information forums, bilingual brochure development, editorial board meetings, and continuous outreach to the diverse communities of South Los Angeles, Inglewood, and Lennox. Dakota Communications also helped to identify and begin to resolve some of the most contentious health issues surrounding the airport plan, including air contamination, noise pollution, and increased traffic. Using feedback from these sustained efforts, Dakota Communications also helped to create new opportunities for local residents, such as employment programs, small and minority business contracting opportunities, noise reduction community forums, as well as increased participation in the decision-making process.

Dakota Communications was responsible for organizing press conferences; scheduling interviews on radio and television public affairs programs; scheduling editorial board meetings with local newspapers; developing and placing paid advertisements in community and ethnic publications; and creating a speakers’ bureau for outreach to targeted low income communities and communities of color.