In 1978, Lois Gibbs did the unthinkable: She took on a powerful chemical company and local, state and federal officials over Love Canal, a leaking former toxic waste dump near Niagara Falls, N.Y. Only when President Jimmy Carter stepped in two years later did the feds relocate the 900 familiesmany of whom had experienced cancer, birth defects and other health problems.

Now the executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (, Gibbs comes to Graham on Aug. 19 to discuss how groups can fight polluters. The free event runs from 1-4 p.m. at the River Landing Inn, 5942 Whitney Road.

Leaders from Orange, Alamance and Guilford counties will also speak about their environmental battles: medical waste incinerators, sewage sludge and asphalt plants.