Environmental Justice: We are all Inextricably Linked
By: Advocate Scott
This past Saturday, the 13th, there was a People not Poisons fair at Chickasaw park. It was for educating folks about, and bringing awareness to chemical pollution in our communities. Rubbertown Emergency Action (REACT) has constantly set out to improve the living conditions of our neighborhoods. The fair was a gathering of people, organizations and a powerful speaker, Michele Roberts. This is what I learned from Ms. Roberts and REACT about the effects of chemical pollution.
STUDENTS: Schools around the Rubbertown area are located near factories and chemical plants creating hazards and impacting learning development. For example one school has a garden on one hand and on the other hand is exposed to factory emissions. So what happens when the plants absorb those emissions; or when an explosion interrupts the class day… if the school is even informed? Test scores and health are lowered. SOLUTION: keep the factories away from our schools!
HEALTH: Many people in our neighborhoods develop cancer and respiratory diseases that are linked to the air pollution caused by factories and chemical plants. People are sent to the hospital and even die because of these pollutions. My own great-uncle died from four forms of cancer and he lived within walking distance of a factory. So what happens when are hard-working community members are always sick? They are fired from their jobs, upkeep of property becomes secondary, and “family-time” slowly fades away. SOLUTION: keep factories out of our residential areas!
It was a very educational experience for me and I am glad at the success of the event. Most people are aware of the toxicity of Rubbertown, but not what they can do to make a change. The fair was about solid solutions and solid actions. We must remember that in justice work we are all inextricably linked!