Demand Water Justice! Rally
Monday March 21st from 11am-1pm
Athens County Courthouse Steps
Fight for Flint, Fight for Appalachia!
Black Life Action Coalition (BLAC) and Appalachia Resist! have formed a coalition to address the ongoing human rights abuses linked to ongoing water contamination to drinking water supplies. We demand water justice for all and will be hosting a water drive for Flint, Michigan residents and a Demand Water Justice Rally: Fight for Flint, Fight for Appalachia at the Athens County Courthouse Steps on Monday March 21st from 11-1. If you missed the water donation you can still contribute to the kitty that Athens is collecting to send up there: B.L.A.C. & AR! Water Drive for Flint Go Fund Me
We will be collecting monetary donations to help Flint churches, American Red Cross and United Way to buy much needed lead testing kits and water filters, but also full cases of commercially packaged water or commercially sealed gallon containers of water. Testing for lead costs around $55/per test and filters run from $40-$200.
We encourage members of the public to drop off donations at the Monday rally, or at donation stations set up around town, including at The Village Bakery, Catalyst Café, and Fluff Bakery.
The Flint, Michigan water crisis has been ongoing since January 2015. Residents cannot use tap water for drinking or cooking, due to high levels of lead that cause a number of symptoms such as vomiting, constipation, weight loss, hair loss, rashes, and stomach pain. According to the World Health Organization “high blood lead levels in children can cause consequences which may be irreversible including learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and mental retardation. At very high levels, lead can cause convulsions, coma and death”. In an attempt to save money, the City of Flint caused the lead contamination in the tap water by switching water sources without corrosion controls. Many public officials were made aware of the lead contamination, yet did nothing to alert those using the water. Congressional hearings are currently in progress to assess blame.
“Prolonged drinking water contamination tends to impact communities of color and poor rural people disproportionately in this country. There is a connection between Flint, Michigan whose residents are struggling to remove the lead contamination in their water and the continuing history of water contamination in Appalachia,” said Peggy Gish, of Appalachia Resist! Southeast Ohio and West Virginia have previously been impacted heavily by two sources of tap water contamination, C8 and MCHM. Athens County is now taking in more toxic fracking waste than any other county in Ohio, 4,021,985 barrels last year. The injection of this waste into underground wells and transport of it throughout the region is a clear public health crisis waiting to happen.
In nearly all cases, those in charge knew of the public health threats long before disasters occurred, but did nothing to curb them. C8 has been linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Court records show Dow Chemicals was aware of C8’s potential toxicity as early as 1954, but the EPA was not involved until 2000. MCHM contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginia residents in 2014 after the Freedom Industries spill. The drinking Fracking chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption, high cancer rates, low birthweight and miscarriage. Last week, 5,000 gallons of frack waste spilled into a drinking water reservoir in Barnesvill, Ohio, after a truck overturned. “The struggles for economic, racial, and environmental justice are linked and it’s time that access to clean, safe, and affordable water be considered a fundamental human right,” said Joshelyn Smith, of Black Lives Action Coalition.