Environmental Justice struggles with a news cycle that may report a disaster, may revisit on the one year anniversary, but often abandons a community in the struggle of daily life. The media reported the Freedom Industries Chemical Spill in Charleston, first detected January 9th for about 72 hours. Maybe next January we will hear about it again…
In the meantime, the impact of the spill is ongoing. It is deeply uncertain when the water will actually be truly safe to drink and use again. Humans are born 75% water and are still more than 50% water in our final years. Water is not optional. It is essential.
Just this week, Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Congregational Life Consultant & Regional Lead for the Unitarian Universalist Central East Regional Group (CERG), wrote:
Since the call went out, the situation has not improved.
People are still afraid to go to restaurants and service workers are feeling the brunt of that.
Pregnant women and small children are still being urged not to drink tap water and must buy bottled water.
Parents have been bathing their children in melted snow.
But adults are finding it difficult, too, and have bad reactions to the water.
Many, many folk are drinking bottled water – or trying to when they can afford it.
And yet folk are getting billed for water usage at standard usage rates.
The state government still is unable to guarantee the safety of the water.
And folk are still protesting.
I was just down there a week and half ago visiting our Charleston WV congregation.
They are still collecting funds to help pay for folks water bills, pay for home water system cleanup, helping service workers pay their bills, and buy lots and lots of bottled water for everyone.
If you have financial resources to share, please do. The Charleston congregation is committed to using your donations well; and thanks you for your care and support. Checks should be made out to: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston (UUC) with the notation “Water Relief.”
Please mail to:
UU Congregation of Charleston
520 Kanawha Blvd W.
Charleston, WV 25302
I invite us all to stand on the side of love with West Virginia. Please spread the word about the on-going struggle, call on accountability from Freedom Industries and the EPA, let the people of West Virginia know that they are not alone, not forgotten. Beloveds, we are all in this together.