A fire in one landfill in St. Louis is headed for a nearby Superfund site containing nuclear waste. It’s a desperate situation, but a group of courageous leaders has stepped in to save their community and their families. Here’s a few lessons we can draw from their work:
Get Your Neighbors Involved – In a meeting this week, the EPA, the ATSDR, and other officials tried to take sell the community on their solution, but Just Moms STL wasn’t buying. They not only staged a protest outside the meeting before it started, all of the good work that they have done to educate their neighbors was evident from the get-go.
Seek Out the Real Story – At the meeting scientists presented their facts, but the crowd knew that all the data presented directly contradicted earlier studies that Missouri’s Attorney General commissioned. At many points during the evening, it was clear that not only did the crowd know the real story, it was clear they were prepared to take action.
Get Your Story Out – National media came to the meeting: the meeting made CBS’ morning AND evening news hours the next day. The landfill story has been featured weekly in St. Louis due to the activism of Just Moms STL – now it has finally broken through to the national level.
Do a Power Analysis and Take Action – A determined band of volunteers made all of this happen. They got the entire Missouri congressional delegation to write to the EPA and they enlisted the support of their state legislators. They organized rallies, meetings and media events. They recruited more members by going door to door, they organized a coalition and schooled themselves on the issues. The 400 people at this week’s meeting were informed and ready to take action because of Just Moms STL.
Get Expert Help – CHEJ has been working with these brave leaders, many of whom have a family member who has become sick from the landfill. CHEJ has been holding conference calls with Just Moms STL every week. Lois Gibbs has also traveled to St. Louis several times to conduct trainings. CHEJ can help you organize and can also help connect to other organizing sources. Call us!
By Leila Waid. It’s hard to believe that it has already been one year since the Norfolk Southern train derailed in the small and quiet