One- Day University of Change
Tomorrow – Saturday Jan. 28th
Two tracks of workshops going on all day
$35 for workshops plus lunch
$20 for students
Bluebonnet Ballroom, UTA Univ. Center
300 West First Street, Arlington
It only happens once a year
Flint Water Protectors!
Local Elected Officials in a Q&A!
Lawyers! Scientists! Activists!
9:00- 9:30 am Morning Registration
The Dos and Don't of Citizen Health Surveys
Leslie Allsop, University of Texas Health Science Center Classroom
Using Science to Make Violations Stick
Tamera Bounds, Mansfield Gaswell Awareness and Downwinders at Risk, with Ranjana Bhandari of Livable Arlington
11:00 am – 12:00 Noon
Citizen Monitoring of Drinking Water
Doug Carlton of UTA's C.L.E.A.R.
State of the Air – An Asthma Forecast
Shammara Norris, Asthma Chasers
Local elected officials talk about protecting their quality of life goals in the face of state and federal opposition
Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel
Dallas City Council Member Sandy Greyson
Fort Worth City Council Member Ann Zedah
1:15 -2:15 pm
Fighting Environmental Permits in Texas
Ilan Levin, Attorney, Environmental Integrity Project
Petition Rights: The Source of Citizen Power to Take Back Their Towns
Linda Curtis, Independent Texans
2:30 – 3:30 pm
Strategy vs Tactics
Jim Schermbeck, Downwinders at Risk
Corey Troiani, Texas Campaign for the Environment
3:45 – 4:45
High Tech Tools for Citizens
Dr. David Lary, University of Texas @ Dallas, Doug Carlton, University of Texas @ Arlington, Jim Schermbeck, Downwinders at Risk
How Flint was Exposed
Melissa Mays, Water You Fighting For and Nayyirah Shariff, Flint Rising
5:00 – 5:30
Air Sampling and Monitoring Drone Demonstration (weather permitting)
Happy Hour Networking
REGISTER HERE NOW
OR WALK-UP ON SATURDAY
(It's a secure Click and Pledge pay portal established just for this event, so the $35 registration is called a "donation." Just click on the $35 button and fill out the credit card info and you're done)
Three events this week can help make you a better activist…year round
– A high-level discussion about Civil Disobedience as a tactic for
– A forum with Flint Activists on the front lines of the nation's best known
environmental justice fight
– A full day of skills and information workshops featuring local experts
and elected officials
Don't Miss These One-Of-A- Kind Opportunities
1. Get Inspired by Flint National Heroes Melissa Mays and Nayyirah Shariff.
These are the Lois Gibbs and ErinBrockovichs of our age.
Flint is our Love Canal.
This is their only stop in Texas.
You have TWO opportunities for quality time with them.
Thursday, Jan 26th, from 7 to 9 pm at the beautiful Mountain View Performance Hall, they'll be "Exposing the Poison Water and Toxic Government" that caused the Flint Scandal and then joining local lead activists from West Dallas and Frisco. This evening with them is free and open to the public.
On Saturday, January 28th at UTA as part of our 1-Day University Of Change they'll both be doing a workshop on "How Flint was Exposed." Limited seating to spend up close and personal time with national environmental justice heroes. Register here.
There are still arrests being made in Flint and Michigan because of this scandal. There is still a problem with lead in Dallas. Come hear why the two problems are connected.
2. See the Public Premier of the Trailer for a New Film on Flint – "Bigger than Water" co-produced by Earth Day Texas
The same team that produced "Racing Extinction" is now turning its attention to the public health crisis in Flint. This is the first public showing of their trailer promoting "Bigger than Water," expected to be in theatrical release soon. It serves as an introduction to the Women from Flint, Thursday at 7 at the Mountain View Performance Hall.
Come see the future of citizen air monitoring. If the weather holds, Cap't Dave Schafer from UTD's drone fleet will be giving a live demo flight right after the "High Tech Tools for Citizens" workshop at Saturday's 1-Day University of Change. In addition, he'll have the better part of his fleet on display during the day for you to look at up close. UTD's drones have been used in many air quality studies, including EDF's recent one in the Barnett Shale gas patch. Downwinders is working in collaboration with UTD to develop our own North Texas CLEAN Air Force drone capacity.
Register herefor the workshops and the drone demo on Saturday, January 28th, beginning at 9:30 am and ending by 5:30 – 6:00 pm.
(It's a secure Click and Pledge pay portal established just for this event, so the $35 registration is called a "donation." Just click on the $35 button, fill out the credit card info and you're done)
4. ONE NIGHT ONLY: Sixty Years of Local Civil Disobedients on a Single Dallas Stage
Peter Johnson was there on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965.
Mavis Belisle organized what is still the single largest act of Civil Disobedience in Texas history at the Comanche Peak nuclear plant.
Cory Troiani and Ron Seifert have been on the front lines of the movement to stop new fossil fuel pipelines.
LaSadion Anthony is organizing local anti-police brutality protests that challenge the status quo AND traditional approaches to civil disobedience.
All of these remarkable people will be talking about how and when civil disobedience is used effectively – or not – after a screening of "Above All Else" about the East Texas Keystone Pipeline blockade. Be part of the discussion.
At the Angelika Theater @ Mockingbird and Central, Tuesday, January 24th 7 to 9 pm.
ABSOLUTELY FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
5. Face Time with Local Elected Officials Who Actually Care About Quality of Life Goals
As part of our 1-Day University of Change on Saturday January 28th, we're hosting a special lunchtime discussion with local officials who've been outspoken in their defense of clean air and water, sustainability, and sane transportation options.
So far, Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel and Dallas Council member Sandy Greyson have agreed to participate. This is your chance to ask them about local strategies to fight hostile state and federal governments and tell them what you think they should do.
Register for the 1-Day University of Change here. $35 for the whole day – includes lunch. (It's a secure Click and Pledge pay portal established just for this event, so the $35 registration is called a "donation." Just click on the $35 button, fill out the credit card info and you're done)
It may be hard to imagine now, but up until the mid-1980's there were three lead smelters operating right across the street from homes in Dallas. Those homes were all south of the Trinity River: in West Dallas and Cadillac Heights. Along with all the other things and people the city considered undesirable, the poor, the black, the Mexicans and the lead smelters were all squeezed in close to the Trinity River.
Lead contamination permeated the neighborhoods night and day, year-round. Smokestacks let loose tons of fine lead particles and other toxins directly into the air residents breathed – every day. The heavier particles created fallout zones where the soil built-up layers of lead in the ground – the same ground people were using to grow their own food. Because the lead smelters "recycled" old batteries by busting them open for their lead, the discarded pieces of contaminated battery casings were used for paving neighborhood streets or as fill, along with the cooked smelter waste "slag." Sometimes this waste was used for "agricultural supplements." Often it was just dumped in near-by vacant lots. West Dallas and Cadillac Heights residents employed by the smelters were covered were lead dust when they got home and played with their children. In doing their laundry, their spouses got exposed as well.
Smelters were not the only sources of lead poisoning. Household paint was doused in it and every car and truck ran on leaded gasoline. But none of these produced the dense clouds of lead, or the constant exposure to it across a variety of "pathways" that the operation of a neighborhood lead factory did. Thousands of African-American and Mexican-American families' lives, entire generations of Dallasites, were wrecked by the pollution from the smelters.
But the last of those smelters closed more than 30 years ago, so why is this ancient environmental justice history lesson important now? Because their legacy is still haunting Dallas neighborhoods.
Take a look at this story on lead contamination that the Reuters news agency recently did. It compares the results of child blood lead testing by Zip Codes across the country to the more alarming levels of lead in Flint. As it turns out, there are lots of places in the nation still suffering high rates of lead contamination – including Dallas. There's an interactive map that allows you to zoom in on a specific Zip Code and find out what percentage of the blood tests were considered "high."
Over 15% of the child blood tests in Dallas Zip Code 75215, the site of the two former Cadillac Heights smelters, were “high” for lead – as high,or higher than the lead levels of affected Flint residents. The Center for Disease Control estimates the national average is 2.5.%. In other words, South Dallas kids are suffering six times the national rate of severe lead poisoning. Residents in North Oak Cliff and West Dallas where RSR was located – 75208 and 75212 – had between 7 and 10% of their child blood tests come in as high or higher than Flint, or 3 to 4 times higher than the national average.
Yes, there's more older housing stock likely to still have lead paint in those neighborhoods, and yes, because of lack lf new development, the soil in those neighborhoods may still contain lead gasoline fallout. But it's more than just coincidence that, in 2017, these two predominantly minority communities still have the highest blood lead levels in their children of any Zip Codes in North Texas.
Lead is an insidious poison. It not only harms you physically with organ damage on many fronts, it also handicaps a person emotionally and intellectually. We know even low levels of lead exposures cause learning disabilities and anti-social behavior from the very beginning of life. There is now substantial evidence to believe lead exposure is directly tied to your chances of engaging in criminal behavior, that is, the more you're exposed to lead, the more likely it is you'll commit a crime. The explosive crime wave of the 1960's – 80s, along with the subsequent dramatic drop, tracks almost precisely with the peaks and decline in lead exposure among residents in urban America over that same period.
In creating lead pollution zones in minority neighborhoods around its smelters, Dallas condemned its black and brown residents to more than just physical hardships –they reshaped the entire culture and destiny of those communities. They made the children in these neighborhoods less likely to be able to learn and more likely to be arrested. What were interpreted as a pejorative cultural stereotypes by the White Establishment, were in fact the result of large-scale industrial poisoning by the White Establishment. Proximity to lead meant less options, less choices – because you started out with less, because the lead had robbed you of your potential even before you knew you had it. Once taken, it can never be given back. What kind of reparations can pay for that?
But this is a preventable fate. We can clean-up lead. We can take it out of the community. Out of the paint. Out of the soil. We can stop the stealing of souls by doing good old-fashioned remedial physical cleaning. It just takes the political power to bring that cleaning to West Dallas and Cadillac Heights.
This is one more reason why the visit of Flint activists Melissa Mays and Nayyirah Shariff is important. These women took it upon themselves to do their own testing, and then use those tests to organize a plan to quit being poisoned. The ways lead can reach inside of you are different in Flint than Dallas, but the result is the same. They have some valuable lessons about how to put the status quo on its heels. This is their first Texas trip. Come out and hear from two hardcore environmental justice advocates.
Recognizing its Black and Brown residents are up to six times more at risk of having high lead levels, Dallas should be more committed to getting the lead out. Failure to do so is just one more legacy of the institutional racism that still scars the city on MLK Day 2017. But it's a failure that can be remedied.