When my wife and I bought her grandparents’ home in East Chicago 20 years ago, we hoped to help rebuild our community to be a clean manufacturing base where all people can live, work, and play without fear of breathing toxins.
The expansion of the BP refinery in 2007 ended those dreams. In exchange for the promise of jobs that never materialized, BP built a belching behemoth that spews sludge into Lake Michigan and lead, sulfur dioxide, and pollution into the air.
As parents of two children, this is something my wife and I worry about all the time. Industries that trade against our climate and environment betray workers, communities, and our collective health.
People from across the Midwest will converge in Whiting next weekend. This fight connects our neighborhood to communities across the globe that are taking action as part of a two-week international mobilization to take on the fossil fuel industry. From coal mines to oil trains to fracking, Break Free is already underway around the world.The main action in Whiting will be legal and family-friendly.
There will also be a Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) component: Some action participants will plan in advance to risk arrest to symbolically disrupt business as usual at the refinery. Nobody will be expected to risk arrest who doesn’t want to.
NVDA is a tool that people have used throughout history as a way to stop or prevent something that is unjust or unfair. If you’re interested, please indicate this when you register on our website. To participate in NVDA for this event, we ask that you attend one of our scheduled trainings, even if you have been trained before.
The main training session is scheduled for the evening prior to the action, on May 14th.
Communities like mine are often left out of important decisions about our health and safety, even when it affects us the most. Now, I’m calling on you to join me in a giant wave — unlike anything this movement has tried before — to set this right.
We’re ready to build a new kind of economy: one that looks like that vision for East Chicago that my wife and I first saw 20 years ago, and still hope to see in the years to come.
Together, we can break free from this pollution.Come stand with us at the BP Whiting Refinery on May 15th as we escalate our call for a just transition away from the fossil fuel industry. Sign up for more information about the Midwest Break Free action here.