“The health and wellbeing of hundreds of families are at stake. And this is a city of families,” a longtime resident of West Calumet, Chicago expressed worry.
After series of reported illnesses by the residents of East Chicago, Indiana, the Environmental Protection Agency has finally disclosed the cause of their health issues to be the heavy contamination in the area.
The East Chicago Mayor, Anthony Copeland has notified residents to relocate to a much safer area due to public health risk. The city also stated that the entire West Calumet Complex was to be demolished after residents have vacated the area.
Currently, residents who are mostly Black are living in fear and anxiety. Most of them do not know where to go and if their children are at all going to be safe in the new location which is yet to be announced.
The vital questions on the lips of the Black dominated community are yet to be answered by the state officials.
The toxic contamination of East Chicago isn’t a problem of today. As far back as the 1900’s, the area was predominately occupied by industries. It is well noted for its industrial activities. Almost every major industrial byproduct has been produced in the area.
The mayor, Copeland during his meeting with the inhabitants revealed that “This problem didn’t happen overnight. This complex was built in 1972 on top of this same lead.” He also added that “I can’t tell you about the sins of the past.”
The question that still borders the devastated residents of East Chicago is that; why did the authorities wait all this while to inform them?
Just like Flint, it seems the Black communities are usually ignored and not considered important. That is the reason this toxic contamination of an entire community can be long-ignored.
Clara Morgan, the city’s attorney disclosed that the officials have intentionally for a long time hidden the truth from them though they repeatedly sought to know. She said; “I have no idea why they waited so long to tell us,” she said. “We had been adding playground equipment to the complex and asked them if it was safe to dig. They didn’t respond. We were under the false assumption there was no problem.”
The community has decided to take matters into their own hands since the state can no more be trusted. They have scheduled to have their first meeting this week to decide the way forward. They also backed by the local Black Lives Matter group.
It is really appalling how government officials handle cases involving people with color. They seem not to consider them as part of the citizenry hence; they are usually deprived of the very basic amenities and freedom they deserve. It is important we handle our issues ourselves since the government seems not to care about our welfare.
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