Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day Two Freedom Caravan: San Antonio

After a marathon bus trip from Albuquerque and a late-night arrival in San Antonio, bus riders were glad to spend a second night in this city.

But rest wasn't on the agenda.

The local hosts -- the Southwest Workers Union and Fuerza Unida, had us up early for an environmental justice tour of the neighborhoods surrounding the Kelly Air Force Based. The base has been closed, or more accurately privatized. Much of the aircraft maintenance work that used to be done by the military is now done at the same site by Boeing and Lockheed Martin under contract.

But the tour focused on the environmental legacy of the base. We heard from people who bought homes in the modest neighborhood adjacent to the base, only to learn that the soil and ground water are polluted. We heard from people who had gotten sick, and those who had surveyed the neighborhood and learned that nine out of the 13 households on the block had someone who had died of cancer or someone who is now suffering from the disease.

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In this photo, Lupe Alvarado tells freedom riders what it is like to live with the pollution and health effects.

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And Leroy Johnson, an employee at Kelly Airforce Base from 1965 to 1990, told the group about the health problems he and other former base employees suffer.

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Southwest Workers Union started a purple cross campaign to identify the toxic hazards of the neighborhood they call the Toxic Triangle.

Then it was back on the buses to go to an immigrants rights rally at the historic Alamo.

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You can find more of my photos from the People's Freedom Caravan at the YES! USSF site on Flickr and the Southwest Workers' Union blog here.

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1 Comments:

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Kerttu Kay said...

Very happy to find all these stories. Thanks
Kerttu

 

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