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What if it Mattered?

I have been so very proud of your actions to write to FERC and let them know how you feel and tell them YOU DO NOT want to FLOOD! Your words, the action you have taken wasn’t hard, didn’t cost much more than a postage stamp. But stack up enough of those and that federal agency noticed.

Well, you have another chance to shine. Let’s meet for a very short while at the Miami Civic Center on Thursday April 11, any time between 5:00 and 8:00 pm. Just walk in the door, take a look around, look these folks in the face and say, “I want to live in a place where it is safe for my kids to play outside anytime, dip their toes in our Tar Creek, take a nap on their couch afterwards and feel the cool breeze from the floor vents.”

Think about this.

If you were ever a Cherokee Volunteer, if you were in an Art Class at Miami High School, if you or your child was found to be lead poisoned, if you experienced the Picher/Cardin/Hockerville buyouts, if you and your baby were part of the MATCH Project, had your yard sampled by EPA or DEQ, and it was dug up and replaced with clean soil, of if you have worked moving chat or employed at one of the Dialysis centers. One of your family members was a TEAL Clanmother or Clanfather, a lay-health advisor. You are a LEAD member or have attended the annual Tar Creek Conference or won a bicycle or a family member won one of our scholarships.

So many people here know we are living in a superfund site. We are surrounded by the schools whose whole playgrounds have had to be dug up because of lead in the soil. And parks, and day-cares.

Let’s start thinking of after. After the work is done. When all of this is complete and YOU and your children are living in a safer and healthier place.

It has been pretty lonely speaking for you all these years. Wouldn’t it be cool if you found your voice and brought it to that meeting this Thursday and spoke about the future you want to have here? Cool, yes, but it could even work.

These people have access to the means and the funding to make your lives better and take the threat and stigma of living in or near the largest superfund site in the nation away by fixing it. What if they met you, looked you in the face and saw their own family members in your eyes?

Imagine this is the after party.

Think of this as a chance to vote, and you wouldn’t want to miss doing that either, right? Imagine it is PROM and you want to take pictures of your almost grown-up daughter looking fine walking in the door. Line up like it was a chance to meet a celebrity who is waiting there just to meet YOU!

When you get off work on Thursday, before you go home, swing by the Civic Center and I will see you there in line. (There will even be food trucks there.)

LEAD Agency has been pushing for more to be done, and will have some map images that will show how AT RISK many of you are. Either because of the home you live in was built before 1978, or the one next door was, you live in a flood zone, you have been flooded, or your yard has been remediated but your neighbors has not, the home has chat beneath the slab with deteriorated HAC ducts. Your Tar Creek is too polluted to enjoy or even PICNIC by and the air on dry, windy days could bring even more than dust your way.

Let EPA and DEQ know you want your lives improved.

If you were all invited to meet with people who had the power and the funding to make your lives and the generations who live here better, would you snub them? Dare them to try again to get your attention? Look the other way and decide to wallow in what they could fix?

What if it Mattered?

You matter. See you in line!

Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim

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