Nancy Scott from Cherokee Nation brought items for youth activists and met Linda Sue Warner and shared stories. Ron Seat brought two bags full of the best fishing supplies for the LEAD Agency Silent Auction all from MAKO, the Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma Fly Fishers Club, so fisher people pay attention to add Sept. 20: the Fish Fry Kickoff for the conference sponsored by the Afton Masonic Lodge # 76. Tickets for the fundraiser are $7 and $5 for children (from 5 to 7 p.m. at our office).
Distractions continue, but the first ever banquet for Tar Creek tickets are $30, though the conference is free for Ottawa County Residents as usual as it is for Activists and Students. The stars of the show, the actors who have been here at the beginning and many who have been here throughout the years will come together for a time to reflect and remember and continue the fight for environmental justice right here, whether that is cleaning up a contaminated yard, as the agency head in charge of making sure that happens. The folks who are making bad water good. The people checking our birds and counting fish, live ones and the dead ones. Who are these people? What have they done? How about the people who MADE a Senator finally understand some places are simply not safe for human habitation. What about the artists who give us their best as they depict the worst around us? Will we recognize a whole cadre of recipients of our Mike Synar Awards, you bet. Come find out who they are, maybe they will tell us what got into them to do their part. What about the nurses who have tested our children for lead and followed them to lower levels? How about our lead poisoned children who have grown up and are making the best out of the lives they are living, lets never forget them. The teachers who struggled to make learning happen for these pupils who find even sitting still sometimes impossible. Let's commend those teachers.
We have never taken the time to look around the room and acknowledge the integrity and grit these people exhibit to serve us and come to this place year after year never being thanked for caring about this corner of the state most often forgotten by most. But we will celebrate our own efforts, our very important pieces of this pie we have bit off to do our part for the greater good. Get a ticket, go ahead plan for it in your budget, we won't do it again for a number of years. It won't be a Gala, but it could be fun to celebrate and while they are all in the room let them know, they are not done and we are not either. The work must continue and our environment, our creek, our rivers, our lake and all the land from here to there needs the attention and the cleanup we all deserve. The one our future generations are depending on us to have waiting for them.
If you are coming to the banquet, why not come for all of the events? Spend some time listening and learning from experts, share your thoughts with them and us, let's show we care. Because we do.
Distractions can be appreciations we may fail to fully acknowledge at the time, and as I began saying we have had some. One was writing a letter to Senator Inhofe with Lois Gibbs, known around the country as the Mother of Superfund. The message was printed in the Sunday Tulsa World asking the Senator to step up and bring a piece of legislation forward in his committee to reduce the risk of lead poisoning for every child in our country.
Get the Lead Out of Schools Act (S. 1401) would require that all school drinking water be tested for lead. The legislation also requires all results of the water testing to be shared with the school community, because everyone has the right to know what they are drinking. Senator Inhofe has been invited to the conference, hope he makes it, as we will be reflecting on the reluctant but needed help he has put forth to help fund the Superfund work at Tar Creek.
The Ottawa County Fair could never be a distraction, as it is an event that pulls our community together. LEAD Agency and our good neighbors, the Ottawa County Health Department and NEO Community Action Agency were in the vintage building. So many entered the drawing for the PUR Water System we selected three winners instead of ONE. We found fishermen/women who know their fish, met children and proud parents. Some of these children are lead poisoned but many have not been tested. Testing is the only way to know. Free testing available at the clinics and at our conference. Don't be distracted.
Respectfully Submitted without Distractions ~ Rebecca Jim