When faced with catastrophic environmental degradation — in your own community, no less — calling out the perpetrators and demanding accountability from elected officials is often not enough, as we all know. You have to get out in the streets and demand change.
After pleading for transparency and accountability from the Obama Administration in the aftermath of BP’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and getting virtually nowhere, Gulf Coast resident Cherri Foytlin decided it was time to hit the streets. Specifically, the 1,200 miles of streets between New Orleans and Washington, DC.
Foytlin is on The Road to Washington, a month-long walk from New Orleans to Washington DC meant to highlight “the ongoing need for environmental remediation and economic support in the wake to the BP oil Disaster of April 2010.”
“This is a pilgrimage of love for the people of the Gulf,” Foytlin says on The Road To Washington’s Facebook page. “I am taking their concerns about health, the economy, the environment and the claims process to the President of the United States.” Read her open letter to the American people about what is motivating her walk to our nation’s capitol.
Our friend and ally Maria Ramos is walking the walk with Foytlin, and sent this update via email:
I am on this amazing journey to bring more attention to the oil spill in the Gulf. We’re one year out and it’s an utter mess. There are still tar balls on the sand, dead sea life washing up ashore, the claims process is a total shamble, and people are getting really sick.
I’m supporting Cherri Foytlin in this walk — she’s a mom of six turned activist who is literally walking from Louisiana to DC, about 30 miles a day, talking to people, groups, and press along the route.
She, along with other amazing Gulf residents/activists are on a panel at Powershift, and while in DC will be meeting with Lisa Jackson, Congressional Members, and hopefully with Obama.
They’re doing this all basically out of pocket and any bit of funds that come in are extremely helpful.
You can make a donation to support Foytlin on The Road to Washington’s donate page.
Far too many communities have suffered at the hands of Big Oil. We organized a meetup last year between the Ecuadoreans impacted by Chevron’s oil pollution in the Amazon and Gulf Coast residents as the latter prepared themselves for the impacts of BP’s oil spill. You can check out some of the lessons the Ecuadoreans shared with the folks from the Gulf Coast in the report, “The Lasting Stain of Oil.”
If you’re in the Bay Area, you can hit the streets with the Change Chevron team to keep the pressure on by talking with Chevron CEO John Watson’s neighbors in Lafayette, CA about Chevron’s toxic legacy in Ecuador.