Activists from the city’s Southeast Side neighborhood East Side participated in a 30 day hunger strike to protest a third permit from the city to a metal shredding company to set up shop in the neighborhood. The company was known as General Iron when it operated in Lincoln Park and is now looking to open up as Southside Recycling in the East Side neighborhood.
The calls for the protest are calling the potential move an act of environmental racism. When General Iron was operating in Lincoln Park they received many complaints over pollution and have been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution in the past.
This is the story of the activists, why they were fighting the approval of the permit, and their experience during the hunger strike and in the days following.
People in this audio piece:
Oscar Sanchez, One of the originators of the hunger strike and leader of the Southeast Youth Alliance
Audrey Harding, hunger striker and member of the United Neighbors of the 10th ward
William Guerrero, aka KiD, hunger striker
Yesenia Chavez, hunger striker
Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez, 25th Ward alderman
Photos taken and podcast produced by Richie Requena. In the header, protestors used this visual of a coffin to symbolize people in East Side who have suffered and continue to suffer from respiratory diseases caused by pollution. On top is another piece of art: a board with a drawing of the neighborhood with 30 nails – one nail dedicated for everyday that fasters did not eat.