Northwest Indiana Green Party
The Northwest Indiana Green Party (NWIGP) auxiliary party organization affiliated with the Indiana Green Party, serving the three Lake Michigan shoreline counties, Lake, Porter, and LaPorte.
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About 40 current and potential political activists, including 20 or so who raised their hands when asked if they were running for office in 2018, attended a half-day candidates’ training program hosted by the not-for-profit RISE NWI.
“First find your why,” instructed keynote speaker and former Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Christina Hale in challenging would-be candidates to look to their hearts for the reason they’re running, and then perfect ways to express that reason sincerely and succinctly.
The NWIGP is working with RISE NWI on sharing training materials and was represented at the Nov. 4 session by NWIGP Treasurer Joseph Conn.
“We want to be the political arm of what you’re doing here,” Conn also told about 50 attendees of a meeting Nov. 8 in Michigan City of what was billed as panel discussion and listening session, “How Pollution Impacts Our Health: A Community Conversation.”
The event was organized by Moms Clean Air Force and the Sierra Club and hosted by P.A.R.C, an organization and venue for community action in Michigan City.
“There are brownfield sites all over the country in neighborhoods of people of color,” said panelist Dominique Edwards of the Michigan City Social Justice Group. Edwards said she grew up in the industrialized Eastport neighborhood of Michigan City. She described how the arc of her environmental awareness began to rise when she tried to help address food shortage and nutritional issues in her community by promoting local gardening. It was then she learned the soil in her neighborhood was contaminated. “We can no longer grow our own food in Eastport,” Edwards said.
Rob Johnson, also a Michigan City activist and MCSJG member, said one in five children on the city’s west side tested positive for lead poisoning. But Johnson said he first learned about the lead contamination in his community from a national Reuters investigative report that included a segment focused on lead contamination in East Chicago, also an industrial city 40 miles west along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Lake County.
There, the EPA and IDEM support an ambitious, multi-million dollar program to dig up and replace the water service lines to 400 homes in a Super Fund site where soil was contaminated with lead, most likely from a long-since shuttered lead smelting plant.
It’s shocking just how little information people have” about lead poisoning, Johnson said. Soil contamination can occur from microscopic particles blown in the air and landing in the soil, but also from remnants from long-banned lead-based paint and from aging lead and galvanized water pipes, Johnson said.
With lead abatement costs running upwards of $10,000 per house, “cities that are already cash strapped shouldn’t be responsible for decades-old problems,” he said.
The NWI Greens can be found on Facebook.