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Hidden with code "Submitted as Feature"
News :: Environment
Touched by the Mayor: Racism, Classism and the BU BioLab
26 Jan 2006
Modified: 02:03:42 AM
Over 30 members of BU student community and Boston area turned out for a panel discussion of the BU Bio lab on Tuesday night. The joint Federal and University funded level 4 Lab is on track to be built in the South End starting this spring so that viruses and lethal bacteria such as Ebola, anthrax, hemorrhagic fever and other “unknowns” can be researched in sometimes classified experiments. The incalcuable risks, enormous costs and unanswer community concerns has citizens and activist groups vowing to shut the City promoted project down.
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Tuesdays Panel: Racism, Classism and the BU BioLab
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Tuesdays Panel: Racism, Classism and the BU BioLab
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Tuesdays Panel: Racism, Classism and the BU BioLab
Long time community organizer Klare Allen of Safety Net gave a moving overview of issues already facing the residents of Roxbury. She showed a map of hazardous waste sites, garbage transfer stations and the diesel bus depots that have degraded the health of residents for decades. Klare gave excellent illustrations of the gross disparities between the jobs and resources available in Roxbury verses other privileged communities.

Klare briefed the audience on the history of organizing in Roxbury and some of its dificulties including the lack of support from church leadership and others who had gotten "touched by the mayor". She also described how years of neglect, exploitation and racist media has been internalized by people living in the neighborhood.

She then gave a powerful list of community concerns about the lab including the delivery of deadly agents by Fed Ex and the impossibility of instantly evacuating an urban community in the event of a plague or other incurable disease release.

Patria Hynes a Professor of Environmental Health and resident of the area near the lab site effectively discredited all of the selling points for the project and gave some terrifying examples of bio lab mishaps. It was pointed out that the anthrax from the attacks that killed 5 including US postmen was traced to the military lab at fort Detrick Maryland.

Norm Faramelli a Social ethics professor continued to raise the alarm of siteing the facility in a densely populated urban area. Norm highlighted that the line between offensive biological weapon development and defensive terror research was blured or nonexistant.

City Counselor Chuck Turner dove into the Larger issues of city funding and planning and opened the forum for questions. There were comments and questions about where labor organizations in trades like construction and service workers stood on the project.

Organized by the Christian Activists United for Social and Environmental Justice and the BU Peace and Justice project this panel is part of a growing and diverse campaign of actions to raise awareness about the BioLab and the ongoing struggle for race, class, community, environmental and economic justice in Boston.

Contact:
CAUSE Justice kdmillay (at) bu.edu
Peace and Justice Project mauraj (at) bu.edu

Upcoming event:
Roxbury Immersion Day
Saturday February 4th, 1pm @ first Church of Roxbury
Meet at BU Marsh Plaza @12pm

Other groups working on the Bio Lab:
http://www.bostonmobilization.org
http://www.sunshine-project.org
http://www.ace-ej.org
http://www.justicewithpeace.org/index.php?target=campaigns&mycampaign=BI
http://www.wilpfboston.org/
http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/45115
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