In the city of Cudahy, California—in southeast L.A. County—members of the SoCal Chapter of the National Writers Union joined picketing parents, students, residents, teachers, union leaders and activists. The group stood on a public sidewalk near a large empty lot that is said to be contaminated land. The protestors are concerned that the site will be the future home of a Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) elementary charter school in this working-class community.
Some contaminants alleged to have been found on the land and surrounding area include arsenic, which causes neurological damage and low-cognitive functioning in children, as well as high blood pressure, kidney damage, cancer and death in adults. Another contaminant said to have been found, PCE, causes cancer and impairs the immune and reproductive systems.
KIPP also intends to build a second site on land believed to be toxic and hazardous. According to the Cudahy Alliance for Justice flyer distributed to the public, Southern California-based KIPP, with the support of members of the City Council of Cudahy, is moving forward with this questionable plan.
We were picketing against the anti-union/privatization for profit aims of the charter school movement, in general, and because we believe that neither KIPP nor the City Council has provided evidence to the community that the contamination released into the air from construction will be minimized to protect the community. There is also little-to-no evidence, according to the picketers, that KIPP has followed protocol for site cleanup.
Further information can be requested on facebook at Cudahy Alliance for Justice, Twitter @cudahyalliance or via email at email@example.com.