Campaigner has condemned immoral conditions in Louisiana town where chemical plant is tied to alarming cancer risk
The US civil rights leader and moral revival campaigner the Rev William Barber has brought his national movement to Louisiana for a series of events on corporate air pollution tied to the Guardians year-long series Cancer Town.
Barber is appearing at a Guardian-curated town hall event in New Orleans on Friday and will visit Reserve on Saturday morning.
Residents of the small town face the highest risk of cancer due to airborne toxicity, according to US government science. The pollution is tied to a chemical plant the only place in America to produce the synthetic rubber neoprene that emits the compound chloroprene listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a likely carcinogen. The plant is owned by the Japanese chemical company Denka, which purchased it from DuPont in 2015.
Barber, the leader of the Poor Peoples Campaign movement and one of the high-profile voices in the Moral Mondays movement, described conditions in Reserve as tragic immoral evil in an article for the Guardian published earlier this month.
You can watch a live stream of events here:
The town hall in New Orleans, at the First Presbyterian church, will feature a roundtable discussion with Robert Taylor, president of the Concerned Citizens of St John; Wilma Subra, a chemist and technical adviser with Louisiana Environmental Action Network; Sharon Lavigne, director of Rise St James; Ruhan Nagra, executive director of the University Network for Human Rights; Larry Sorapuru, councilman-at-large for Saint John Parish; and the Rev Barber.
Barber will travel to Saint John Parish on Saturday morning to visit residents of Reserve and observe the Denka plant up close.