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POEM ON ECOLOGICAL DEVASTATION FOR POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN: A NATIONAL CALL FOR MORAL REVIVAL  (LEXINGTON, KY; NOVEMBER 2018)

Some Things are Hard, These Things are Wrong     Mikaela Curry

30 times the sludge of the Exxon Valdez spilled 18 years ago into Martin County’s ground, and the Kentucky folks who live there still can’t drink the water that runs brown/ because it’s poisoned and it’s dirty, from that mercury and arsenic-laced slurry/ left behind by a business that pocketed the gains, while the people left behind have dealt with all the pain/ and just a couple weeks ago down the Carolina shore, the water there ran thick and gray with coal ash flooding more/ and we all know all the problems that they’ve had up there in Flint, their water full of lead with that yellow-reddish tint/ and the costs, they are the highest where the people have the least, and the people with the money know the palms they have to grease/ it’s a problem that you’ll find anywhere you look – the poor pay the costs and the rich get off the hook/ and our elected officials may often be at fault, at best they seem indifferent, when they should be outraged and distraught/ – that somebody makes money while it poisons all our wells, seeps into our guts and wreaks havoc on our cells

some things are hard, these things are wrong/ people in power who prey on the weak, and call themselves strong

our earth and its resources are not only for the wealthy, and what makes someone a profit, should not make the rest of us unhealthy/ they’ll chip away the mountains using your own hands, and burn away the profits they’re taking from your land/ while dust and metals drain into the water that we drink, they’ll charge us for the poison that pours into our sink/ it’s perpetuated by a political enslavement that convinces a whole country there is no other arrangement/ the rich and the greedy pay their way out of trouble, while the earth and the poor will pay for it double/ with all that they have, their lives and their time, and the ones at the top still tell the others to climb /and tell lies that say there’s not enough or a place – like there’s not houses that sit empty and food that rots to waste

some things are hard, these things are wrong/ people in power who prey on the weak, and call themselves strong

there’s a network of money and political will that doesn’t care about clean water or toxic spills/ their plan is set in motion and they treat it like a game, but degradation is not progress and the poor are not to blame/ they divide us to enslave us to the systems that deprive us of our basic human rights – they profit, and we suffer, and they tell us not to fight / people shrug their shoulders, say there is nothing we can do, but these words show a complicity and we know it isn’t true/ it is practiced and intentional when they shame you if you care because they’ve got to keep you obligated to the burden that you bear/ it’s a problem that plagues our country everywhere you turn, but it’s not too late to change, it’s not too late to learn

some things are hard, these things are wrong/ now that you know it, you don’t have to go along

 it sounds like a cliché, but it also still is true- the power’s in the people, and the people starts with you/ so don’t let all this injustice keep you from calling out their bluffs, together we can stand and say we’ve had enough/ environmental justice is not a naïve or ridiculous pipe dream just because it limits someone’s money-making scheme/ we are standing at the crossroads of a critical juncture, looking at our system and its failing infrastructure/ they try to hold us hostage with a system broken down, but we can change at any point, and there are so many solutions to be found:

renewable energy, a green economy transition/ elected representatives with ethical positions, that understand and value environmental systems/ understanding they’re a value to people everywhere, and our basic human right to clean water, earth and air

some things are hard, so many things are wrongbut together we are capable, unstoppable and strong

 

OP-ED IN LOUISVILLE COURIER JOURNAL (FEBRUARY 2019)

“The RECLAIM Act alone would have brought $1 billion back to coal mining regions in Central Appalachia. But, despite strong outcry from his constituents – including 16 local governments which passed local resolutions urging his support – McConnell did not push for a vote for these programs that would directly benefit his constituents. Despite his enormous influence in Congress, he did nothing. Much like the miners suffering from black lung, he allowed these measures to die without a voice…When McConnell speaks up for coal, it always seems to align with the people profiting in the fossil fuel industry and not the hard- working people he is supposed to represent…With each passing day, Kentuckians are wondering if change can bring us better than what we have, including elected representatives that have a voice for the people. Certainly, we deserve better than a politician who fails to help us in the short term and
loudly undermines long-term solutions. McConnell may be a friend of coal, but he’s no friend to its people.”