Organizing in Youngstown: Planning [Day 1]

Hello everyone.  This week I’ve headed to Youngstown to work with local organizers  to help define what they want to work on and how we as a larger network can help.   I got in last night and had fun learning about Youngstown’s efforts to redevelop their city to be carbon neutral with a group called “Resettling Youngstown.”  Then I had some locally grown brunch with friends and hung out downtown and heard John’s new anti-fracking single:  “Hit the road, Frack” which I’ll have up on our site ASAP.  I’m ready to plan with the organizers here how we’re going to Sttop Fracking! in Youngstown and all Mahoning.

But why here?…

There are so many towns across Ohio, and really across PA, NY, the west, and around the world that are under attack from fracking.  So why would I choose to go here?  Right now I believe that due large amount of self-organizing in the community, the impact of the string of earthquakes leading to a 4.0 that has the general public and elected officials shocked and angry, and the intense local and national media coverage makes Youngstown a perfect candidate for launching a successful campaign against the industry: a campaign to ban fracking.

Youngstown organizers initial victory to create enough public outrage to close the first injection well led to the accelerated testing that closed 4 more within days.  This victory has energized and expanded the campaign against fracking across many states.  So while many places are suffering more like Dimock, PA where fracking poisoned an entire town leaving them with no safe drinking water, Youngstown is a chance to take a leap forward and unite citizens to address the imbalance of power between people and corporations and take back our hard fought democratic freedoms.  Already Youngstown is using their capacity to reach out to smaller townships like Coitsville that has an injection well next to an adult disabilities care center.  Increasing their confidence and capacity will affect Youngstown and many more surrounding areas.

Well today is our first meeting to determine goals, understand how we fit into  bigger picture of allies, enemies, local state and national factors, and create a model for how we can pick and win our campaigns.  I’m super excited because this is a big step towards OhioFracktion’s goal of supporting communities directly impacted by fracking.  Folks are definitely fed up with the gas industry, and realize that they have the power to do whatever they want.  Stay tuned!

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2 thoughts on “Organizing in Youngstown: Planning [Day 1]

  1. Thank you so much, Ben, for sharing your knowledge and energy with those who were in attendance. The comment you made tonight about Youngstown having the world’s attention right now was incredibly empowering.

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