Environmental and social justice resolutions needed for Wausau

Why are we now seeing a surge of calls for acknowledgement and justice for marginalized and underrepresented groups in our community? Business as usual has failed them and we won’t be silent anymore.

What’s best for business and the Chamber of Commerce hasn’t trickled down to poor, low income, working class, and people of color. The economic success and cultural dominance of the top one percent hasn’t created a community of love, empathy, and understanding for all.

The heart of gold image of the Chamber is tarnished by it’s generous contributions to politicians to support an undemocratic filibuster that limits voting rights and blocks a $15 minimum wage that could raise 32 million out of poverty.

Its successful challenge to the Governor’s stay at home measure has most likely contributed to the over 8,000 COVID deaths since the ruling, and they threaten to bring suit to any further life saving mask mandates.

The cries of the forgotten are being overpowered by the whines of business advocates and the 40 percenters.

Business as usual has prioritized high end development as the trough from which crucial social programs must depend for funding, while hundreds wait for a roof over their heads and  thousands of all races and sexual identities struggle against a poverty rate exceeding the state’s by 50%. Yet wealth for the top one percent continues to explode — by over $25 trillion nationally.

Business as usual tries to convince us that companies such as 3M have our best interests at heart. The practice of this $133 billion multinational has resulted in billions of dollars of environmental lawsuits due to sickness and wrongful deaths correlated to their dumping of toxic chemicals into our environment, including military bases. Documents suggest they knew about the toxicity for decades. In Wausau, the stream of dioxin trickling into our river appears to trace back to their oldest standing plant in the world. Convince the families of the 6 dead and 143 made ill working in and living next to the Crestline plant of the altruism of these industries.

Five of the last six contaminated sites in Wausau have been found in poor working class and diverse neighborhoods.

Business as usual has us wrongly believing that preventing pollution to move downwind, downstream, and downhill destroys jobs and the economy. Studies indicate no such substantial cost to jobs while benefits to health exceed minimal job loss by 300%.

Business as usual has us believe resolutions that call for acknowledgement of wrongdoings, participation of the most disproportionately impacted, and justice are telling people what to think. Yet remaining silent tells us that believing in the myth that business as usual benefits us.

End business as usual. Act on the calls of the citizens living around industrial sites to stop their expansion. Aggressively seek public funding and private collaborations to support the needs of poor and working class Wausonians. Pass the resolutions for environmental and social justice.

When the bottom rises, everyone is lifted in a community for all!