A hunger strike is now over for three people protesting a plan to open a metal shredding facility on Chicago’s Southeast Side, which has a history of industrial pollution.
Yesenia Chavez, 26, Oscar Sanchez, 23, and high school teacher Chuck Stark, 37, endured severe headaches, muscle cramps and extreme fatigue during their month-long protest against what they say is a clear case of environmental racism.
They say they called off the protest due to a lack of response from the city. “We kind of perceived that they would let people die,” said Stark.
The hunger strikers vow to continue opposing the shredder being built by Reserve Management Group (RMG), which formed a partnership with General Iron, the operator of a controversial scrap facility on the North Side that shut down at the end of 2020 after years of complaints from neighbors there about noxious fumes and dust.
The activists are determined to keep the city of Chicago’s Public Health Department from issuing a final permit needed for the new shredder to start operations.
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Linda Lutton covers Chicago neighborhoods at WBEZ. Follow her @lindalutton.