Hunger Strike Protesting General Iron Hits One-Month Mark

“We have our children playing in [contaminated] baseball fields,” organizer Oscar Sanchez told Reset. “No one should have to go through this.”

North Side Scrap Shredder Faces Scrutiny From Lightfoot Administration
A photo of General Iron Industries on the North Side of Chicago taken on May 16, 2009. Patrick Houdek / Flickr
North Side Scrap Shredder Faces Scrutiny From Lightfoot Administration
A photo of General Iron Industries on the North Side of Chicago taken on May 16, 2009. Patrick Houdek / Flickr

Hunger Strike Protesting General Iron Hits One-Month Mark

“We have our children playing in [contaminated] baseball fields,” organizer Oscar Sanchez told Reset. “No one should have to go through this.”

It’s been one month since Chicago activists went on a hunger strike to protest the proposed relocation of a metal-scrapping operation in their Southeast Side backyard.

General Iron recently closed up its longtime Lincoln Park location after years of complaints about pollution and poor air quality. The company now wants to move to East 116th Street along the Calumet River. But the mostly Black and Brown residents there say industry has used the area as a dumping ground for too long, damaging residents’ health.

Reset checks in with organizers about what they’ve learned in the last month, and how they’re keeping their fight going.

GUESTS: Oscar Sanchez, cofounder of Southeast Youth Alliance

Gina Ramirez, co-chair of the Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke and member of the Southeast Environmental Task Force