The Story Of Dottie Bow
Capitalism is slowly killing us. The economic policies of the 1% place profit above all else. From energy exploitation, to pesticides poisoning our food supply, the pursuit of profit endangers all species on this planet. Everyone reading these words either has first hand knowledge, or knows someone who has been negatively impacted by the rapacious nature of our current system. Millions of stories told and to be told, however it is one story that answers the question, “why go to the Climate March?” The story of Dottie Bow.
I met Dottie Bow in the fall of 2004, when we worked together at Wawa. In 2005 we both began our social activism around an apartment complex named Brookview in Claymont, Delaware. Brookview was a 50 acre post WWII complex that housed mostly working class people, immigrants from South America, and a good deal of elderly on fixed incomes. It was here that Dottie and I began to see firsthand the exploitation endured by the workers. Mold, substandard maintenance, and an utter disregard, by both the landlord and the state, for the voice of those forced, by circumstance to live there. We began to see the decaying impact Capitalism and Capitalists had on both the working class and the environment around them. Nothing however galvanized us against this impact more than Dottie’s diagnosis of a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4). GBM is the most aggressive form of brain cancer.
Claymont, De sits at the bottom of what I like to call the “neurotoxin superhighway” that runs between Eddystone, Pa. and Claymont, along the western shores of the Delaware River. Defunct factories, active chemical plants, such as Honeywell, oil refineries,and lastly, the newly defunct Evraz Steel, bully the landscape. The people in this area are mostly working class poor, as those with the means live far away from here.
It is Evraz Steel that figures most prominently in this story. For decades it had been spewing the byproducts of steel production and recycling, magnesium and manganese into the surrounding air by the ton, day in and day out. Residents had been complaining about the manganese dust and air pollution since forever. But our most Capitalist and crooked state of Delaware has turned a deaf ear, despite empirical evidence that proximity to heavy industry causes health problems. These problems include cancers, neurological disorders, and other maladies. To date, only a legally weak air monitoring program, now as defunct as the plant, has ever been enacted by state officials. We elect these same officials to protect us, but they vacillate as strong environmental programs deplete the coffers and the almighty vote of the 1%.
Dottie lost her fight to brain cancer in April of 2013. At the time of her death, she lost all of her hair, most of her cognitive function, and about 100 lbs of body weight. She was a shadow of that bright “talk to a lamppost” spirit that I married. She is still sorely missed.
Nine months of soul wrenching depression, coupled with years of other mental health issues, left me with a need for change, a need for vengeance against the Capitalist plans and policies that led to Dottie’s demise. We could never prove it was the plant that caused the illness, although a California lawyer began snooping around and disappeared after residents refused to pay them 60% of the judgement, no suit was ever filed. I know in my heart that Evraz and our entire Capitalist environmental nightmare were to blame.
I’m going to the March on September 21, 2014 to join others who have lost loved ones to this system. I’m going, to share Dottie’s story with thousands from all over the country, as I’m certain I’m not alone. I’m going to the Climate March to say that we know our system is complicit, through purely for profit policies that are killing our planet, our loved ones, and humanity as a whole. Won’t you join us?