Caravan draws awareness

Saturday’s caravan proclaiming the fight for the environment was a great success in uniting the community support against polluting industries.

On Saturday, members and supporters of Protect Caswell held a rolling demonstration of support for the group’s goals of environmental justice and public health. The 17-vehicle caravan bedecked with signs, streamers and balloons carried scores of people down Yanceyville’s Main Street and back. 

Evangeline Gaudette, who organized the event, said, “I’m so proud of my neighbors who put in the time and effort to make our caravan a success.” 

Caravan participants reported that onlookers along the parade route waved in support.  Gaudette added, “As a community, we are showing that we will not back down to polluting industries. We are only getting stronger.”

Sunny weather favored Saturday’s event, which followed the latest social distancing and mask requirements outlined by the governor.

Protect Caswell member Pat Warren, speaking about her decision to join the caravan, said, “It was empowering to participate in an event where community members pulled together for the common purpose of preserving Caswell County's pristine environment.”

Lou Zeller, Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, brought a showing of support from other communities opposing the arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde and hundreds of other pollutants associated with asphalt plants. 

Zeller said, “For over 20 years, we have pressed the paving industry to do better, but so far they have refused to take practical steps to curb toxic pollution.” 

Zeller concluded with a promise to continue responding to community calls for help.

Protect Caswell is a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. BREDL was founded in 1984 by farmers, businesspeople and homemakers dedicated to protecting the High Country from a radioactive waste dump.