Pesticide Survivor and Environmental Activist Needs Help
Organized by: Jeannie Economos
Sixty-two year old Linda Lee isn't asking for much help - just enough to replace her aging and leaking roof. She had been saving to replace it herself but recently had to cover funeral expenses for her granddaughter (and mother of her great-grandchildren) who passed away last month. Linda already raises some of her grandchildren (Linda's daughter died last year) and is now taking in her great-grandkids too.
Linda is a brave and tireless community leader but was also a victim of one of the worst cases of economic injustice in our nation's recent history.
Linda Lee and thousands of other African American men and women worked on the banks of Lake Apopka (near Disneyworld) providing wintertime produce to feed the United States. To make crops grow in that hot and humid climate, farmers would drench fields with pesticides. Often, Linda and her colleagues would be directly sprayed by aerial crop dusters.
In 1998, the farms on which Linda and the others worked were forced to close because of the environmental damage they inflicted on Lake Apopka. But the government paid the farmers over $100 million to do so. What did the farmers do next? Did they distribute the money to the people who worked their fields for generations? No. They evicted workers from farm-owned housing and fired everyone.
Ten years later, workers like Linda began to feel the effects of working in such a toxic atmosphere. From Lupus to cancer, both the workers and their children have battled an array of pesticide-related afflications.
Linda Lee has worked to find some semblance of justice for her peers. She has traveled the state to raise awareness and is a pillar of her community.