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Fort Hancock

      THE PEOPLE ACROSS THE (RIO GRANDE) RIVER were just so elated that we were successful in keeping the (low level radioactive waste) site from Ft. Hancock. I think this situation just broadened and strengthened the bonds we had and have now. Those in El Porvenir were a large part of the victory because it showed that even though the river is a border, it really isn’t. In essence there are no borders in a situation of this nature.
      Grassroots groups traditionally come and go, and are usually very issue oriented. And besides the word, grassroots, we (EPISO of the Industrial Areas Foundation) like the word “institutionalized” because grassroots connotes a certain kind of image, and I think it’s important for everyone to understand that it wasn’t just a grassroots effort, it was something coming from
within the system as church-based, and family unit-based. One of the most important things we learned is that regular people who are part of these systems already can just go ahead and focus and tune in on these issues through their institutions. And what better institutions for justice than the church and the family?
      Once you have a self-interest in a situation, it becomes a prioritized issue for you and your family. Whereas, if someone else comes in and does the work for you, the appreciation is not there. Your involvement builds self-esteem and empowerment. Empowerment is so necessary because you develop a sense that nobody is going to walk over you and that you can succeed.