Churches and other places of worship helped strike down an industry-backed ballot amendment and delay a massive plastics project.
By Sara Sneath and Carly Berlin
Reposted from Southerly Mag.
On All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, religious leaders from multiple denominations gathered in a sugar cane field in St. James Parish where evidence suggests enslaved African Americans were buried. In 2018, archaeological consultants for Formosa, a company that plans to build a giant plastics manufacturing facility on the site, discovered unmarked gravesites.
Bishop Michael Duca of the Diocese of Baton Rouge said he attended the ceremony to bless the graves — as is tradition the day after All Saints’ — and to make residents who have protested the proposed plant feel heard. “Caring for the earth is about caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said. “You’re not just building on so many acres of sugarcane. This is their home.”
Duca was among the clergy invited to the ceremony by Sharon Lavigne, a St. James Parish resident who created the grassroots organization Rise St. James in an effort to stop Formosa from building near her house. Lavigne said it was important for religious leaders to see what is happening in her community. “I’m hoping that they can pray with us and help us to solve this problem,” Lavigne said. “That’s what I asked them to do when we were at the gravesite. I asked them to join forces with us.”
Read the entire article: How faith leaders organized to win two major environmental victories in Louisiana