by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

After national celebrities have stopped off in East Palestine, Ohio, to get their photo-ops with the local residents who continue to suffer from the effects of blowing up derailed train cars carrying toxic chemicals, local residents are starting to form their own group, knowing that the news cycle will soon end with little to no help coming from the U.S. Government or the corporations that caused this disaster.

The N.Y. Post actually ran a great investigative report this past weekend that is getting a lot of attention in the Alternative Media today, as they interviewed local residents.

Jami Cozza, an East Palestine resident who’s emerged as one of the town’s leaders, at a town hall she organized with River Valley Organizing. Image Source.

One of those residents is Jami Cozza, who has now teamed up with River Valley Organizing, and held their own “town hall” meeting with local residents.

Leading the charge to fight for the community is 46-year-old Jami Cozza, a lifelong East Palestinian who counts 47 close relatives here. Many of them are facing health issues from the chemical fire as well as the psychic toll of their town becoming, in the words of a scientist visiting the area Thursday, the new “Love Canal” — a reference to the Niagara Falls, NY, neighborhood that became a hotbed issue in 1978 because people were getting sick from living above a contaminated waste dump.

Although famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich held a town hall Friday night, many locals say the fierce and forceful Cozza beat her to the punch.

“I’ve known Jami my whole life and she is very sharp,” Jason Trosky, 47, a lifelong East Palestine resident, told The Post. “We’re lucky to have her. Brockovich came with her lawyer in tow. Will she help? Maybe, but she’s also trying to stay relevant. Jami will be here for us after the circus leaves town.”

Cozza, 46, who’s lived in this small Ohio Valley village near the Pennsylvania border for most of her life, has her work cut out for her.

Her eyes fill with tears when she talks about how her 91-year-old widowed grandmother tried to clean the chemicals off the furniture in the house she’s lived in for 56 years — before giving up and moving to a hotel room where she can’t sleep at night.

“My fiancé was so sick that I almost took him to the hospital,” Cozza told The Post while sitting on the porch of her aunt’s home on East Clark Street a few hours before she led her own town hall meeting Thursday.

“Not only am I fighting for my family’s life, but I feel like I’m fighting for the whole town’s life. When I’m walking around hearing these stories, they’re not from people. They’re from my family. They’re from my friends that I’ve have grown up with,” she said. “People are desperate right now. We’re dying slowly. They’re poisoning us slowly.”

Though President Trump, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, former US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and Brockovich visited East Palestine in the past week, Cozza and other residents said they know the media spotlight will fade. She’s determined to keep the pressure on once her town becomes old news.

“We’re not going to shut up,” she said. “We’re not weak but we need support. We’re here for the long run. Trump came here and then he was gone. What’s he going to do for us, really?

We’re going to do it ourselves and we’re organizing from the ground up.” (Source.)

River Valley Organizing, the group working with Jami Cozza, has already been in the community for years trying to fight back against corporate tyranny. From their website:

Our Challenge

Our beautiful valley is polluted by petrochemical waste, our communities are polluted by poverty, and our friends and neighbors are polluted by pharmaceutical companies making money off selling us drugs and prison profiteers making money off locking us up. Economic disinvestment, racism and disenfranchisement make our towns ripe for exploitation by corporate interests hell-bent on profit, with no regard for human life, a healthy environment, or sustainable communities.

Cozza has a message for her fellow residents, and it is a message that ALL of us in the United States need to hear right now if we are going to be successful in building community support to fight back against the Globalists, and that message is that we need to put aside our political differences and unite to fight back against the corporations we are all at war with today.

Cozza and the hundreds of residents at a town hall organized by Cozza and River Valley Organizing have not been impressed by the railway company’s efforts to help the town — particularly the $1,000 checks, which several residents told The Post they only got after signing something saying they would not ask for more.

“I don’t care if you hate me because I beat you up years ago or not,” Cozza told the town meeting underneath a big sign reading “Make Norfolk Southern Pay!’”

“We have to put all our differences aside and show the world we are East Palestine Strong. We are at war with corporate greed. We need accountability and we need answers. We are here to make our town safe. And by the way, don’t tell us we’re aren’t getting sick, that it’s all in our head. We are getting sick.” (Source.)

Rather than relying upon the railroad or the government to identify the problem, Cozza and River Valley Organizing brought in their own panel of experts, with some pretty impressive credentials.

Cozza’s hearing included a panel with scientists from the University of Pittsburgh, an environmental lawyer, and a veteran Ohio hazardous materials expert. None of them painted a rosy picture of the town’s future, despite Norfolk Southern’s insistence that the area is safe and will be cleaned up and tested more.

The experts listened as desperate residents asked about the safety of breastfeeding their babies and getting water from their wells. Planting season is coming soon in an area where many farm. One woman cried when she spoke about her worry over her pregnant goats.

Stephen Lester, a Harvard-trained toxicologist at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice with 40 years of experience, said the hot zone at East Palestine was among the most concerning he has ever seen — and stressed the dangers of the chemical dioxin that was released during the controlled burn and that will be embedded in the soil and water.

“Until the government takes this seriously there are going to be real problems,” Lester said. “It’s criminal that the EPA didn’t come forward with information about dioxin and start testing for it.” (Source.)

Here is a brief update I put together from on-the-ground interviews of people in East Palestine and how they are suffering.

This is on our Bitchute channel.

Comment on this article at

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