Team For the MASSes worked in Burrillville, Rhode Island since Sunday, July 13th.
While we were here, we were working with this outstanding women, Kathy. Prior to coming here, we had no information whatsoever about Kathy, except for her home phone number.
On Monday, July 14th we planned to meet up with Kathy at her home around 1 pm. After riding our bikes from Slatersville Congregational Church in North Smithfield, RI to the far north-west corner of Burrillville, RI, we made it to her house. The only way we could identify Kathy’s house was the giant “No Compressor Station” sign located in her front yard along the fence. Her house was built by her grandfather, and is still in Kathy’s possession three generations later. The best part about riding up to Kathy’s house was the enthusiasm in which she greeted us with! Her face lit up with excitement as she saw six “kids,” as she calls us, ride up to meet her. Since the church we are staying at in Slatersville is 12 miles from Kathy’s house, we decided to spend the night there and really take advantage of the short time we had together. After we put our belongings down into the unfinished part of the house, we all gathered in the tiny kitchen, the main part of her home, to begin getting to know one another. We started with typical introductions and then Kathy began to speak.
Words cannot describe Kathy to the extent of how great she is. There is nothing fake in her voice, her stories, or her attitude; she is always speaking from the heart. Kathy is not an environmentalist, a scientist, a tree hugger and all other stereotypical categories of people pursuing a cleaner and sustainable future, though she
does take a lot of effort to recycle and conserve her resources. Kathy is just looking out for herself and her neighbors! One day, a member of the group FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas) was going door to door, canvassing about the proposed expansion of the Spectra pipeline and he wanted to get community outreach to help stop this project. When he reached Kathy’s door, her enthusiasm and general concern was there, but he suspected she wouldn’t get involved after their initial conversation. To his surprise, Kathy right away put herself in charge of the project. No one else in the town of Burrillville were doing anything and she saw this added compressor station to be unjust. Something needed to be done and someone needed to stop it. In the past few months, Kathy educated herself on the compressor station expansion proposal, the harms that already occur from the existing compressor station, and the greenhouse gas emissions.
Kathy IS this fight. Her work is starting from the bare back bones, trying to educate her neighbors, trying to get community involvement, and trying to get support from other organizations. Myself and my teammates had the opportunity to canvas the neighborhoods of Burrillville with Kathy and see her work her magic! She currently has eight people that she picks up, they do not have cars and cannot drive, to their meetings every other week. If she had the means, Kathy would pick up every single citizen in Burrillville to come to events and meetings related to this project. Her passion and devotion to this cause is inspiring and I’ve gained so much knowledge from her in just the past four days! I, and all of my team members, are honored to be working with her. Our time here in Burrillville, Rhode Island wouldn’t be the same without Kathy and we wouldn’t want it any other way!