Recent Bhopal talks at US colleges

Berkeley, April 14, 2004: Rashida Bee and Champa Devi, two survivors of the Bhopal disaster, and Sathyu Sarangi, a longtime activist for justice in Bhopal and managing Director of the Sambhavna Clinic, spoke at the University of California, Berkeley in an event organized by the Association of South Asian Political Activists and the South Asian Development Alternatives Network. Rashida Bee spoke movingly about her personal experiences during the disaster, recounting how she had looked at thousands of the dead, trying to find her seven lost family members, and the subsequent deaths of six of her family members to cancer caused, she says, by their gas exposure. More than 50 students attended the event, during which the survivors also discussed the international campaign for justice in Bhopal, and their hopes for the coming year.

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Penn State, April 6, 2004:

Diane Wilson, a longtime activist for justice in Bhopal, among other causes, spoke to students at Penn State University. The World Affairs Forum, sponsored by the International Hospitality Council as part of its Community Outreach Program, invited Wilson to share her past 15 years of experience as an activist. About 40 students attended the event.

Wilson, a mother of four, became an activist after she learned that the bay near her hometown of Seadrift, Texas, was threatened by pollution. As a fourth-generation fisherwoman, she and others in the town depended on the bay for their livelihood.

“A fisherman with three kinds of cancer handed me an [Associated Press]article saying that my county was number one in the nation for toxic disposal,” she said. “I had never had that kind of information before.”

Wilson recounted how her activism has taken her throughout the world, including Bhopal. One of her most painful learning experiences came while she was riding a bus in India, she said. “There was a man running after the bus I was in, yelling, ‘Testify! Testify!’ He shoved a white piece of cloth in the bus window,” she said. “The cloth was covered in blood and contained pictures of dead babies. It was my first painful growth.”

One of the students who attended the talk, Simon Lobdell, said Wilson is inspirational. “It is a pretty awesome thing to see people take on pollution through direct action like Diane Wilson,” he said.

To learn more about Diane Wilson and her past activism for Bhopal, click on the links below. To read about her talk in the Collegian, Penn State’s student newspaper, click here.

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