In the November 2017 issue of The Carriage Stone, Shama Omer wrote “We have a responsibility to stand up for those who made sure there would be grass and soil for us to walk on. What an honor it is to live on this land, we must acknowledge that privilege and those who are paying dearly for us to have it.” As a form of solidarity and aid for the Ramapough, the Session is sponsoring a showing of the Film, Mann vs. Ford on
January 20 at 6:30 PM in Murchison Hall. This film documents The Ramapough Indians of New Jersey as they battle the toxic legacy of the Ford Motor Company in Ringwood.
The Facebook page for Mann v. Ford says,
The Ramapough Mountain Indians have lived in the hills and forests of northern New Jersey, less than 40 miles from midtown Manhattan, for hundreds of years. In the 1960s, their neighbor in nearby Mahwah, the Ford Motor Company, bought their land and began dumping toxic waste in the woods and abandoned iron mines surrounding their homes.
Ford has acknowledged the dumping. In the 1980s, the Ramapough’s homeland was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of federally monitored Superfund sites – and supposedly cleaned up by Ford. However, thousands of tons of toxic waste were left behind.
In 2006, the residents of Upper Ringwood, after suffering for years from a range of mysterious ailments, including deadly cancers, skin rashes and high rates of miscarriage, filed a mass action lawsuit seeking millions of dollars from Ford as compensation for their suffering. Ford denied all responsibility for the illnesses devastating the community and claimed its flawed cleanup had fully complied with all EPA rules.
MANN v. FORD tells the story of a small community’s epic battle against two American giants: the Ford Motor Company and the Environmental Protection Agency, which failed to ensure that Ford cleaned the land of deadly toxins and erroneously declared the community safe and clean of toxic waste.
Please make plans to attend. A donation will be taken up to support the Ramapough and the legal defense fund in their recent court case with the City of Mahwah, NJ. More information will be coming closer to the date.