On January 17th, three representatives of Worcester's Mothers Out Front team met with the Worcester Mayor and Superintendent in the Mayor's office. Worcester's Mothers Out Front co-coordinators, Gaylen Moore and Patricia Kirkpatrick, worked for weeks with the Mayor and Superintendent regarding the gas leak audit, commissioned by Mothers Out Front in December 2018, to invite them to a dialogue on this issue. Joined by our newest member of the team, Mary Flynn, the three moms sat down with Mayor Petty and Superintendent Binienda to talk about the work the Worcester moms have been doing on the issue of unrepaired gas leaks in the city.
Encouraged by the momentum of gathering over eighty petition signatures from Worcester residents to address the issue of gas leaks over the summer, the Worcester team conducted a gas leak audit in early December 2018 to confirm the existence of gas leaks around select Worcester Public School buildings. The gas leak audit confirmed the existence of gas leaks within 50 feet of the five school buildings and offered a few recommendations for the school administration and Eversource. The meeting with the Mayor and Superintendent gave the moms the opportunity to share the findings and recommendations of the audit, educate both the Mayor and Superintendent about the risks of unrepaired gas leaks, as well as talk about the obligation that utilities have to repair gas leaks within 50 feet of school zones. It was the first time that the moms had the opportunity to sit down with two important decision makers in the City of Worcester and secure their support towards the goal of fixing leaks around school zones. It was also the first opportunity that both the Mayor and Superintendent had to hear about the mission and organizing of Mothers Out Front Worcester and be introduced to our moms.
The Worcester team is excited and encouraged to have the support of the Mayor and Superintendent, going into the planning of a community-wide gas leak forum on March 2nd at the YWCA of Central Massachusetts. The main goals of the forum are to give the public more information about the importance of this work, outline the risks that unrepaired gas leaks pose to our children's health, and our climate via field experts, and hear from local organizers about important environmental justice work. The moms are energized to continue building momentum towards the goals of fixing these gas leaks, as well as engaging mothers and others in the community as we continue to put climate change at the forefront of discussions in Worcester.