The Last Burn Season video series: Enough is enough

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. This video marks the end of our Last Burn Season mini-docuseries. Over the course of five months, the project laid bare the undue harm sugarcane burning imposes on the Glades communities south of Lake Okeechobee. Leading us from Belle Glade to Pahokee to Lake Harbor and South Bay, this series featured community members who shared their personal experiences living in the shadow of sugarcane burning. Residents of the Glades are proud members of a vibrant community. There’s a yearning for the outside world to see and embrace the rich [...]

2022-11-18T09:35:38-05:00November 21st, 2022|"The Last Burn Season" Video Series|

The Last Burn Season video series: “Isn’t our life worth it?”

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. "I don't blame the people for not having hope, but I've got hope for them. I'm standing in the gap for my people."— Kina Phillips Kina Phillips knows what it is to sacrifice. At her home in South Bay, Florida, all she has to do is look past the fence line in her backyard for a reminder of the largest agricultural influence south of Lake Okeechobee, and the risks it poses to residents of the Glades communities. Sugarcane stretches for miles into the horizon. When the cane is burned [...]

The Last Burn Season Video Series: “I’m making plans to relocate.”

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. “It impacts my quality of life, not only health-wise but my social life... I'm gradually making plans to relocate.” — Ras Benjahman Howard Stephens, known to his friends as Ras Benjahman, lives in an oasis at his home in Lake Harbor on the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee. His yard bursts with greenery — trees and plants lovingly cultivated into his own private jungle. The upkeep takes time, but the gardening and the daily maintenance of his small farm are welcome toils. He is emphatically fulfilled by the life [...]

The Last Burn Season Video Series: A love letter to the people of Belle Glade

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. “When people come to Belle Glade they don’t fall in love with anything else first, but the people.” — Robert Mitchell Robert Mitchell knows that the true soul of Belle Glade is in the people who live there. From an empty plot of land where his late grandmother once owned a beloved restaurant, Essie Mae’s Cafe, he makes a firm declaration: “We have a saying here in Belle Glade that her soil is her fortune. I’m here to tell you that her soil AND her people are her fortune.” [...]

The Last Burn Season Video Series: “They need to be better neighbors”

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season.   “People should be running the government, not corporations.” — Fred Brockman The choice between sending a child to school or keeping them home to protect their health is one that many Floridians experienced for the first time as Covid-19 ravaged the country. Yet, in the Glades communities south of Lake Okeechobee, it’s a dilemma parents have faced for decades. During the 22 years that Anne Haskell taught at Glades Central Community High School, she watched families struggle when sugarcane burning in nearby fields filled the air around the school [...]

The Last Burn Season Video Series: “We’re too sick from the burning of the cane”

Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. “Belle Glade, South Bay and Pahokee is a nice place to raise your kids, and live, and to work and to play. But we’re not able to do that, ‘cause we’re too sick from the burning of the cane.” — Hester Harrell From a hospital bed in Belle Glade, Florida, 53-year old Hester Harrell breathes slowly and deliberately. She’s no stranger to the confinement of these walls, where complications from gastroparesis, diabetes and asthma have frequently landed her over the years. As a Belle Glade native, Hester has lived in [...]

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