Interview with Ana Quezada


Interview with Ana Quezada


Ana Quezada is a board member of the Environmental Justice League of RI, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and a resident of the Mashapaug Pond area. She describes some of her perceptions of the community’s connection to the pond and contaminated land near a high school, the process of pressing Textron to clean up the Pond and the land that is contaminated, and conducting community meetings as well as meetings with the city of Providence. She reflects on immigrants’ (from Third World countries) relationship with environmentalism as well as her own motivation to keep on working on remediation efforts.


October 29, 2011


Lucy Boltz


Ana Quezada


J. Walter Wilson Building, Brown University, Providence, RI


Ana Quezada: Because we live -- the lake is in the back of my yard. People used to use it in the neighborhood for the children. They used to use it and go and have picnic and the children used to swim in there. That was many years ago. Since the company was there people noticed that they were throwing waste into the lake. Then that's why people stopped using it. There's still some neighbors that use it. They know about the problem they say that (sic) if you take a bath right away nothing will happen to you, but I only see one family using it. Most of the people in the neighborhood don't use the lake.

And when Textron had the company in there. Many years ago that company was there for 100 years in that place where the Stop and Shop is now. Then the city was building a school in there. Well they did build the school and most of the neighborhood was against it to build the school because they said that that land was so bad the children in there can have problems to grow and the teachers. And they build it anyway. They said they have a system that supposed to have an alarm.

Many of the children in the school are Latino, not necessarily from the neighborhood. And we think the school should do more for the people to know what's going on, but the school department for whatever reason, they're keeping it as a secret. Not even the teachers know what the problem in that school is and that's really maddening most.

I'm now a part of the board for the Environmental Justice League. And to talk about those issues. A few times- many people go to my house, I do a lot of meetings in my house.

We meet with the environmental, with the city of Providence, with Textron and us, the people from the neighborhood every three months. Because they are going to start cleaning. And the reason they're doing it is because the community is getting more and more involved in this.

And my husband would like to be in the back of the yard a lot. Now, he's doing his GED and now he's sitting there and he studies. And he likes that part of the lake.

Because I'm coming from a country. We don't pay a lot of attention to contamination or they don't believe in that because of the poor education. And everybody need to do a little bit. See, we all do a little things, this world would be different.

Well, one time I talked to one of the neighbors and she's been living there for the last 20 years. And she's been very disappointed with the whole thing. And she said to me "You'll be out of the community before they do something with that land." And I said to her, "I don't think so." When I do something. When I believe in a project I will continue to the end.



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