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'We Are Not A Toilet': Activists Call For Removing 'Shingle Mountain' In Southeast Dallas

Environmental and social justice activists gathered at Dallas City Hall Plaza on Wednesday to say they've run out of patience and want the huge pile of shingles known as Shingle Mountain in Southeast Dallas to be removed. 

“This has been here too long. We’ve been fighting. I’ve been calling the city since February 2018. Nothing has been moved. Not one shingle has been. None at all,” said Marsha Jackson, who lives next to Shingle Mountain and is the co-founder of the environmental group Southern Sector Rising. 

The group launched a new campaign asking social justice leaders and members of the faith community for their support. Jackson hopes it will get the job done. 

“Shingle Mountain is the poster child of what environmental racism looks like. For you to build a mountain of shingles right next to a community is a shame,” said Dr. Frederick Haynes of Friendship-West Baptist Church.

Haynes believes unting will make their voices heard. At the plaza, he compared the mountain to confederate monuments and said they are symbols of white supremacy. 

“We had to deal with monuments of confederate racists. Now, we are dealing with monuments that reflect environmental racism,” Haynes said. 

He feels like the land south of downtown is not valued. 

In a speech, Marsha Jackson quoted civil rights activist Barbara Jordan, “More is required of public officials than slogans and handshakes and press releases. More is required. We must hold ourselves strictly accountable.”

Sara Mokuria, co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, showed up to offer her support. 

“We will be fighting today and through September until we have a line item budget that fully and quickly and swiftly removes Shingle Mountain and pays Ms. Marsha and the neighbors for their suffering,” Mokuria said. 

Marsha Jackson poses for a portrait by "Shingle Mountain," a mountain full of trash she has been fighting to get rid off for years.
Credit Keren Carrión / KERA
Marsha Jackson poses for a portrait by "Shingle Mountain," a mountain full of trash she has been fighting to get rid off for years.

She wants the city to step in and is asking for reparations to the residents who live near the big pile of roofing materials and have been fighting for its removal for the past two years.

In December of 2018, the City of Dallas sued Blue Star Recycling over code violations. In 2019, Gena Slaughter ordered the owners, Blue Star Recycling, to remove the pile within 90 days, but the mountain remains. 

In mid-June of 2020, the city’s upcoming budget was discussed and city council members said they were exploring options to clear out the then 70,000-ton Shingle Mountain.

“We are not a toilet. Whenever you have good home training you clean up your mess. And we are saying to Dallas City Council, you made this mess so clean up your mess,” Haynes said.

Pastor Frederick D. Haynes of Friendship-West Baptist Church wants city council to add the removal of Shingle Mountain to this year's budget.
Credit Keren Carrión / KERA
Pastor Frederick D. Haynes of Friendship-West Baptist Church wants city council to add the removal of Shingle Mountain to this year's budget.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Marsha Jackson's organization in the audio. She's with Southern Sector Rising.   

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @_martinez_ale .

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Copyright 2020 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Shingle Mountain is visable from Marsha Jackson's home in Southeast Dallas.
Keren Carrión / KERA
Shingle Mountain is visable from Marsha Jackson's home in Southeast Dallas.

Sara Mokuria, co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, showed up to Wednesday's event to offer her support.
Keren Carrión / KERA
Sara Mokuria, co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, showed up to Wednesday's event to offer her support.