Photo Essay • Luis Cubas
For most, the word “anniversary” evokes memories of happy times. But on August 6th, the word took on an entirely different meaning in Richmond. It was on that date last year that a huge black cloud was seen pluming out of the Chevron Refinery, the byproduct of a massive explosion and fire that, it was discovered later, could have been prevented.
On August 3rd, over 2,000 people gathered outside the Richmond BART station for a march to the Chevron refinery, for what protesters claimed are environmentally unfriendly practices by the big oil company.
While most protesters showed up to demand stricter environmental and safety standards at the refinery, others were there because they believe Chevron has not done enough to contribute economically to the city. One of the pamphlets being circulated at the protest read: “Oil corporations are among the richest and most profitable in the world, so they are also the most politically powerful. Chevron is the 8th largest in the world and #1 in California.”
At the protest, one could feel the power and will of the demonstrators, every single one of them determined to make their point — that Chevron has been a huge disappointment to many in the community.
The protesters were escorted by Richmond police officers throughout the march and while it was largely peaceful, over 200 demonstrators were arrested afterward and later released.