Burke County Organizing Project (BCOP) Launch Report by Janie Hill-Scott

Georgia WAND launched the Burke County Organizing Project on October 26, 2019, as a year-long educational program focused on developing leaders in the Burke County community. Elements of the leadership development activities include emergency preparedness, public health, conducting a survey in the community about water, and more. Participating Burke County area leaders will learn how to engage at public intervention points, such as Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) hearings, Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) meetings, Public Service Commission (PSC) meetings, city council meetings, etc. 

During our first meeting we completed an orientation to the program as well as a Strength Weaknesses Opportunities and Threat (SWOT) analysis of the community. During the second meeting we completed a module on “Water in Your Community,” took a deep dive to focus on where the water utilized by nuclear facilities comes from, and how it is used. We focused on how contaminants enter water by human activities, disasters, and industrial accidents and the effects on the body. We provided a summary of the Clean Water Act and where people can have their water tested in the local area. 

The body tasked with facilitating and holding the Burke County Organizing Project is named the Community Leader Circle (CLC). It is comprised of Janie Hill-Scott, who manages the program and is the Nuclear Harm Reduction and Climate Justice Coordinator, Rennitta Johnson, the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) Engagement Lead for Georgia WAND, Kenya Sullivan Crumbley, Building Responsible Individuals Developing Greater Examples (BRIDGE), a local civil group in Burke County, Marguerite Gaines, former Burke resident and Georgia WAND board member, and Annie Laura Howard Stephens a Community elder and longtime supporter of Georgia WAND. 
For more information, please send an email to Janie@GeorgiaWAND.org.