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Thursday 29 September 2022
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Readers Write: Mabry’s Column Calls Attention to Long-Neglected Debt

By David A. Anderson Ph.D.

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Wallace Mabry’s “It Would Do Well for Some to Recognize Project Uplift” (Nov. 3, 2015), calls attention to a long-neglected debt. Project Uplift was critical to a pioneering effort to unmask the “child-molester,” lead poisoning. Lead paint was/is the weapon; official neglect and avoidance in addressing the problem was/is the villain.

The 14- and 15-year-old Rochester youth acted on the request of Rochester Committee on Scientific Information, and obtained the evidence that RCSI scientists and medical personnel used to verify Rochester’s inner-city housing was fertile territory for lead paint, especially accessible to young children.

Although there were casualties along the way, eventually the resistance of local government, ended.  Thus, as Brother Mabry pointed out, other cities, Cleveland, Ohio, as a case in point, have praised Rochester’s current efforts to control the monster, lead-paint poisoning.

Yes, Rochester’s Department of Buildings and Property Conservation, and, the Monroe County Health Department, are on the case these days. Yet, we are still missing the boat; still sucking our collective thumb, and wishing for a magic carpet, or some such juju, that we might hitch teen youth and school children, to make them pull up their britches and learn how to read.

I believe Brother Mabry is asking us to locate Project Uplift, so that we might make their story, our story. Those no-longer teenagers, and the young men and women who coached them, are chapters in the journal which documents a vital chapter in the Rochester saga. Perhaps the Rochester City School District might be persuaded to determine who, in that splendid Project Uplift cadre, graduated from high school, and thereafter launched post-graduate careers. Rochester City School District, in concert with parents, could consider re-aligning curriculum, and revamping “professional development” (teacher-preparation) efforts.

I’m just sayin’.

David A. Anderson, Ph.D.
Visiting Community Scholar, Nazareth College