Even though at first this black and white image might seem bland and lifeless. It holds a deep value once analyzed; it shows how an environmental issue had brought people of different ages, gender, and ethnic backgrounds together to fight for a common goal. The image is evident to how despite coming together in masse and expressing their concerns the minority community still could not stop the county from building the garbage incinerator.
The image that I have chosen to analyze is from the March Against the incinerator, which was held by the community to protest against the garbage incinerator in 1984. This was just one of many protests the minority neighborhood of Ironbound had held. The protests were held by the community to show their disapproval of the incinerator proposed by the Essex county. The image was taken by the Ironbound Community Corporation which had played a huge role in getting the community together and raising awareness of the injustice. The Ironbound Community Corporation would post pictures such as these in their issues “Ironbound Voices” magazines on a monthly basis to spread the word of the Ironbound efforts against the incinerator.
When looking at this image the first thing my eye is drawn into is the big sign in the middle saying along lines “Save your waste” and “say no to garbage deposit”. This makes it clear that the community is protesting something that has to do with the garbage. After looking at another sign in the background saying “no incinerator” it can clary be assumed that the people in the image are marching against a garbage incinerator. Another unique thing about this image can be noticed once looked at the foreground of the image. You can notice signs in another language saying “Shapiro no garbage” and “no garbage queremos acida de limpa” the second quote is in Portuguese. A quick google search can tell you that the sign is saying “no-garbage and we want acid clean”. These signs are in another language because for many of the people in the protest English is not the first language which means some of them might be linguistically isolated living in Newark.
After looking at each agent of this march another important assumption comes in mind. Even though the image is in black and white it can be noticed that there is a lot of diversity in the skin tone of the marchers. There are people holding the signs in Portuguese, these people are most likely from Portugal, Brazil, or Cape Verde since these are the nations where Portuguese is the first language. There are also some African Americans in the image which is interesting as around 1980 there was not a big presence of African American groups in the Ironbound. These African American individuals are most likely from other areas in Newark. This shows that it was not only the neighborhood of Ironbound that was concerned with the Garbage Incinerator being built. The diversity is also noticed in the age of marchers. If you look at the foreground you can see a lot of kids participating in the march also there are few very old people in the middle ground. This goes to show how everyone from kids to senior citizens in the Ironbound community was involved in the fight against the incinerator. It shows the deep impact the incinerator will have on the community as it will potentially harm everyone. The sheer size of the crowd marching also shows the community’s involvement, it is so big that it is cut out in the background. The Ironbound itself is not a big neighborhood as it is only four square miles big. Having a big crowd just goes to show that almost everyone was against the incinerator.
By observing the sides of the image you can notice a lot of cars either parked or moving and a sidewalk with stores and a light pool. This is important as it shows how dense the Ironbounds neighborhood is. It is not just an open uninhabited land where the county is trying to build a plant to burn garbage. It is a densely populated area where there are people living and have small businesses.
Images such as these are great evidence of how a minority community comes together to protect its’ neighborhood from environmental injustice. The minority community strongly protested their disapproval of the incinerator, despite all their efforts the Essex county ignored them and built the plant.