Three July 16th Commemorative Events in New Mexico

July 15, 2011

July 16th is a historic day for New Mexico because it was the day in 1945 when the first atomic bomb was detonated at the Trinity Site and it was the day in 1979 when the Church Rock Uranium Mill Tailings Spill took place. To commemorate these events, a march, an educational event, and a candlelight vigil will be held on Saturday.

On the morning of July 16th, an earthen tailings dam at the United Nuclear Corporation Church Rock Uranium Mill failed, spilling 93 million gallons of liquid toxic waste into the Rio Puerco in New Mexico, which eventually flowed downstream into Arizona. The spill contributed to the long-term contamination already present in the watershed from the release of untreated or poorly treated uranium mine water into the Rio Puerco. The Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) is organizing prayers beginning at 7 am in the Red Water Pond Road Community and a march along Highway 566 to the site of the spill. For more information, contact Teddy Nez at 505 879-2910.

From 5 to 7 pm, MASE and the Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining will hold "Making Waves" at the University of New Mexico Gallup in Calvin Hall. The event will address the full nuclear fuel cycle and the resulting radioactive and toxic contamination. For more information, contact Leona Morgan at 505 879-8547.

As the sun sets, the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium will hold a gathering in support and remembrance of those who were exposed to the radiation and toxins released from the detonation of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Test Site, in south central New Mexico.,, and

The Consortium will hold a candlelight vigil from 8 to 10 pm at the Tularosa Little League field for those who have lost loved ones to cancer or are cancer survivors. Luminarias, with the names of those who have been lost will be lit and those who have survived cancer or are living with cancer will congregate to light their own hand held candles.

Petitions will be available to sign in support of the proposed amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, sponsored by Senator Udall, which would provide coverage to those exposed to radiation from the Trinity Test.

Tina Cordova, one of the Consortium organizers, said, "We will commemorate the test at Trinity on July 16th every year to bring awareness to the suffering of the people in the Tularosa Basin subsequent to the testing. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act has been in place since 1992 and none of the down winders have seen the benefit of the compensation."

For more information, please contact Tina Cordova at 505 897-6838.

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