Woman Making History #75: Diane Wilson

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diane_wilson.jpgI gotta say, Diane Wilson is freaking amazing.

At the age of 24, Diane Wilson became the fifth-generation captain of a shrimping boat on the Gulf Coast of Texas. In 1989, after reading an article claiming that her home county was a number one U.S. polluter and that the expansion of a plastics plant there would exacerbate this problem, Wilson called a town meeting to discuss the matter. Though many townspeople were against the expansion, it was scheduled anyway. And Wilson turned from a mother and shrimp boat captain to an environmental activist.

Wilson battled for many years to stop chemicals from being dumped in the bay where she fished. She went spoke at rallies, gathered support, and even went on several hunger strikes. In the process, retaliation against Wilson was rampant--her dog was shot, and someone tried to sink her boat with her in it. But she did not give up. Eventually, she got the plastics plant to agree to a zero-change policy.

Later, Wilson took on Dow Chemicals, after she learned about the 1984 chemical spill in India for which reparations were never made. She served four months in jail for chaining herself to Dow property, an experience that led her to another cause for which she now fights--better prison conditions for women.

In 2005, Wilson published a book, An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas. She has been the recipient of several awards, including National Fisherman Magazine Award, Mother Jones' Magazine's Hell Raiser of the Month, and Code Pink Woman of the Year.

Sources:
Truthout
PBS
Americans Who Tell The Truth

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