March 10, 2023

EP. 307.5 — What’s Happening In East Palestine? with Emily Wright and Justin Garner of River Valley Organizing

When a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, just over a month ago, the team at River Valley Organizing sprang into action. River Valley Organizing is a multi-racial, multicultural working class organization that radically builds community throughout the Ohio River Valley—and they’ve been calling attention to the possibility of a train derailment like this for years. Since this catastrophic incident, they’ve been advocating for residents’ health and safety, holding political and business leaders accountable, and getting the word out about what’s going on in Ohio.


Today, we’re releasing a conversation Jonathan recorded on Instagram Live with Emily Wright and Justin Garner from River Valley Organizing. Listen in to learn more about this environmental and public health disaster, and what the future could look like for residents of Columbiana County.


This is still a fast-developing situation, so make sure to follow River Valley Organizing for the latest. They’re on Instagram @rivervalleyorganizing, Twitter @RiverValleyOrg, and Facebook @rivervalleyorganizing. Their website is


Emily Wright is the Development Director for River Valley Organizing.


Justin Garner is the Communications Director and LGBTQIA+ Rep for River Valley Organizing.


Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN to join the conversation.


Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Transcripts for each episode are available at


Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our associate producer is Zahra Crim. Our editor is Andrew Carson.


Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to



Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Emily Wright and Justin Garner of River Valley Organizing  JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness. Today we’re releasing a bonus episode about the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio just over a month ago. We know from guests like Erin Brokovich that a community is only as healthy as the air they breath and the water they drink. If you have not seen that movie, honey, get your life together. When this train derailed, it exposed Ohio residents, their pets, and local wildlife to hazardous materials—and they’ve been feeling the health impacts ever since. Last week on Instagram Live, I had the opportunity to speak with two community advocates from River Valley Organizing about what’s happening on the ground in Ohio. These two guests, Emily Wright and Justin Garner, live in the immediately surrounding communities and have been directly impacted as a result of this train derailment. That conversation was s

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