In Your Neighborhood

A small group of committed citizens can change the world

Roberta Hazen Aaronson honored as a Lead Poisoning Prevention Hero after 25 years of advocacy

Photo by Richard Asinof

Roberta Hazen Aarondon, left, Mario Hilario, and Laura Brion, at the 25th anniversary of the Childhood Lead Action Project.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 11/20/17
Roberta Hazen Aaronson was honored as a Lead Poisoning Prevention Hero at the 25th celebration of the Childhood Lead Action Project.
How has stepped up enforcement of housing codes in Westerly and Woonsocket helped to increase municipal efforts to get rid of lead? When is the legislative commission of lead in drinking water scheduled to meet?
In community organizing parlance, it is often difficult to say definitely, which ax blow felled the tree. To be able to sustain a community-based advocacy organization for 25 years is in itself a remarkable feat. To plant the seeds for the next 25 years of activism and the next generation of committed advocates is equally remarkable. As Roberta Hazen Aaronson said in closing, quoting Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

WARWICK – The celebration of 25 years of “getting the lead out” by the Childhood Lead Action Project also honored Roberta Hazen Aaronson, the founding executive director of the nonprofit, as a “Lead Poisoning Prevention Hero.”

Aaronson, who retired this year after a quarter century of advocacy, has been a vigilant champion of eliminating the “fully 100 percent preventable disease” of lead poisoning, as Mario Hilario, the weekend sunrise anchor at WJAR NBC 10 and master of ceremonies, described the scourge.

More than 100 people attended the gathering, held on Nov. 16 in the atrium at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Laura Brion, the new executive director at the Childhood Lead Action Project, spoke briefly, as did Bruce Phillips, the board co-chair.

The a cappella group, Brown’s Tones of Brown University, performed, as did Dave Laros of Music To My Ears.

Knitting together support
In 2017, there were 18 funders supporting the work of the Childhood Lead Action Project, from the Carter Family Charitable Trust to Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, from the U.S. EPA to the R.I. Office of the Attorney General, from LISC and its work with the Health Equity Zone in Pawtucket and Central Falls to the ONE Neighborhood Builders Health Equity Zone in Olneyville.

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