August 29, 2008
Over 300 Community Activists Commemorate 3rd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
Residents Cite Shared Struggles Against Gentrification
and Displacement in NYC and New Orleans
For Immediate Release:
York - Today a group of NYC residents and community organizations will
commemorate the 3rd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a rally and
march to express solidarity with the displaced residents of the Gulf
Coast. With more than 300 community members participating, the "Call to
Action, A Day of Unity" also demonstrates that the struggles affecting
New Orleans residents - particularly a lack of affordable housing, and
access to education and affordable health care - are also devastating
low-income communities in New York City. The march was organized by
Right to the City NYC, a coalition of more than a dozen community-based
groups, along with the New York Solidarity Coalition with Katrina and
Rita Survivors, Northeast Region Survivors Group, NY2NO, the Artist
Relief Collective (A.R.C.), and the NOLA Preservation Society. The
commemoration was in coordination with events happening across the
country in New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington
DC, Miami, and Providence.
WHEN: August, 29th 2008 @2PM!
WHERE: Sara Roosevelt Park in Lower Manhattan on Delancey Street (bet. Chrystie and Forsyth Streets)
WHAT: The day will begin with a rally and press
conference in Sara Roosevelt Park, followed by a march through the
streets of the Lower East Side and Chinatown. The march will end with a
vigil in front of 1 Police Plaza.
"On the anniversary
of Katrina, it is time to unite and respond to injustice and demand our
right to the city. Cities across the country are facing issues like
those in New Orleans. We are battling against displacement,
gentrification, being criminalized in our schools and on our streets.
We must come together and have an organized response to the
exploitation and reclaim our cities. United we have the power to create
change," said Adilka Pimentel, age 19, Youth Organizer, Make the Road
"In NYC, it's clear that in Harlem and Chinatown we
have the same issues around housing, gentrification, development, and
displacement. But it's also important to make the connection that what
we are experiencing in NYC is not only happening here, but all over the
country. We stand in solidarity with people in New Orleans, because
like us, people are being priced out of their homes, treated badly
because they're poor, and because we are all fighting for our
communities," said Helena Wong, Organizer, CAAAV.
Hurricane Katrina passed through the Gulf Coast nearly three years ago,
its impact and the impact of our government's neglect of the human
rights of people in the Gulf Coast are still felt acutely today.
Hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents, primarily low-income
families and people of color, were displaced by the Hurricane and have
still not been able to come back home.
"We are still
struggling as survivors 3 years later; and we are mad because the
United States government still has not recognized us as internationally
displaced persons (IDPs), according to the UN Guiding Principles. As a
result of this lack of recognition, our human rights are still in
violation by the federal government. Our right to return which is a
combination of several fundamental human rights, such as housing,
health care, education, decent work, physical security and
non-discrimination are the key rights that are being violated," said
Joetta Rogers, displaced from Mobile, Alabama, member of the New York
Solidarity Coalition for Katrina/Rita Survivors and chair of the
Northeast Region Survivors' Group.
The 2-hour march through
New York's Chinatown and Lower East Side on Friday will highlight the
effects that gentrification, high cost of living, displacement and lack
of public housing are having on the working-class and immigrant
populations of these neighborhoods.
"What happened in New
Orleans is just a preview of the horror that's coming to a city near
you. We see firsthand how Lower East Side residents are being pushed
out of the community as luxury housing and hotel development interests
overrule community needs and continues to cause displacement and
promote gentrification," said Damaris Reyes, Executive Director, Good
Old Lower East Side (GOLES).
The march will be followed by a
fundraiser by the Artist Relief Collective at Judson Memorial Church in
the West Village, with proceeds to benefit Hurricane Katrina and Rita
survivors. Across the country today, chapters of Right to the City in
Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Providence, Miami, Washington DC
and New Orleans are holding solidarity events and are calling on local
leaders to address a list of basic needs:
has changed in New Orleans or in New York City. Families are being
displaced and the government is not helping in any way. This is
happening where I live, in public housing in East Harlem and the city,
state and federal governments are forgetting about us. We saw the
result of this last week when a five year old boy was killed because
there is not enough money to fix elevators in public housing. The
government needs to step up to the plate here and in New Orleans. That
is why we are here today marching with the Right to the City alliance,"
said Adam Sparks, Leader at Community Voices Heard and Resident of
NYCHA's Taft Houses.
Reinvest in communities by diverting money from
policing and incarceration to housing, mental and other health
services, and community-controlled programs and spaces;
End the criminalization of public housing residents, day laborers and minorities; and
Help Katrina survivors return home by investing in infrastructure and housing in the Gulf Coast.
Right to the City (RTTC) NYC is an
alliance of grassroots, membership-based, organizations in low-income,
immigrant and other communities of color throughout New York Cit
working to support grassroots-led social change. RttC NYC's mission is
to build a united response to gentrification and the drastic economic,
social and infrastructure changes being imposed on NYC communities, and
offer a vision for the city that meets the needs of working class
RttC NYC's member organizations include:
CAAAV/Chinatown Tenants Union; Center for Community Planning and
Development, Hunter College; Center for Social Inclusion; Community
Development Project, Urban Justice Center; Community Voices Heard
(CVH); Fabulous, Independent, Educated Radicals for Community
Empowerment (FIERCE); Families United for Racial and Economic Equality
(FUREE); Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES); Jews for Racial and Economic
Justice (JFREJ); Make the Road New York (MRNY); Mothers on the Move
(MOM); NYC AIDS Housing Network/VOCAL NY Users Union; Picture the
Homeless; Pratt Center for Community Development; Prof. Rene Poitevin,
NYU Gallatin School; St. Nicks CDC/UNO; Tenants & Neighbors; WE ACT.
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Building on legislation we helped to win just over a year ago, Local Laws 21 and 22 prohibit not only the Department of Correction but now also the NYPD from spending millions of city taxpayer dollars to hold individuals on behalf of ICE agents for detention and deportation. Each year, thousands of New York families will stay together who would otherwise have been torn apart by overly aggressive, indiscriminate immigration enforcement.
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