An outpouring of activists and environmental advocates marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy — and call on government to take climate change seriously.
Thousands crowded into Cadman Park Plaza in downtown Brooklyn ahead of the march, many carrying signs that read “Climate Justice Now,” “Soil Not Oil” and “Windmills Not Walls.”
“Here we are on another warm day in October, and we know why,” said Eddie Bautista, the executive director of New York Environmental Justice Alliance.
Bautista drew a direct line between the devastation that hit New York five years ago and the spate of storms that slammed into the Caribbean this summer.
“Five years ago tomorrow, the city was visited by a severe weather event, the likes of which we had never seen, and then this past summer we have seen hurricane after hurricane devastating the global South and communities of color throughout the lower parts of the United States,” Bautista said.
The group banded together with a message about inequality and environmental injustice in the face of government cuts and other issues.
After demonstrators marched across the Brooklyn Bridge they rallied at baseball field in Lower Manhattan on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. (KENDALL RODRIGUEZ)
A trio of canvasses painted with images of Mayor de Blasio, Gov. Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) included messages calling for clean energy, a divestment of city pensions from fossil fuel companies and the full funding of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The group made its way toward the Brooklyn Bridge, chanting, “Who’s got the power? We’ve got the power!” and “Water is Life.”
“I’m here because climate change is here,” said Mariolga Reyes, 47.
Reyes spent her last day in New York at the rally before heading back to her own storm-ravaged home — in Puerto Rico.
Along with her husband and 3-year-old son, Reyes has been staying with friends in New York.
The year after Hurricane Sandy
The psychology professor is ready to return home and to work — five weeks after Hurricane Maria ripped across the island — now that the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras campus is set to finally reopen.
“We are all being affected by it, and part of it is to acknowledge that we are interconnected,” she said. “There’s no way what happens in one place doesn’t affect everybody else.”
Rosa Zuchuk, 40, from Crown Heights, a dancer with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, a brass band that supports social justice movements, called on elected leaders to step up to protect residents of the city’s more vulnerable neighborhoods.
“We’re here today to be part of this reminder to our city and state — the federal government is probably beyond reminding at this point — that climate change is killing us, and it’s killing poor folks and folks of color more blatantly and aggressively than everyone else,” Zuchuk said. “So we’re here as part of the defense of our city against this.”
Source: NY Daily News