I have 600 grandchildren. Well, they’re not exactly related to me (although I have plenty who are!) – but I grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and continued working in the Marcus Garvey houses for 33 years. A lot of the young people I lived with there ended up calling me “Grandpa” and I consider them my family.
On Monday, April 23, I was thinking about my family when I marched with over 1,500 New Yorkers from all over the state to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to walk the talk on climate action. Will you watch the inspiring video below and sign up to demand the same of your local elected officials on May 14?
We marched to demand that Governor Cuomo go beyond lip service and commit to a Fossil Free world through three steps:
- Stop all fracking infrastructure.
- Move New York to 100% renewable energy.
- Make polluters pay for their damage.
I thought about my family in Red Hook, Brooklyn, who were forced to leave their homes during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and returned – only to find out that repairing public housing wasn’t really a priority for those in charge. The damage, like black mold, has made plenty of people sick.
My family’s story shows climate change is a housing issue and an issue of economic and racial justice. I have family all over the city who were affected by Sandy, and everywhere the story is the same – six years later, we haven’t been able to fully recover. Six years! Can you believe it? That was just one storm, and climate change tells us we have more storms coming.
Fossil fuel companies make billions of dollars, yet our Governor keeps their interests in mind while people are dying in his own state. If I met Governor Cuomo, I would want to ask him, “Will you stand for life? Can I live? Can my kids live?” This is how serious this is. And that’s why it’s up to all of us, everywhere, to act now and demand change from our elected officials.
On May 14th, communities across America are rising together to demand real climate action in the Spring Forward to #FossilFree day of action. Find a Spring Forward action in your hometown, or sign-up to host one!
These times are sad and scary, but on Monday, the passion of the people encouraged me to think that one day we’ll have clean air, clean water, and clean food.
When we were marching, I felt so energized as a grandfather and great-grandfather. That’s why I’m 66 but getting myself on the bus at 5AM and marching around the New York Capitol. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Stop fossil fuels!” and I felt great.
That’s why it’s important to me and NYCC that we’re part of NY Renews, a statewide coalition of over 140 organizations building power to win a transition to 100% renewable energy and hold big polluters accountable. I truly believe that chant – “The people united will never be defeated.”
Member, New York Communities for Change