October 28, 2017

Thousands March For the 5th Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy

#Sandy5 coalition of 150+ NY groups gather in remembrance of lives lost, rise for bold climate action at the state and local level

Photo credit: Erik McGregor

Photo album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/sets/72157687709744900

New York, NY — Today, thousands of New Yorkers are coming together for the #Sandy5 march to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in a wave of blue, participants are demanding powerful climate action from New York’s elected officials. Over 150 local, state and national organizations, with strong representation from neighborhoods impacted by the storm, signed-on to the march.

“Superstorm Sandy revealed the inseparable link between environmental justice and climate change,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “The low-income communities and communities of color across New York City, who are most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, have come together to demand that our elected officials take bolder, swifter action to bring about a just recovery, make our city more resilient, and bring us to 100% renewable energy.”

Participants are marching to remember all lost to Sandy, resist the Trump administration’s rollback of protections, and rise demanding bold and immediate action from New York’s elected officials at all levels of government.

“Five years ago the world watched in horror as Sandy struck its greatest city; now, the world watches in hope that New York will take the steps to help head off the next storm. In the financial capital of the planet, divesting pensions from fossil fuels would be a signal to everyone else that real change is really coming,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org.

With youth of color leading the march, Sandy5 kicks-off at Cadman Plaza Park at 11:45am before crossing the Brooklyn Bridge to the Lower East Side for a rally and art installation at the Alfred E. Smith Houses. The six areas most notably still living with Sandy’s devastation include: Hunts Point, The Bronx; Lower East Side, Manhattan; Red Hook and Sunset Park, Brooklyn; The Rockaways, Queens; and Staten Island. Survivors of Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, Irma, and Katrina are joining today’s march in solidarity with impacted communities around the world.

“Our family lost our home in Sandy. Five years later, my daughter still has nightmares and gets scared when it rains. All these storms are climate change, brought to us by the likes of Exxon and Trump, who are now taking the federal government backwards. Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have the power to create many good new jobs for people who need it badly by moving us now to actually solve the climate crisis,” said Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor and member of New York Communities for Change now living in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. “It’s time for them to pass and implement bold solutions, now, not call their tiny, tentative little baby steps on this issue of our collective survival ‘leadership’. That’s why I’m marching.”

Organizers are calling for just and sweeping climate action from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Senator Chuck Schumer. In the five years since Superstorm Sandy, New York’s elected officials have failed to adequately meet ongoing needs in the hardest hit neighborhoods, apply pivotal lessons to plan for future climate disasters, and aggressively transition to a fully renewable economy. Organizers demand:

  • At the City level, Mayor de Blasio must: meet the needs of NYC’s hardest hit neighborhoods, disproportionately people of color and low income; develop a flood protection plan for vulnerable communities; and divest from fossil fuels;
  • At the State level, Governor Cuomo must: commit New York State to 100% renewable energy, thousands of good union jobs and true environmental justice by making polluters pay for the climate-destroying pollution they dump into our air;
  • At the federal level, Senator Schumer must: Stop Trump’s climate-killing agenda by fully funding the EPA, block the dirty energy bill, and support legislation for 100% renewable energy.

“As we recall the devastation of Sandy, we know that the climate crisis has only gotten worse in the past five years. It is time for our elected officials to take much bolder climate action on a much faster schedule. We must move off of fossil fuels and into a new energy economy based on 100% renewable energy sources,” said Leslie Cagan, Coordinator of the Peoples Climate Movement NY.



Ayo Harrington, Co-Chair, LES Ready!, said:

“Climate change is causing more and more extreme weather. Yet, five years later, our City’s infrastructure is no better prepared than it was for Hurricane Sandy. Promises to repair infrastructure and lives have been broken as marginalized families suffer the most. LES Ready! unites with groups across the City to demand that elected officials respond to climate crisis with the urgency needed to save lives.”

Rev Yearwood, President & CEO, Hip Hop Caucus, said:

“We march to remember victims of Superstorm Sandy and say never again. We demand that our leaders act now to address the increasing impacts of climate change and help our communities move from surviving to thriving. Without cutting the carbon pollution fueling climate change, we are going to see stronger storms, like Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We need to stop supporting the fossil fuel industry and stand up to the leaders at the federal, state, and local levels that value profit over people. Solutions to climate change exist and we can no longer wait to act – the time is now to protect our communities and the planet for future generations.”

Jon Forster, member of Local 375/DC37/AFSCME and founder of the DC37 Climate Justice Committee, said:

“We must march on October 28th to remember the victims of Superstorm Sandy. We must march to honor the thousands of first responders to Sandy, so many of whom were public and private sector labor union members from throughout this City.  And we must march to demand that our City, State and Federal governments respond far more quickly and aggressively to transition to an equitable, clean energy economy as we fight for our very survival in the face of the growing climate crisis.”

Betámia Coronel, US Reinvestment Coordinator, 350.org, said:

“Five years after Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers are rising up to define what real climate leadership means. Comptroller Stringer and Mayor de Blasio continue to invest more than $3 billion of public pension money into coal, oil and gas companies causing these devastating storms. With risk for Sandy-like flooding at least every five years, and the fossil-fueled Trump administration obliterating protections, we must divest New York from fossil fuels and reinvest in a fast and fair transition to 100% renewable every for all.”

Dan Sherrell, Campaign Coordinator, NY Renews, said:

“The United States has just lived through the worst climate disaster season in our country’s history, costing us billions of dollars and dozens of lives. On the 5th anniversary of Sandy, we march with urgency and determination to demand that Governor Cuomo fund a just transition to 100% renewable energy by making corporate climate polluters pay for the pollution they dump into our air, which compromises our families’ health and contributes to worsening superstorms. In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and with many New York families still recovering from Sandy 5 years later, what the Governor does in his next State of the State will be a real litmus of his climate leadership.”

Genesis Abreu, WE ACT Bilingual Community Organizer, said:

“Long after the floodwaters have ceased, there are still communities in Uptown suffering from the consequences of Superstorm Sandy and the effects of climate change. In El Barrio, residents of NYCHA’s East River Houses are living with dangerous mold from Sandy flooding, exacerbating asthma and other existing health issues. FEMA assistance has been promised to clean the mold up, but residents are still left in the dark on when that will happen. On the five year anniversary of Sandy, we need our elected officials and city agencies to work with communities of color and low-income in order to take bold action on climate change and resiliency.  ALL New Yorkers, regardless of their zip code or income, deserve a safe place to call home.”

Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, said:

“With the Trump administration rolling back major environmental protections it’s crucial for New York to increase the resiliency of communities and workers on the front-lines of climate change.  The City and State must take far bolder action, and we are marching today to send that message loud and clear.  Officials must require big buildings – our biggest polluter – to make full energy-efficiency upgrades, commit the state to 100% renewable energy, make polluters pay for pollution, and create thousands of good union jobs in the climate careers of the future.”

Beth Ackerman, Chair, Beloved Earth Community, Riverside Church, said:

“We care for our neighbors in New York, and also in Houston, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean.   Its a matter of our faith that tells us climate change needs to be stopped at the source: the burning of fossil fuels.  We divest, we march, we show up to say to our officials: take care of our neighbors, take care of all the other creatures and take care of our only home—this planet.”

Megan Ahearn, Program Director for NYPIRG, said:

“Climate change-fueled storms like Superstorm Sandy are taking lives, devastating homes and infrastructure, and destroying the environment. Students marching with NYPIRG call on New York State to step up today in the fight against climate change; we cannot wait another five years, or five months, or five weeks. The fossil fuel industry must be held accountable to the public and through the courts as a leading contributor to climate change. We must end our reliance on fossil fuels and immediately transition to clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind.”

Daniela Lapidous, coordinator, Sunrise NYC, said:

“Sunrise is bringing young people out to remember Superstorm Sandy because our generation is living in fear of our own futures – a fear of losing the people and places we love to extreme weather events, caused by the greed of fossil fuel executives who prioritize their own profits over our lives. Today, we remember the victims of the storm, and we demand that Governor Cuomo walks his talk on transitioning New York to clean energy by supporting the Climate and Community Protection Act. We have the solutions. We deserve leaders courageous enough to implement them.”

Eric Weltman, a Brooklyn-based senior organizer with Food & Water Watch, said:

“Superstorm Sandy was a tragic reminder of the need to get New York and the nation off fossil fuels. Governor Cuomo can be a true climate leader by committing to moving New York to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.”

Denise Patel, Coordinator, Divest Invest Network, said:

Superstorm Sandy, and the recent hurricanes that have left families without homes, power, and water in the Gulf and Caribbean, laid bare the true costs of climate inaction. We need a quick and just transition away from fossil fuels and climate destruction to 100% renewable energy that puts impacted communities and workers first, but lack the political will to act. Five years after Superstorm Sandy, we remember, we resist, and we rise to demand real climate solutions – divest New York from fossil fuels and invest in real climate solutions that will create new jobs, build the economy, and put us on the path to a fossil free future.

Philip Bender, Empire State Progressives, said:

“2017 has been the year of extreme weather events. To remember Sandy is to stand in solidarity with our brothers & sisters in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, the Virgin Islands, California, & across the Caribbean. We should be setting an example in New York for how to respond to these disasters: by rebuilding, by working aggressively to create a sustainable future, and by protecting ourselves from the impacts of climate change that are already present. Today we march because our leaders are not yet fulfilling that potential.”

Nikita Scott, Chair, Surfrider Foundation NYC, said:

“Surfrider Foundation NYC is marching to remember those who were impacted by SuperStorm Sandy five years ago. NYC is a coastal city and we will continue to experience the wrath of climate change unless we rise up to protect the future of our communities. We urge our elected officials to immediately take action by resisting fossil fuels and their infrastructure, starting with the Williams pipeline currently proposed for our coastline.”

Marilyn Vasta, 350NYC, said:

“I remember, resist and rise for my ancestors and future generations to know there are and were people who cared enough about our precious planet to do whatever we could to prevent climate disaster. I remember the four beautiful distinct seasons of my childhood. I resist the fossil fuel industry. I rise to tell our elected officials put an end to this climate madness and protect our mother earth”

Jerome Wagner, President, 350 New Jersey – Rockland, said:

“Global warming is the overwhelming force super-charging weather events and shifting climates around the world. And our lifestyles continue to fuel that warming. As we empathize with and honor the families and communities affected by Superstorm Sandy, we watch new devastation unfold and we hear the cries for urgent assistance. We at 350 New Jersey-Rockland call on all people and all sectors of society to terminate our fossil fuel addiction and to transition to clean, renewable energy as soon as possible and in a just manner. We echo the demands to NYS and NYC officials. Also, we call on New Jersey’s gubernatorial candidates Murphy and Guadagno to truly and urgently lead New Jersey into the energy transition.”

Peter H. Kostmayer, CEO of Citizens Committee for New York City, said:

“Just ten days after Superstorm Sandy destroyed parts of vulnerable, low-lying city neighborhoods like The Rockaways, Breezy Point, the Lower East Side, Tottenville and Gerritsen Beach and so many others, Citizens Committee started making emergency disaster relief grants to local volunteer groups to immediately assist their fellow New Yorkers residing where Sandy had hit the hardest. Five years on, we are proud to partner with the #Sandy5 coalition and we call on our elected officials to continue efforts to increase climate change awareness and to better understand how city residents are doing their part to carry out modest yet impactful environmental sustainability initiatives at the local level.”

Angela Tovar, Director of Community Development, THE POINT CDC, said:

“Sandy’s impacts 5 years ago sent a clear message: working-class, waterfront communities need coastal protection and clean, resilient energy to withstand the climate crisis. The low-income communities and communities of color in Hunts Point, in particular, need better investment to protect both the City’s vulnerable neighborhoods, but also the hub of our regional food system. We cannot wait for the next Sandy to hit. We need our elected officials to take action now.”

Jose Estrada, Fast Food Justice Member, said:

“Members of Fast Food Justice still remember Sandy. Fast-food workers were on the brink of going on strike to protest poor working conditions when Hurricane Sandy hit and devastated our communities. Many of us had to get to work in terrible weather conditions. Now here we are five years later in our own organization so that we can fight to keep workers safe during future storms.”

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center, Planet A Working Group, Kolot Chaiyenu, said:

“There is no Planet B. We are Planet A. For us, this means renewing and re-creating for all our children and grandchildren the healthy, life-sustaining climate that brought joy and abundance to many of our parents and grandparents–and to infuse that renewed world with the eco-social justice that makes sure all our grandchildren share in the life-giving abundance.”

Jeff Levy-Lyons and Wendy Seligson, Jewish Climate Action Network NYC Steering Committee members, said:

“Our Jewish tradition teaches that G-d tells us:  ‘See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.’ We march to make this moral responsibility clear to our political leaders and pray they will understand the urgency of acting NOW to save lives from devastating extreme weather events.”

Mara Kravitz and Adele Eisenstein of NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative, said:

“The NYC REIC is marching in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy because we are working to preserve permanently affordable space in the five boroughs of NYC to serve community needs, social needs, cultural needs, and small business needs. Hurricane Sandy – and invaluable local relief and recovery efforts – showed just how vital and essential community spaces are for local resilience in response to the extreme storms and weather events of our current climate chaos. Through the recovery and supply distribution sites and networks established by regular folks in affected neighborhoods and far beyond, it became glaringly clear how urgent it is for communities to organize and manage spaces together, building social infrastructure – human relationships – in order to take care of themselves and each other.”

Judee Rosenbaum, Camp Kinderland, said:

“Because Camp Kinderland is “a summer camp with a conscience,” our staff and campers try to live our values through year-round social activism. We know we must raise our voices to try to halt the devastation climate change is causing world-wide — and we also know that our very lives may be in jeopardy if we do not take action to halt this threat.  Therefore, we must join this protest.”

Margaret Tran, Organizer at ActionCorps NYC, said:

“ActionCorps NYC is joining the Sandy5 march to agitate and advocate for climate justice! We are happy to join other New Yorkers to call on the mayor, governor and Congress to implement fair climate policies.”