Target: Organizers and volunteers of Occupy Sandy
Goal: Applaud Occupy Sandy’s hurricane relief effort
Hurricane Sandy killed 109 people and left a trail of destruction and trauma in its path. The people affected by the storm continue a daily struggle with destroyed homes, flooded basements, and psychological damage. Frustration grows as federal aid and assistance from aid agencies such as the Red Cross lags and ultimately comes up short. Many New York residents have not seen the military or the Red Cross at all in their communities. In the face of all this, Occupy Wall Street has taken the lead in organizing an effective relief effort for New Yorkers hit hard by the hurricane.
Re-dubbed as Occupy Sandy, the effort remains structurally similar to the mass movement that previously gained national attention. Volunteers have established community hubs to dispense food, water, and aid. Distribution centers have been established in at least eleven locations in New York and have been quick to mobilize their volunteers and resources. One volunteer estimated the effort for a particular day included 2,500 volunteers, 15,000 meals, and 120 carloads of supplies for the recovery sites.
While the Red Cross had stated that a high number of dispatched volunteers, health workers, and aid were on the ground, both volunteers and residents continue to note their lack of presence in some of the most devastated areas. One observer compared their activity, along with the military, to “mostly crowd-control…guarding gas stations during the painfully long waits.” Regardless, Occupy Sandy has made its presence felt amongst communities hard hit by the storm — to the point where FEMA and NYPD officers were reported to have joined in when the volunteers chanted “We are unstoppable, another world is possible” at an aid site in Queens.
Despite the clear success Occupy Sandy has had in providing grassroots organization and relief to communities in need, there has been minimal coverage of its efforts by the mainstream media. This is unfortunate because better coverage would only help to expand the ability to assist in the recovery effort. Help get out the word. Applaud Occupy Sandy for organizing a grassroots Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.
Dear Occupy Sandy volunteers and organizers,
I am writing this letter to applaud your work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. All of your volunteers are making a difference in the communities hit the hardest by the storm while demonstrating that grassroots organization and community-centered assistance is more effective and meaningful than charity. The overall absence of the Red Cross and of federal assistance in these communities speaks to this. While these other organizations and agencies concern themselves with crowd-control, your effort prioritizes the vulnerable poor and working communities who can’t wait for outside organizations to slowly bring a recovery.
Just as Occupy Wall Street mobilized to vocalize the collective sentiment of the 99%, Occupy Sandy is making visible the communities that are often left behind in the wake of large disasters — poor and working communities as well as communities of color. But, like Occupy Wall Street, you are not only helping to vocalize the needs of these communities. You are also providing the tools needed to foster community interdependence and self-empowerment. Thank you for your amazing work.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: dissenter.firedoglake.com