Target: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Goal: Mayoral support for Occupy Sandy and community relief projects
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently issued eviction orders for a Staten Island community relief group. The group’s hub, which was a part of the Occupy Sandy hurricane relief effort, was located in the heavily hit Midland area and had been run by a 42 year-old Staten Island resident whose house was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Tell Mayor Bloomberg that he should be supporting these types of group projects, not disbanding them.
The resident, Aiman Youseff, ran a 24/7 community hub with a coalition of neighbors, friends, and community members who served hot food and offered cleaning supplies, non-perishables, medical supplies, and clothing to the thousands of residents who remain without heat, power, or an otherwise safe living situation. The hub has been described as “well-run, well-staffed, and has a constant hum of discussion, support, and advice as well as donations and pick ups and volunteer[s].” In spite of this, a city official recently told Youseff and the volunteers that they had to move out and that the hub was “unsafe.” While the hub was able to partially reconstruct itself a few blocks away, it had to use time and resources that could have been better put to use serving residents.
As this was going on, Mayor Bloomberg set up a “stealth visit” with another Occupy Sandy distribution hub in the Rockaways, Queens. The visit had not been listed on his official schedule. Here, he ignored community members and headed straight over to the offices of The Wave, a Rockaways weekly newsletter. After a meeting with the heads of The Wave, Bloomberg left surrounded by a row of police protection and then was quickly driven away. Thus, Bloomberg narrowly avoided having to actually engage with affected residents.
This is inappropriate behavior by a mayor who should be more involved with the relief effort for the worst hits part of New York. Instead, he discourages community efforts and shuns entire communities. Tell Mayor Michael Bloomberg to support community relief efforts, not to destroy them.
Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
I am writing this letter to express my disappointment with the way you have dealt with Occupy Sandy and community relief efforts in the worst hit parts of New York. Instead of supporting these communities, which are largely those of the poor and people of color, you work against them by issuing eviction notices and by secretly visiting their distribution hubs. Why not bring attention to them so they can attract more volunteers and become even more effective?
What’s more, in the absence of FEMA and Red Cross relief, which have been reported to be severely insufficient by resident’s standards, Occupy Sandy is filling a crucial void in making sure suffering NY residents are being helped. Why not support a group that is effectively doing your job for you?
Occupy Sandy is doing great work for the communities in New York that have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. You damage your credibility as an elected official and your legacy as a leader by ignoring or discouraging them. More importantly, you make it even more difficult for the struggling residents who just want the basic necessities: food, shelter, heat, and security. I ask you to start working with the community instead of working against it, Mayor Bloomberg. Please lend your support to Occupy Sandy and stop trying to dismantle its operations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: usabacklash.org