One Year Out, Sandy Survivors Bring Human 'Wave of Change' to City Hall

Published on
by
Common Dreams

One Year Out, Sandy Survivors Bring Human 'Wave of Change' to City Hall

Demonstrators demanding a more equitable rebuild, host forum on impact of Wall Street on climate change

by
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

A year after Superstorm Sandy flooded the streets of New York, carried away whole stretches of the Jersey Shore and caused untold devastation to half a million homes and countless homeowners along the northeastern seaboard, many survivors are still left adrift.

On Sunday afternoon, survivors of the storm and other community leaders are convening at New York City Hall to "Turn the Tide" and demand a more equitable and sustainable rebuild. Protesters plan to carry handmade "waves" symbolizing the "wave of change" they hope to spark.

Though millions of aid dollars were set aside following the storm, many communities—particularly minority and lower class—are still displaced.

"For many people who didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars sitting in their bank accounts in case of disaster, the effects of Superstorm Sandy linger," writes Al Jazeera's Peter Moskowitz. "When the water finally receded, it revealed a case study in how close to the edge of destruction many Americans are."

Moskowitz continues:

On Jan. 29, President Barack Obama signed a bill that gave states affected by Sandy over $50 billion to recover. But it’s unclear where all that money went.

Some say if it had been spent effectively and transparently, people who needed to rely on the government to rebuild their lives would have rebuilt them by now. [...] businesses in Staten Island would be thriving again, and 300 residents of the Rockaways and other coastal areas in Brooklyn would be living in homes, not in hotels as they are now.

Instead, thousands are stuck waiting for slow-moving government agencies and nonprofits to decide their futures.

Ahead of the rally, "Sandy Sojourners" will march from the hardest-hit and most vulnerable communities to downtown New York.

The demonstration organizers, including 350.org and Occupy Sandy, are calling on new mayoral candidates to support five key priorities for equitable rebuilding: good jobs, affordable housing, sustainable energy, community engagement and strong healthcare.

In addition to exposing the economic vulnerability of so many Americans, the storm forced many politicians and other members of New York's elite class to face the hard facts about our collective future in the face of global warming with its drastic weather patterns and swelling sea levels.

In addition to Sunday's protest, organizers along with the grassroots group Forecast the Facts is holding a live forum during which climate activists will discuss with financial experts the impact of our fossil fuel-reliant economy on the future of global warming.  Turning the Tide: Carbon Divestment for a Post-Sandy Wall Street promises to "put the spotlight on Wall Street’s role in carbon pollution—especially on New York’s richest man, carbon financier David H. Koch."

The webcast will be streamed live below on Sunday, October 27, from 8 to 9:30 pm EDT. Individuals can participate on Twitter posting questions to @ForecastFacts with the hashtag #TurnTheTide.

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