Report Back on Yesterday's Pedal Power Caravan to Red Hook
11/9/2012, 1:06 p.m.
I just came from Red Hook about a 2 hours ago. I had posted an event yesterday about relief work PPM organized for today.
12 others and I biked from East 116th en el Barrio down to Union Square. There we stocked up on supplies and met with the rest of the team (SUFC and PPM). We then biked down to CAAAV and took (in total) close to half a ton of needs--clothes, milk, tampons, batteries, toys, water, etc. No gas, no problem. We biked across the Manhattan Bridge and down to the Red Hook Initiative where we then delivered supplies and distributed them to to our black and latino working unemployed and poor ppl in the projects. It was one of the saddest sights I've seen. I was on the verge of tears. It was a warzone-- pitch black, no power/ no elevator, shit mounds piled and smeared in the staircase, no heat, no water. We carried stuff up to the 14th floor for two elderly women. We entered their apartment huffing and puffing. It had been recently repainted and the paint fumes were overwhelming. One of the women coughed. A lot. Hacking. We helped here outside and she was wheezing, having an asthma attack. Leaning her against the wall, as she gasped for air, we asked her friend--who has a bad leg, back, walks with a cane, and has diabetes--if there was an inhaler in the house. She said no. So i gave her my inhaler and she was able to recollect herself after a few puffs. We then interviewed them outside in the dark hallway.
Conditions are so horrible-- and FEMA, Bloomberg, the Red Cross aint doing SHIT! In fact, the National Guard asks ppl to fill out a form in order to receive aid. The form asks about your legal status; no papers = no aid. While we were out there we saw a few guards, but Red Cross was nowhere to be found. It was a wasteland. Many (white) folks were out there distributing needs. There was a lot of resources and volunteers (so much that a bunch of them were just hanging around waiting to be assigned a task), but terrible coordination. It was horribly organized. This is the reality of NYC, and of this country. They want to exterminate working and poor people--the majority being people of color! Gentrification was taking too long to kick us out so now this disaster is further increasing the race and class divide. None of this is in the mainstream news (not surprisingly); we are forgotten--as well as those in Canarsie, parts of Queens and the Bronx, and the Rockaways. In fact the news says that people in the Rockaways and in Staten Island need to be policed because people are "looting." When you corner a fox, it will attack. People are being squeezed beyond their limits. When they pick up supplies, they are charged with theft. Clearly Stop and Frisk is effective -__- . All we hear about is downtown. Wall Street was up and running immediately. The people in these forgotten hoods have no idea when they'll have light and heat--when they ask all they're told is it'll come soon.
Today was an awakening to the destitution that is constantly overlooked and disregarded, especially by the privileged. People would much rather be comfortable by being oblivious to the reality, be it intentional or unintentional, Those in power--the corporate elites and their puppet politicians--won't do shit. It is up to the people to educate, agitate, and organize themselves and support one another. All power to the people!