The recent NYC Environmental Justice Survey has called on people to “REPRESENT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMMUNITY.”
The peoples’ cry for ‘Environmental Justice’ was heard recently due to tragedies in Jackson, Mississippi and New York City’s East Village. In Jackson, severe storms led to the flooding of the Pearl River which resulted in the city’s water treatment plant malfunctioning. This preventable tragedy resulted in the contamination of a community’s drinking water. As for the case of residents in the NYCHA houses of East Village’s Jacob Riis, the alarm rang in horror over its water containing arsenic. In 2022 with the advancement of technology, how can these devastating incidents occur? Elected officials reported their concerns in Jackson several years prior to the river’s flooding. Why were their concerns—which are those of a people—not heard? Were residents well informed? Jacob Riis houses is over 70 years old. Is this the first time its residents’ water has been compromised? How often is the water tested? Who is trusted to inform the community? Generational effects will more than likely happen as a generation did not look beyond its present. East New York Restoration, L.D.C. (ENYR) a not-for-profit organization operating in the East New York section of Brooklyn, has decided to accept the responsibility of addressing a community’s concerns through the power of documentation. For several years ENYR has served the community. Whether it’s their annual 5K run/walk which attracts hundreds from as far as New Jersey, or workshops and training in renewable energy, the beneficiaries have always been the community. Deeply disturbed by a community’s residents suffering unnecessarily, ENYR decided to go into action. Under the banner of DOCUMENT YOUR CONCERNS!
ENYR is seriously participating in the Environmental Justice Survey campaign. The survey addresses concerns from residents and what they know about changes in their neighborhood, providing feedback on the issue of environmental justice. Change must be expressed through action, and what may seem like a small action, is still action as it establishes momentum. Fundamentally through documentation a community can now have a stronger input in what is happening; and whether it helps or hurts the community. The community is asked to join the campaign by reserving a few minutes to complete the survey at the ENYR office located at 1159 Elton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11239 (for more information, call 718-676-5920 or go to www.enyrestoration.org)
Frank Brown is the Green Initiative Program Coordinator.