Monday, April 13, 2015

Upcoming: Sun, May 3, 1pm: Jane's Walk NYC - South Bronx Environmental Justice Waterfront Walk



When: May 3, 1:00-3:00pm
Meet: Mott Haven Bar & Grill (1 Bruckner Blvd)
RSVP

Resident members of South Bronx Unite, a local environmental justice organization, will lead a waterfront walking tour of landmark sites throughout the Mott Haven-Port Morris neighborhood of the South Bronx as well as sites along the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan, a community-designed blueprint for alternatives to decades of policies that have perpetuated air quality degradation and unjust land use.  This dynamic tour will provide a window into the craftsmanship of the 1800’s, the oversaturation of industrial facilities causing alarmingly high asthma rates and the myriad signs of resiliency.  The tour will highlight local community gardens and local organizing campaigns for climate resiliency and against subsidies to diesel trucking companies like FreshDirect.  

This tour is part of Jane's Walk NYC, organized by the Municipal Art Society, where thousands of New Yorkers will take to the streets on 100+ walking tours throughout the city to engage in walking conversations in the spirit of Jane Jacobs.

Upcoming: Mon, April 20: South Bronx vs FreshDirect Back in Court!












Where: Bronx Supreme Court - East 161st Street and Grand Concourse
When: Monday, April 20
RSVP
8:30 am - Fliering/press conference ( 161st St. side of building)
9:00 am – Enter court (Room 405A, Judge Mary Brigantti-Hughes)

Can public land be used by a private developer with no public benefit? Join South Bronx Unite in the courtroom as New York Lawyers for the Public Interest argue (with newly discovered (aka previously withheld) information) on a motion to renew to allow standing to sue on this important issue.

Upcoming: Sun, April 19, 11am: South Bronx Environmental Justice Waterfront Bike Tour & Tree Giveaway











When: Sunday, April 19th | 11-1:30: Bike Tour | 1:30-3:30: Tree Giveaway
Where: Meet at Brook Park, East 141st Street and Brook Avenue
RSVP (and let us know if you need a bike)

Participants of all ages will visit sites along the community-designed Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan, including the proposed Lincoln Avenue waterfront park, the 132nd Street pier and the historic Port Morris gantries. Participants will also learn about local organizing campaigns against subsidies to the trucking company FreshDirect as well as pollution and unjust land use from polluting fossil fuel power plants and waste transfer facilities that line the Bronx Kill waterway. Hurricane Sandy hit this flood zone during low tide, causing 4.5 foot flooding in the area, with forceful waves that ripped a pier from its concrete foundation. The tour, organized together with Times Up!, will highlight the community's longstanding vision for the public waterfront land, who is working with the community and who is working against the community. At 1:30, we will return to Brook Park to join Friends of Brook Park, Per Scholas and New York Restoration Project in providing 100 free trees as part of the MillionTreesNYC initiative.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

URGENT ACTION ALERT

South Bronx Unite Calls for Emergency Rally in Opposition to FreshDirect at Harlem River Yard on Monday, December 22, at 9:00 a.m., as Company Plans Secret “Groundbreaking” Ceremony for its Diesel Trucking Operation in the South Bronx Environmental Justice Community Where 1 in 4 Children Has Asthma
 
At 10:00 a.m. on Monday, December 22, FreshDirect plans to hold a secret “groundbreaking” ceremony at Harlem River Yard on St. Ann’s Avenue and East 132nd Street in the Mott Haven/Port Morris neighborhood of the South Bronx.  The move aims to pave the way for the development of a 500,000 square foot diesel trucking operation to be built on public waterfront land in a neighborhood completed blocked from its waterfront and already oversaturated with diesel exhaust and industrial facilities.  The company relied on a 21 year old environmental impact statement to assess the effect of the more than 1,000 diesel truck trips the company would make through the community every day.

FreshDirect is thumbing its nose at nearly three years of community opposition to the project.  Just last month, hundreds of residents and local businesses and organizations testified in opposition to the project in the very first Bronx-based public hearing on the proposed $140 million subsidy package.  Among those who submitted testimony were Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, South Bronx Community Congress, Community Connections for Youth, South Bronx Farmers Market, The POINT Community Development Corporation, Bronx Climate Justice North, Bronx Clergy Round Table, Latino Pastoral Action Center and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, as well as others from among the more than 50 organizations that support South Bronx Unite.  Tellingly, not a single local resident testified in favor of the project.

FreshDirect’s planned ceremony takes place as historic city-wide actions challenge decades of unequal public policies in communities of color.  Unprecedented acknowledgement of the racial divide in air quality is taking place across the nation right now, with The Washington Post writing that “blacks and whites actually breathe different air.”Mayor de Blasio, who campaigned on promises to stop the FreshDirect deal and end the tale of two cities, has remained silent since taking office despite more than 400 phone calls and emails to his office by the community to stop the project.

It is nearly seven years to the day of when FreshDirect fired 85 immigrant workers and over a hundred fled just days before Christmas in 2007 following an immigration raid on the eve of a Teamster union vote of the employees.  The company was alleged to have tipped off immigration authorities.

While FreshDirect is courting support from Bronx representatives (and will be sponsoring the Christmas parties of several State representatives from outside the district later in the week), City, State and federal elected representatives from within the district remain opposed to the project. U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano, State Senator José M. Serrano, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo have all called for a moratorium on all new development on the state-owned stretch of waterfront land, including with respect to FreshDirect, until a thorough analysis of the current uses and the disproportionate impact on the health of the community could be thoroughly studied and mitigated.

Mayor de Blasio, who campaigned on promises to stop the FreshDirect deal and end the tale of two cities, has not yet affirmed this stance since taking office despite more than 400 phone calls and emails to his office by the community to stop the project.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Press Release on Empire State Development Proposed Subsidies to FreshDirect

Over 100 Residents, Clergy, Labor Leaders and Health Professionals to Testify at Public Hearing in Opposition to Subsidies for Proposed FreshDirect Relocation to the South Bronx

Relocation Would Have Devastating Environmental and Health Impacts on Local Community

More than 100 residents, clergy, labor leaders and health professionals will testify on Monday evening in opposition to a proposed $10 million subsidy package to FreshDirect from the Empire State Development Corporation.  In total, FreshDirect is seeking over $140 million in taxpayer subsidies for a highly controversial project that would subject South Bronx residents to the pollution, noise, and traffic of over a thousand additional diesel truck trips every day. The project would have devastating environmental and health impacts on a neighborhood where one in four children already has asthma. The State subsidies would carry no mandate to create jobs. FreshDirect has thus far avoided local living wage requirements and posted openings that pay as little as $8.00 per hour.  Monday’s hearing in the South Bronx is the first local public hearing on the proposed subsidy package in the three years the community has been fighting against the deal, with litigation against the project ongoing.  Last December, Fresh Direct was forced to withdraw a $3.5 million Empowerment Zone (EZ) subsidy application when it became clear that the EZ Board of Directors , under the leadership of local Congressman Jose E. Serrano, would reject it.  In 2013, Mayor de Blasio campaigned heavily against the City subsidy while running for office but has not yet taken a decisive move since entering office.

“Today, the South Bronx community is proud to stand arm-in-arm with labor unions, faith leaders and medical professionals in opposition to the allocation of taxpayer money to subsidize FreshDirect and the 1,000 diesel trucks it would bring through our community every day.  The fact that FreshDirect and the City have attempted to push through this proposal by relying on a 21 year old environmental impact study is a particular slap in the face when 1 in 4 of our children has asthma.  We were particularly disappointed to learn that a few State representatives who don’t even represent our district are advocating for this diesel project to be cited in our community.  We remain confident that this community will prevail and that we will stop FreshDirect.” –Mychal Johnson, Co-founder, South Bronx Unite; Board of Directors, Bronx Council for Environmental Quality

“More than 15 primary care physicians and nurses working and living locally have submitted testimony against the subsidies for FreshDirect.  As a resident, physician and parent of a child with specials needs, I have seen firsthand the well-documented harms diesel truck emissions have on vulnerable communities and individuals, such as children and the elderly.  This subsidy package would allow FreshDirect to bring upwards of 1,000 diesel truck trips through my neighborhood every day and expose us to heightened levels of pollutants linked to cognitive and mental delays in our children as well as respiratory and cardiovascular disease.” –Dr. Melissa Barber, Resident

“"The health of our children and future generation is far more important than anything else FreshDirect can offer.  There is no trade-off.  We as faith leaders have stood, and will continue to stand together with South Bronx Unite until the powers that be fully understand what's at stake." –Rev. Que English, Co-founder Bronx Clergy Roundtable

“In my tradition to be saved is to be socially responsible and accountable for our actions. Today we stand with the South Bronx community as stewards of the earth God has given us to live in and to raise our children with. I have to denounce any action on the part of FreshDirect that will poison the only air our children have to breathe.” Minister Danny Diaz, Executive Board Member of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Justice Fellow Latino Pastoral Action Fellow, Micah Justice Fellow New York Theological Seminary

“FreshDirect is bringing pollution and poverty to the South Bronx, two things we have plenty of already. The company has rejected calls to pay a living wage and is not required to create a single job to get this massive subsidy. We know how to create strong industries that breed prosperity, and this isn't it. Community members are standing up and the Teamsters are standing with them.” - Dan Kane, President, Teamsters Local 202

“FreshDirect has requested over $140 million in subsidies while their workers, many earning just $8.25 per hour, make wages that guarantee they will either have to find additional jobs to survive or require them to get additional subsidies for housing and food.” – Lily Kesselman Dunn, Director, South Bronx Farmers Market

“The FreshDirect relocation would significantly harm the health and quality of life of Mott Haven and Port Morris residents.  It is vehemently opposed by residents and community-based organizations in these neighborhoods and is unsupported by the elected officials that represent them. For these reasons, Empire State Development should reject FreshDirect’s subsidy application.” –Gavin Kearney, Director, Environmental Justice, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest


“FreshDirect is bad for the South Bronx on many counts: the environment, social justice, transportation and food sovereignty. It leaves food on the doorsteps of the privileged and nothing but noise and fumes for those who lack access to healthy food.” –Tom Angotti, Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College, Graduate Center, City University of New York; Director, Hunter College Center for Community Planning & Development