Thousands Show up at African American Parade

A participant of the African American Parade. (Photo via Amsterdam News)

(Photo via Amsterdam News)

Thousands joined the 45th African American Day Parade on Sunday September 21 to celebrate their cultural heritage and push for social justice, almost at the same time as hundreds of thousands joined the People’s Climate March further downtown to demand action at the United Nations climate summit. For the African American paraders, who traveled from West 111th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard to West 136th Street, environmental concerns just didn’t resonate as deeply, reports Matthew Taub for Brooklyn Brief.

“In the minds of most African Americans, there is not always a nexus between climate change and income inequality and other issues we care about,” said Richard Hurley, a lawyer and President of the Crown Heights Community Council. “Our concerns are more immediate and tangible. They involve landlords, developers, policing and disingenuous politicians.”

Pastor Lloyd Allwood, one of the heads of Good Tidings Gospel Chapel in Bedford-Stuyvesant, does not discount the environmental impact on his community but believes that many other issues remain dominant among the community’s concerns.

“We know it’s important, we know it’s affecting us, but there are so many issues more immediately impacting our congregation,” Pastor Allwood admitted.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is promising to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over 2005 levels by 2050. Many environmentalists believe that environmental degradation disproportionately affects minority and communities of color.

“The effects of climate change have been ravaging the communities where NYC members live for years,” said Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change, in response to the Mayor’s initiative. “From the devastation Sandy brought in the Rockaways to the disproportionately high asthma rates in Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, low-income communities of color have suffered the majority of the consequences linked to our changing planet.”

According to a separate report in New York Amsterdam News, this year’s parade grand marshals were former New York State Gov. David Paterson, former Mayor David Dinkins,  Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Congressman Charles Rangel, former City Comptroller William Thompson and DC37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts.

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