Under foggy skies, community leaders and residents from the South Bronx met at community garden La Finca on 138th Street, before joining the People’s Climate March.
Their concerns, shared by many of those who marched on Sunday September 21, are pollution and fracking. But on top of this, they said they were marching because they are tired of fighting to protect their environment and being the “junk yard” of the city.
“We live in a very garbage infested area, the social services are minute,” said mother and resident of the Bronx, Janvieve Williams.
Dominican Omar Freilla, coordinator of Green Worker Cooperatives, said the Bronx houses businesses that increase pollution rates instead of providing jobs. Energy plants, waste transfer stations and truck-intensive business are some of his concerns.
“We need a different economy… we need more green jobs,” he said.
Like Freilla, many are concerned about companies bringing their businesses to an already vulnerable community. The asthma hospitalization rate for children in the Bronx is higher than in any other borough in New York City according to Health & Place Journal.
Online grocer FreshDirect has been trying since 2012 to relocate its diesel trucking operation to the South Bronx, a move that community members believe would worsen air pollution, as well as bring traffic disruption and raise noise levels.
“It doesn’t make sense to bring a company whose very business is to move in large numbers of vehicles in and out almost 24 hours a day,” said community researcher and blogger Morgan Powell.
The community will continue the struggle against companies like FreshDirect until “real changes” to local policies are made, says Powell.
On September 23, community co-founder of South Bronx Unite, and member of the Board of Directors of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, Mychal Johnson, will attend the United Nations Climate Summit at the United Nations.
African American delegate Johnson stated on the South Bronx Unite website that his attendance at this summit will “bring the voices of the unrepresented to the table when developing strategies and solutions to combat climate change and environmental injustice.”