New Yorkers have taken to the streets as part of a rally in protest at what they call growing racism, police brutality and gentrification.
About 100 people from Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network, Equality for Flatbush, and Movement to Protect the People gathered outside Wyckoff Gardens in Downtown Brooklyn Saturday afternoon.
The event marked the second annual March Against Gentrification that united grassroots activists, families of people killed by police as well as other New Yorkers.
They marched from Flatbush to Sunset Park, holding Black Lives Matter placards and some others wearing T-shirts that read, “Take It Back Before It’s Gone” and “Brooklyn is Not for Sale.”
“Because of gentrification, a lot of people are being displaced,” said Monica Underwood, co-chair of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality.
“There’s no other places for us to live because we can’t afford outside rent,” added Underwood, who is one of Wyckoff residents, most of whom oppose the NextGen project, a plan to construct two 16-story towers of market-rate and affordable housing on the parking lots of the NYCHA site.
“They’re going to take away all the grass and all the trees and the beautiful things we need,” added Ijazza El-Nuwaubun, also of FUREE.
Before the final rally of the day was held in Sunset Park, around 150 walked through the newly developed Industry City, which is home to studios and shopping, chanting, “Get the f—- out, Industry City!”
Since the 9/11 terror attacks, “we’ve experienced mayoral terms of pro-real estate and pro-massive gentrification over affordable housing in New York,” said Nadeem Salaan, 34, who grew up in Park Slope and now lives in Sunset Park.
Joanne Zhao, another protester, said it was essential to have “something that actually meets community needs.”
Zhao encouraged the Asian and Latin communities of Sunset Park to collectively fight gentrification, which prompted protesters to shout yells of approval.
Last year’s march drew about 500 people who came to share stories of police brutality, landlord harassment and the bad impact big developers had on their neighborhoods.
US police have been under harsh criticism for numerous death shootings of African Americans and badly treating people of color all across the country.