Devon Lawrence hasn't had heat since Hurricane Sandy three months ago. His elderly mother wears gloves to bed and Lawrence wakes up early to turn the heat on so she doesn't wake up cold. Despite all of the challenges, he isn't giving up:
Devon Lawrence neatly stacked bricks on the gas burner of his kitchen stove and turned up the blue flame, creating a sort of radiator that warmed the ice-cold room.
His two-story house in the Far Rockaway section of Queens hasn't had working heat since Superstorm Sandy's floodwaters destroyed the oil burner in the basement. Now mold is growing upstairs because the house has been cold and damp for so long.
Lawrence wakes early every morning to heat the bricks and light a kerosene space heater while his 75-year-old mother sits in bed in a hat and gloves.
"That way she doesn't freeze," said Lawrence, a former Army medic who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Even the dog is cold."
The Associated Press also interviewed Norma Mancia, a Salvadoran immigrant, for this report. Mancia's home is also located in the Far Rockaways, and she lost many preciouos documents in the flooding.
"We lost all the receipts and papers we could need in case we have the opportunity of solving our legal status here," said Mancia, who has received only $500 in aid from a local church. "I have cried a lot."
Because she is in the U.S. illegally, Mancia has not received any funds from FEMA.
President Obama today called upon Congress to finally fix what he called a "broken" immigration system. While there seems to be rare bipartisan cooperation in crafting a plan that includes a clear path to citizenship, it seems unlikely that any new legislation could be put into effect soon enough to be of assistance to Mancia, or others in similar situations.
Another awesome video from the folks at anothernyc.org, and the weekend's scheduled events for NYC.
May 10-15: A Week of Actions Against Budget Cuts and Austerity
Tuesday May 15 @ 6 PM: Mass Convergence in Times Square on Global Day of Action
Say no to the system that produces record profits for the 1% by impoverishing the 99% of us; say yes to a fair city and a better world!
Beginning on May 10th and culminating on May 15th in a mass convergence at Times Square, NYC organizations and individuals from all across the city will join together in action around the many issues we face: from cuts in social services, to an austerity agenda that redistributes your tax revenue into private hands, to the financial institutions (that we bailed out) that continue to make record profits at our expense.
As part of a global resistance, as part of the Occupy movement, as a broad movement for social, political, and economic justice, we say enough! We reject Bloomberg's New York, and we demand another city. We reject the notion that there is no alternative, and we demand a better world. Join the week of actions, take to the streets, raise your voice, and come to Times Square on May 15th at 6 PM to stand together as a global movement and declare that another city, and another world, is possible!
Friday, April 20, 11am Foreclosure Auction Blockade
Queens Civil Supreme Court, 88-11 Sutphin Blvd, Room 25
Protect the Queens communities most affected by the vulture profit-making inherent to foreclosure auctions.
Friday, April 20th, 2pm Weekly Wall Street Marches
Every Friday Occupy Wall Street converges in the streets for Spring Training marches from Liberty Square to Wall Street in preparation for May Day, followed by a community pot-luck dinner! Check out this Spring Training video for more on the fun we have every week.
Sunday, April 22, 4pm Occupy Earth Day
BP Gas Station at 300 Lafayette st.
Celebrate Earth Day Occupy-style and call for “System Change Not Climate Change!” The future we are fighting for will be won in the streets.
Wednesday, April 25th, 4pm 1T Day National Day of Action Against Student Debt
Meet at Union Square
On April 25 the total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. is due to top 1 trillion dollars, and we will march from Union Square to Wall Street to mark this historic day. Participants include Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, the Plus Brigades, Billionaires for Debt, and other OWS performers.
Wednesday, April 25, 11am ACT UP and OCCUPY! 25th Anniversary Action
City Hall (Broadway and Murray St)
ACT UP is calling for a small tax (0.05%) on Wall Street transactions and speculative trades in order to raise the money needed to end the global AIDS epidemic and provide universal healthcare in the US. At 11am meet at City Hall for an important demonstration and march that ends on Wall St.
Tuesday, May 1 A Day Without the 99%: May Day 2012
On May 1st we will take the streets to reclaim our jobs, our communities, our lives. Occupy Wall Street stands in solidarity with the calls for a General Strike, a Day Without the 99%, and more! There will be actions throughout the day, including a 4 p.m. rally at Union Square that culminates with a march to Wall Street at 5:30 p.m. Click here for the full May Day schedule. Text “@maydayaction” to 23559 for day-of text updates on ongoing events, and if you would like to be added to the announcement and / or discussion listserv, or have any questions in general, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In support of homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction in NYC, members of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and other community groups will conduct vibrant singing protests and raise the people’s voices at foreclosure auctions in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx next week, with the aim to: disrupt the sale of people’s homes and the eviction of their occupants; call for a moratorium on all foreclosures; demand justice for all New Yorkers struggling for affordable housing; confront Wall Street’s unchecked power to put profits over people’s right to housing.
MONDAY, April 16th, 2pm
Bronx Supreme Court, Rm 600. 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx
Who: Organizing for Occupation (O4O), OWS
THURSDAY, April 19th, 3pm
Kings County Supreme Court, 360 Adams St, Brooklyn
Who: Occupy Faith, Catholic Worker, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)
FRIDAY, April 20th, 11am
Queens Supreme Court, 8811 Sutphin Boulevard, Queens
Who: Occupy Queens, Columbia Univ students, Occupy the New School
Everyone has the right to live freely, securely, peacefully and with dignity in his or her home. In the US there are over three times as many “people-less” homes as home-less people. Financial institutions have stripped individuals and communities of their savings and property while receiving $7.7 Trillion in taxpayer bail-outs.
“At the same time that banks are getting bailed out, rental assistance programs are being reduced–even completely eliminated,” says housing rights activist and organizer Blair Ellis. “Empty buildings fill New York City boroughs, while those in need of housing are forgotten by our economic and political system. Those lucky enough to remain in their homes are increasingly burdened with the escalating cost of rent and mortgage loans. This American Dream is becoming a nightmare for millions of the middle class and poor people.”
There are over 100,000 homes in foreclosure in New York State due to subprime and predatory loans; now New Yorkers with “fair” (or “prime”) loans are also missing payments and falling into foreclosure because of unemployment, under-employment and mounting healthcare costs among other issues.
“We can create meaningful, community based solutions to keep people in their homes and return land in our communities back to the people who live in them,” says Heath Madom, a local housing rights advocate. “We look forward to the day when all bank-owned property—occupied and vacant—is returned to community control and made permanently affordable.”
Where the system has failed the people and upheld the bank’s rights to profit:
The big banks were bailed out first under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and again in the recent settlement brokered by NY Attorney General Schneiderman. TARP gave the big banks the money they needed to stay afloat and, in return, left to the banks’ discretion whether to foreclose on families’ homes or sell the homes at auction. Schneiderman’s settlement is a slap on the wrist that gives the banks blanket immunity for widespread fraud in exchange for providing some, but not all, ailing homeowners no more than $2,000 in assistance.
New York’s “Settlement Conferences” are a massive failure because banks won’t agree to affordable loan modiﬁcations and the federal Home Affordable Modiﬁcation Program (HAMP) gives the same banks we bailed out with our tax dollars the discretion to modify loans or auction off homes. They would rather auction them off.
Watch the October 13th rendition of “Listen Auctioneer” at the Brooklyn foreclosure auction blockade below. This one is heartbreaking. The protesters of the foreclosure sing "Listen, Auctioneer, all the people here (right here, right now), Are asking you to hold off the sales right now. We're going to survive but we don't know how. Listen Auctioneer, all the people here are asking you to hold off the sales right now. We're going to survive but we don't know how..."
Then they are all handcuffed, arrested, and escorted out by police.
Shut down Wall Street for breakfast, occupy the subways for lunch, take Foley Square for
dinner, or join other actions across the U.S. and the world.
Just days after the violent raid on the Occupy movement's home base in Zuccotti Square, a huge day of action is planned to take the movement to a new level.
Today, Thursday November 17th, marks two months since the start of Occupy Wall Street as well as International Students Day. To commemorate this two month anniversary, Occupy Wall Street will take to the streets in celebration and in solidarity with people around the world participating in a massive global day of action in hundreds of cities.
Facebook Event | Twitter #N17 | Direct Action Resources
On Thursday November 17th, the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, we call upon the 99% to participate in a national day of direct action and celebration!
New York City
BREAKFAST: Shut Down Wall Street - 7:00 a.m.
Enough of this economy that exploits and divides us. It's time we put an end to Wall Street's reign of terror and begin building an economy that works for all. We will gather in Liberty Square at 7:00 a.m., before the ring of the Trading Floor Bell, to prepare to confront Wall Street with the stories of people on the frontlines of economic injustice. There, before the Stock Exchange, we will exchange stories rather than stocks.
LUNCH: Occupy The Subways – 3:00 p.m.
We will start by Occupying Our Blocks! Then throughout the five boroughs, we will gather at 16 central subway hubs and take our own stories to the trains, using the “People’s Mic”.
3rd Ave, 138th Street
163rd and Southern Blvd
161st and River - Yankee Stadium
301 Grove Street
St Jose Patron Church,185 Suydam St, Bushwick
Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave.
92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights
125th St. A,B,C,D
Union Sq. (Mass student strike)
23rd St and 8th Ave
St. George, Staten Island Ferry Terminal
479 Port Richmond Avenue, Port Richmond
DINNER: Take The Square - 5:00 p.m.
At 5 pm, tens of thousands of people will gather at Foley Square (just across from City Hall) in solidarity with laborers demanding jobs to rebuild this country’s infrastructure and economy. A gospel choir and a marching band will also be performing.
Afterwards we will march to our bridges. Let’s make it as musical a march as possible – bring your songs, your voice, your spirit! Our "Musical" on the bridge will culminate in a festival of light as we mark the two-month anniversary of the #occupy movement, and our commitment to shining light into our broken economic and political system.
Resist austerity. Rebuild the economy. Reclaim our democracy.
I'll have videos and reports coming in through the day to share with you, so be sure to check back in on the fun. If you're attending any of the events today - either in New York, or wherever you are - I hope you'll share your experiences in the comments thread.