Rebecca Solnit was right, it turns out (but you knew that). Not only because she’s an excellent writer with a reputation for top-notch research but her recent book A Paradise Made in Hell is about the community-centered action that the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita took up to dig themselves out of the hole that Mother nature had dropped them into.
We’re seeing something very similar in the presence of Occupy Sandy in NYC and the surrounding areas Consider the following items:
Justin Wedes, an Occupy Sandy organizer, said that ever since Occupy Wall Street was formally evicted from Zucotti Park, the Occupy network has been working on building communities and fostering relationships around the country, in neighborhoods like Red Hook and Sunset Park.
“We’ve been building neighborhood assemblies and community support networks,” he said. “So this relief is a natural response for us, where communities band together to reach out and support each other.”
The group has already launched a relief hub in Red Hook, in partnership with the Red Hook Initiative, to help coordinate donations of food and supplies and to cook meals for the over 5,000 residents of the Red Hook Houses housing project that are without electricity in the flooded neighborhood.
The Red Cross doesn’t accept individual donations of household goods—these things, it says, need to be cleaned, sorted, and repackaged, and all that takes up more time than they’re worth. It asks for financial donations only. But Occupy, as you would expect, has a different style. For instance: as soon as it was safe to go outside after the storm, first thing Tuesday morning, Michael Premo and a couple of people he knew got in a car and drove over to Red Hook.
There is no doubt that Sandy required an all hands on deck approach to relief efforts, and with voids left by FEMA and The American Red Cross, Occupy Sandy is here to help with immediate needs and minimal red tape. Once again social media is being used as an effective tool to organize and Occupy Sandy is taking full advantage.
As Slate‘s Katherine Goldstein reported last week, Occupy Sandy got their hands in quickly to the relief effort in New York City. So how are they preparing for Sandy’s colder littler sister? “One thing we’re really good at is adapting,” Ed Needham of the Occupy Sandy press team told the Slatest. “Everyone’s going to try to do as much as they can until the storm provides an impediment to anyone’s safety,” he added.
The items on the New York registry are shipped to the Brooklyn chapter of Occupy’s Sandy relief operation at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Clinton Hill, where they will be taken to those in need. Gifts from the New Jersey registryare sent to Occupy’s outpost at Barrow Mansion in Jersey City.
Check out their link and help with whatever you can. Time, labor, materials, other donations are all appreciated.