Occupy relief activists emerge as reluctant heroes in Sandy aftermath: They boldly go where no FEMA personnel dare going
November 2, 2012
By Michelle Devlin
All those nights camping in Zucotti Park appear to have paid off – big time – for Occupy activists who are possibly not only the most well-prepared, but also the most well-fed and cheerful New Yorkers in town following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
In a press release as of Nov. 1, MoRUS shared “The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) is using one of its exhibits to provide the community with free cell phone charging. Working with environmental group Times Up, MoRUS has set up Occupy Wall Street bike generators on Avenue C between 9th and 10th Street. For the past two days, volunteer riders have been pedaling as crowds of people gather to charge up their cell phones.
For many people, this has been the first time they’ve been able to contact loved ones after Hurricane Sandy hit earlier this week. Meanwhile, C-Squat, the squat which houses MoRUS, has set up a street-side barbecue. They have been accepting donations and providing the community with free food.
The residents of C-Squat have set up two grills, are receiving food donations and are essentially feeding the neighborhood. After pumping out their own basement and rescuing the Occupy Wall Street bikes, the residents pumped out the water from the bar next door and the deli on the corner. As one C-Squat resident exclaimed: “”It’s like a block party!”
A website has been set up in order to help people to find shelters, and also as a hub and a meeting place, where people can be directed to find those who need assistance and aide.
“Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net.” From http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/
Relief from government agencies has been slow to non-existent, according to one Facebook post:
“There continues to be mounting frustration from other residents here. The Red Cross is quickly becoming the villain because it has been invisible. It’s a bad sign for the world that Occupy Wall Street and a Sikh group from Queens are doing a better job at distributing hot food than the largest international relief group in the world.” -NY1 Blog: NY1’s Bob Hardt Reports On Sandy From Rockaway Beach
As another night fell upon the millions still without power, many families were beginning to suffer due to the constant cold, lack of hot food and water. The Occupiers are all too familiar with that scenario – exactly one year ago they were set up in Zuccotti Park, braving November winds without heat and fighting government eviction. Occupiers faced the most effective disaster-preparedness training ground imaginable and have emerged a year later as reluctant heroes with their resilience, positivity and community-mindedness shining the spotlight upon them once more.