Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Longest Day, from the Community Gardens to VOCAL, Save the Land Save the World

Jason dancing. 

Jason dancing, Eric Sawyer and Michael Kink and countless friends at the VOCAL Gala! Congrats for twenty amazing years VOCAL!

JK and BS

                                                      City Hall Park Manhattan NYC 
                                              Save the gardens. Save the city. 
                                  Reject  the leases!

Some  days it feels like  the whole world opens,

Saying hi to the Community Gardeners and VOCAL, and the people who’ve been there.

 Riding  to and from, over the bridge,

my whole life passes,

making it through the hours of the day.

Thursday was one of those days.

Not enough sleep before

breakfast with the kids.

By 9:30, I was off to the garden press conference.

Biking over the first for the first of four trips.

Literally, twenty years of garden battles later.

 And here we were standing imploring the  city not  to lock us out of our precious green  spaces.

Don’t lock us out, screams Aziz and the gardeners fighting the encroachment of the city,

Of housing, of malling our commons.

Make sure gardens are independently operated.

We demand a fair lease.

“We have tried to work with the City to modify the garden license. The City has answered us with threats.
Gardeners have been warned that they must sign this unacceptable license or they will be locked out of their own community gardens.
These are gardens were created out of abandoned lots by volunteers. People who cultivated green spaces for children to grow, life to flourish. For forty years community gardeners have worked to make the City healthier, cleaner, greener. 
Now the City wants to impose new regulations, and obligations. The new license fundamentally changes the role from GreenThumb from a garden-friendly partner into an enforcement agency.
The new regulations can be arbitrarily enforced at the whim of Parks Department. The next mayor can use these rules to destroy the gardens and turn them over to developers.

GreenThumb has given garden groups a deadline of September 20 to sign this agreement.
We continue to urge gardeners not to sign this agreement, We must stand together.
Please join us on Thursday, September 19 at 10 am. Wear your flowers in your hair! Vegetables welcome!

We don’t have to tell you how all these issues are connected,

notes Aziz.

The gardens and the climate.

The gardens are the future of the city, reminding everyone about the Climate Strike the next day,

The action for East River Park on Saturday.

Gardens are our power.

Its like an absentee father showing up and  asking to be back into your life after forty years,

Notes Ray.

You might say, we have to have a conversation.

And then they say there is no conversation.

That is what HPD is doing.

It's mean and controlling.

They abandoned us.

We cleaned  the land.

Planted in  the dirt.

Created community.

And  now they want it back.

They want control.

They want to bulldoze.

Peter and Wendy and Ray and Susan countless garden heroes.

Have a good day at school Peter says as I jump back in my bike to ride back over the Brooklyn Bridge to school.

Observations, brown bag meeting with the union,

“After lunch, stop by the Library ground floor to screenprint,” writes Nora.
“We’ll be making posters with NYPIRG for the Climate Strike.”

curriculum, a four pm class.

And another six thirty meeting in the city.

The union work is never done.

One big union.

Solidarity is elusive.

But we’re still striving for it. 

Fighting austerity, beating back poverty wages.

Organizing our workplace.

Meeting dragging on, 

I sneak out to

the VOCAL fundraiser with the best organizers of my life.

Join VOCAL-NY in celebrating 20 years of victories!
There's so much to celebrate from 2019 alone! With our partners, we passed laws to abolish cash bail for most misdemeanors and all nonviolent felonies, reform discovery laws, protect tenants, and strike down Medicaid barriers for New Yorkers seeking medication-assisted treatment. VOCAL-NY joined the Decrim NY Coalition to protect sex workers in NY, and our upstate work flourished, strengthening all our chapters in Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, and Westchester! Our services team keeps expanding--we launched a writing group and released our first zine, trained nearly 1000 New Yorkers on how to reverse an opioid overdose, and distributed over 110,000 sterile syringes to communities in need in Brooklyn.”

Hi Eric and  Michael and Dahlia and Fred and Elizabeth and Nan and Jason and Reginald.

And Ms Mary the Harm Reduction Case Manager and Camron.

All the Harm Reductionists.

Trying to make connections between the planet and our lives.

It seemed like  my whole life was there.

Thinking about Michael Carden and the others lost,

Jennifer still organizing with us.

The spaces disappearing.

“Show World may be gone, but there are always going to be spaces like that,” notes Elizabeth.

There are always going to be magic places.

We don’t always see them but they are there as we pass the hours of  a day.

Down Hoyt Street, I ride after the fundraiser.

Greg is still up, chatting away about Atlantic City and CUNY.

Talking with him toward midnight, it felt like my whole  life right had passed by right from there, everything.

Twenty one years ago, I was arrested with

Michael Cunningham.

He writes about what happens to us during  those hours of our lives, the people we meet, or get to know. 

 “A few jump out windows, or drown themselves, or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us are slowly devoured by some disease, or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself.  There is just this for consolation: an hour here or there...."

The hours passing,

I can’t even finish this  blog before I am heading  out to the streets for the climate strike. 

Ms Mary and Camron,  
the original harm reduction case manager.

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