Close to 100 residents, community members and activists rallied from Flatbush to Sunset Park on Saturday in the second annual March Against Gentrification, Racism and Police Violence.
Led by The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network , in partnership with the Movement to Protect The People (MTOPP) and Equality for Flatbush (E4F), marchers protested what they feel has been the “selling out” of Brooklyn, including rezoning that has led overdevelopment, over-policing and rising rents.
“Take it back before it’s gone! Brooklyn’s not for sale,” Victor Moses, an organizer with E4F, led the crowd in the chant.
“Gentrification is a social phenomenon that includes elected officials and greedy landlords,” said Moses. “Unfortunately they use law enforcement as their personal army to occupy our neighborhoods, and push out black and brown families.”
Protestors held signs reading “F*** Your Brunch” and “De Blasio = Chief Destroyer Of Our Hoods.”
A boy accompanied by his mother held a sign reading “Preservation Over Development.”
Along the way, the marchers made a stop at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where MTOPP co-founder Alicia Boyd decried the Department of City Planning’s approval of Cornell Realty’s proposal to expand the height of two buildings overlooking the park, despite fears that the shadows cast by the buildings will be detrimental to the garden.
“This is your city using public assets to gain wealth for the rich,” said Boyd. “They don’t care who or what they destroy in the process.”
David Eisenbach, a Columbia University Professor running for public advocate in the November was marching with MTOPP: “Enough is enough,” he said. “There should be no more big real estate giveaways. Neighborhoods are being handed over to luxury developers and small businesses are dying.”
Dozens of residents joined the activist to complain about rising rents. “My family has been in Flatbush for 25 years; they’re from the Caribbean,” said Shayhan, who was born and raised in Flatbush. “We’ve seen our building fall apart year after year, but rent keeps going up.”
The march made another stop at Wyckoff Gardens in Boerum Hill, where developers plan to build two 16-story towers of market rate and affordable housing units, before wrapping up with a rally in Sunset Park.
Adam Stevens, a history teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School, explained why he felt compelled to attend the march: “Frankly, I want to go back to school and tell my students and coworkers that this is what I did this weekend, and remind them that history is something we participate in and not just study.”
MTOPP will leading another rally Saturday, September 29, leaving from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at 12:00pm.
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