Rising Tides, Rising Rents, Rising People- RTC at the People’s Climate March

Right to the City is forming a Housing and Displacement Contingent at the historic People’ s Climate March on Sept. 21st.

Amidst the continuing ecological crisis, we are forming this contingent to visually represent the interconnected crisis of displacement which our communities are experiencing at the hands of neoliberal urban development policies, and the people’s fight for permanently affordable, stable, sustainable housing.  We are artists, students, organizers, thinkers and concerned citizens who are actively engaged in community-based struggles for more just, democratic and sustainable cities.  We warmly invite you to join us here in New York City.

We know that half (over 21 million households) of all renters in the US have unaffordable housing (paying over 30% of their income to housing).  People of color are hardest hit:  59% of Black households have unaffordable housing, 57% of Hispanic, 48% of Asian and 46% of white.[1]

In his article for the Atlantic Monthly, How to Talk about Climate Change So People Will Listen, Charles Mann writes, “Glaciers in the western Arctic are collapsing and their disappearance appears unstoppable.” The melting of these great ice sheets would make seas rise by at least four feet- ultimately possible 12 – more than enough to flood cities from New York, to Tokyo, to Mumbai.”

For those of us working for a Right To The City here in the Unites States, we see the critical need to RECLAIM, REMAIN AND REBUILD our cities to meet human needs, instead of being designed to facilitate wealth accumulation and entertainment for the rich.  Rising costs, rising rents, and rising tides will continue to disproportionately impact working class people, immigrants, people of color, young people, people with disabilities and elders.

[1] Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies, “America’s Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs,” Harvard University, 2013., p. 6, 47.

But we are the rising people. Many of us are the children of immigrants who come from countries where the effects of the climate crisis are a daily reality.   We know that we must rush recovery funds to groups and low-income families who need it most, we must decrease incarceration of youth, and the tide of gentrification to ensure stability for our urban environments.  Unsustainable, unaffordable and unhealthy conditions in housing will push out the poor, increase the carbon footprint of the 1% in our cities and displace neighborhoods that could be the model for true diversity, and a strong, sustainable environment.  We want an end to the “dig and dump” economy, and a beginning to local living economies that can facilitate: Zero Waste, Regional Food Systems, PublicTransportation, Clean Community Energy, Efficient, Affordable, and Durable Housing, Ecosystem Restoration and Stewardship.Source- Our Power Campaign: www.ourpowercampaign.org/campaign

WHO ARE WE? We are a working group to help the messaging and art of the Frontline communities and ts related to climate change

We have three areas of work-

Messaging– Coming up with amazing slogans/ memes/ statements about what we are doing to have a solid narrative presence

Artbuild– We are building roaming tent city and other props to show and engage folks with the ideas around the crisis of displacement and the gentrification and affordability issues in our cities

Outreach– We are reaching out to neighborhoods- particularly in Flatbush and Bushwick to engage them in the contingent