Still Here (3 Years Post Sandy)
On Monday, October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall along the Eastern Seaboard. As we approach the three-year anniversary of the storm, we are reminded of our community's strength, tenacity, and commitment to survival. We will never forget the floodwaters and devastation or going weeks on end without electricity, heat, and running water. However, even when faced with danger, the Rockaway Youth Task Force (RYTF) was one of the first responders to the storm, climbing into high-rise buildings and going where the Red Cross and FEMA could not. The courage and strength of our members and volunteers served as a beacon of light during our community's darkest hours.
Sandy exacerbated many socioeconomic issues that have become commonplace in our community. Even three years after the storm, we are still fighting to rebuild our homes and stay in our community. In the aftermath of Sandy, Rockaway residents received desperately needed assistance at a great cost: the gentrification of our community.
Rockaway's gentrification puts many residents at risk of displacement due to rising rents and corporate development. Many socioeconomic ailments riddle our community. Limited access to adequate public transit, high poverty rates, incessant gang violence, and rampant unemployment continue to challenge Rockaway's growth and success. In addition, the health of the community remains at risk due to insufficient healthy food options, lack of hospital facilities, and inadequate social services. For these reasons, we have fought and will continue to fight, organize, and build power to create transformational change within our community.