Walk a Mile in Our Shoes

January 11, 2013

There’s a big Sandy relief walk going down this weekend all around the boroughs and on Long Island and New Jersey. “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes“. Join in! So much info that it was easiest to just copy the press release. Please click on neighborhood links for walk info.

From the press release:

ROCKAWAY BEACH, New York (January 09, 2013) – Coastal communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy will gather this Saturday, 12 January 2013, in a day of action to call upon elected officials and government agency leaders to “walk a mile in our shoes.” The goal of these community walks is to show solidarity and urge immediate passage of a comprehensive Hurricane Sandy relief package by Congress. Once any relief package is passed, Sandy-affected communities call for swift and effective follow-through by Federal, state and local government agencies to deliver desperately needed funds into hard-hit neighborhoods.

“It is a crime that Congress will have failed to act until 78 days after Superstorm Sandy in providing the desperately needed funding to jumpstart this recovery,” says Michael Sciaraffo, co-founder of the “Walk a Mile” community events and founder of The Sandy Claus Foundation. “People are suffering and lives are at stake. Funding for Katrina victims was passed within 10 days after the storm. Why are we any different?”

After Hurricane Sandy slammed into the east coast in October 2012, millions of affected Americans expected swift federal government action would be taken. Yet the 112th Congress came and went without passing a comprehensive relief package.

Originally Governors Cuomo, Christie and Malloy had asked for a combined $83 billion in aid, but only $60 billion was ever proposed as a relief package by Congress. The new 113th Congress passed an initial $9 billion to replenish the FEMA Flood Relief Insurance fund, but then adjourned without further action. Now, the House is reportedly poised to hold a vote for Sandy disaster relief on 15 January 2013 — 78 days after the initial disaster. And the Senate will only get the bill a week later. Meanwhile, the prospects for disaster relief passage is not certain; hurdles and challenges remain. Even if Congress passes the anticipated package of $51 billion in aid, it is far short of the original governors’ combined request, and it could take months, or a year or more to deliver funding on a local level.

Sandy-impacted communities are concerned they are being forgotten. Neighborhoods, towns, and whole counties along the New York and New Jersey coast still bear the scars of shattered homes and shuttered businesses. While much of the disaster’s impact is immediately obvious — with swaths of communities washed away or burned to the ground — other aspects of the disaster are not readily apparent. Gutted and mold-ridden homes conceal their damage on the inside. Emptied savings accounts, bankruptcies and unemployment cannot be seen from a casual street view.

“It is like these neighborhoods are suffering from a kidney punch. There’s a terrible amount of internal hemorrhaging. A relief bill would be life-saving to these communities,” says “Walk a Mile” co-founder Peter Corless. “Much needed Community Development Block Grants could stabilize local economies and save jobs and households. Shorelines are dangerously compromised in the face of future storms. Billions in promised aid could directly lead to smart rebuilding, sand replenishment and flood mitigation projects.”

In the long run, once the day of action passes, “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes” will lead to a program of “Walk a Mile Ambassadors” from each of the Sandy-affected areas. These volunteers have offered to guide future visits by leaders from government, volunteer agencies or businesses who wish to see for themselves the damage that Sandy wrought, and to understand how best to direct aid where it is needed most. Volunteer recruitment will occur at each community walk.

To learn more about the “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes” Sandy Recovery Community Events, see: https://www.facebook.com/SandyWalkAMile. Links for additional information for community-specific events is provided below.

Currently events are planned for eight communities throughout New York and New Jersey. All except Coney Island will be held Saturday 12 January 2013, starting at 9 am. The Coney Island event will be held on Sunday 13 January at 1:30 pm. Event organizers are interested in hearing from other Sandy-affected communities to coordinate similar efforts in the future.

NEW YORK CITY

NASSAU COUNTY

NEW JERSEY

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