Members of New York City’s Occupy movement are waging an expanding relief effort for tens of thousands of people who remain without heat, power or hot water in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Observers are calling it Occupy’s finest hour.
Cynthia Kouril, a resident of one of the areas left in the lurch by the storm and the city’s less-than-stellar response, had this to say about Occupy’s efforts:
I live on the North Shore of Long Island, walking distance from the beach, in an area full of very old tall trees and very old overhead wires. Oh, and spotty cellphone coverage. I have been virtually incommunicado for the past couple weeks. No electricity, no internet, no landline phones, no TV, no voice over cellphone and very limited texting over cellphone.
What little information I had access to, came from the car radio, and it told a tale of stranded victims on Staten Island and the Long Island South Shore and Brooklyn, left unaided by the City. No police doing door-to-door searches for the trapped and stranded elderly or infirm, no social service agencies coming to their homes to make sure they had a meal, nadda.
So, OWS called upon its stupendous logistical skills and filled the void left by Ray Kelly and Michael Bloomberg.
… OWS did what they do best, rallied compassionate people, started cooking meals and gave them away, just like at Liberty Plaza (it’s hard to get me to call it Zuccotti Park). They organized blankets and flashlights and charging stations (including the Green Peace solar truck and those cool Gilligan’s Island bicycle generators), just as they did at Liberty Plaza. They knocked on doors to ask the stranded residents what they needed. They sent out tweets for “needs of the occupiers” and supporters from all over the world sent supplies, just like at Liberty Plaza. They even improved on that with an Occupy Sandy “wedding registry” on Amazon that helps doors to ship supplies quickly and easily. Genius!
A woman in the video below offers similar praise to a movement that has filled the gap that Bloomberg and city officials have left for so many.
“I reached out to a number of service organizations spearheaded by the city and none of them got back to me,” she says. “I reached out to Occupy, and because everything is so on the ground and so current, you just can jump right in.”