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Bulldozer Tales

  • Subject: [cg] Bulldozer Tales
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 10:49:12 EDT


This from garden activist Aresh Javadi appeared on the Cybergardens list 

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
Volunteer Clinton Community Garden
 <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton Community Garden</A>

Cabo Rojo Garden Mowed down, the roots are ready to grow again!

Cabo Rojo Community Garden
Thursday April 23, 2002 8am

"In the last 3o years, the City (administration) tore down perfectly
fixable homes, stopped trash pick ups, closed down our fire houses -
letting paid arsonist burn down our neighborhood, not a single police
when you ever needed one, never fixed the side walks where kids could
fall into. The people themselves responded to this neglect by creating
the community gardens. Its clean, the kids are safe, there is no crime,
the air feels better with all the asthma, free food comes out of them,
and the people have a place to come together. We really owe it to the
gardeners to find a solution to keep them here with all the rush to make
new housing." Community Board 1 elder who lived all her life in the
Melrose area of the South Bronx.

Police and HPD arrive and escort activists out of Cabo Rojo. The More
Gardens! activists had been encamping in the community garden in the
south Bronx since December 10th 2001. It was then they first faced down
(and stopped) the bulldozers from destroying the lungs of the
neighborhood with the highest asthma rate in the country. Cabo Rojo
represents over 300 endangered community gardens in NYC who are at
present holding on to dear life with a tenuous state temporary
restraining order.

The activists were able to get back inside the garden and take their
most important documents out of the casita (little house). Amidst a
dozen police escort two garden activists found their way up to the 27
feet high Sunflower (steel structure with a chair and lock down at the
top) and the Sleeping Dragon (steel tube encased in a 50 gallon concrete
drum) laying on the front ceiling of the casita.
The Emergency Police Service clumsily, and at times brutally (punching
the activistís head, unnecessary twisting of legs, threatening to lock
up activists standing outside of the garden if we did not come down,
etc), took over two hours before removing the two garden activists. Two
other activists were also arrested during the bulldozing for trespass
and shortly released on desk appearance tickets.

This non-violent demonstration allowed the community to gather and
respond to this act of terror against their locally shared green space.
People came in hundreds and many spoke to the TV and print media of
their disgust at the destruction of the Cabo Rojo community garden.
There was also dissatisfaction with unavailable low income housing for
the Melrose area residents. The majority of whom can not meet the non
permanent low income standards available for the Lego-style 3 floor
cement housing rapidly covering all the neighborhood.

Students from PS29 in the SOBRO IS151 After School Program and children
from two nearby day care centers who had been working on a garden
performance with dancing and puppets planted bulbs in the Cabo Rojo
garden.  Twenty local residents had been working in the garden
regularly, and hundreds of other local residents had been coming to
events and social gatherings at the garden.

The garden activists were released by midnight. Big thank you to the
Bronx Defenders (awesome non-profit law group defending the local
population) for their expediency and professionalism. They will be back
in court on May 30th at the Bronx criminal court to ask for a dismissal.

As the megalopolis city of New York developed there was little thought
of open green space where working people were piled up on each other in
crowded tenements. It is now time for our dream of a livable sustainable
city to awaken, with community gardens and housing for all.

What you can do to help:
(ps if called once call one more time and ask for their response/
update, please!)

1.  Call Mayor Bloomberg at (212) 788-3000.  Tell him we need to make
all NYC gardens permanent.  Your voice is important!

2. Call two Councilmembers and urge that they introduce the bill that
will make the gardens permanent:
a. Council Speaker Gifford Miller (212) 788-7210
b. Councilmember Jose Serrano (718) 402-6130 also ask him to serve as
liaison with the
    developers in bringing back Cabo Rojo garden

3.  Call Nos Quedamos (718) 585-2323
This is the group that created the planning for Melrose Commons.  Thank
them for beginning to work with gardeners and supporters to include
gardens in all plans.

4. Attorney General Spitzer 212.416.8468
Thank him and urge him to keep the temporary restraining order for ALL

5. Come to the vigils every Saturday at 5 pm in front of the fence of
Cabo Rojo Garden, 159th Street and Courtlandt Avenue.  Take 2/5 to 149th
and 3rd
Ave., walk up Melrose to 159th, turn left one block.  It is meaningful
that we continue to honor this space, and show that we havenít forgotten
what this
garden brought to the community, and what has been lost.  Bring a flower
or something beautiful to leave at the fence.

6.  Donate money to the More Gardens! Coalition.
Call 917-518-9987 or 212-533-8019 to speak with Aresh. moregardens.org

7. We need volunteers and interns to come and help throughout the
summer. Gardeners, activists, teachers, students, artists, musicians and
Call 917-518-9987 or 212-533-8019 to speak with Aresh. moregardens.org

Its going to be a hot growing summer in NYC with our roots in the
community gardens!
Plant the revolution one seed at a time!                            More
Gardens! More Peas!

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