The People Want Jobs & Community Investments

The world is changing, and NYC is on the front lines in pushing forward for a better world. This is what it looks like when people organize to make their voices heard.

NY State Senator Michael Gianaris, from Queens, helped the Democrats win key races around the state during the mid-term elections, overturning what was a long held Republican led New York Senate. And Sen. Gianaris does not have pleasant things to say about Amazon: "They want to crush unions. They want to work with ICE. They want to bypass community review. They want to take giant subsidies. I don’t see them changing one bit and so, yeah, they’re not welcome here.”

Sen. Gianaris has spent a lot of time on the ground with grassroots organizers, canvassing and getting people to sign a petition to keep Amazon out of NYC.

The debate really boils down to the fact that Amazon would have received $3 Billion in subsidies and incentives in exchange for bringing tens of thousands of jobs to NYC. Except...the people of Queens, the ones on the street who are now finding the voice to speak, want more than just jobs. They want an increase in their quality of life.

Two community organizations have taken the center stage in showing America what people power looks like. Chhaya Community Development Corporation is one of the leading voices opposing Amazon. DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving) has also been organizing thousands of low-income, immigrants to lead social and policy change. Both of these organizations have been working in since 2000 to advocate and organize for the needs of South Asian and Indo-Caribbean New Yorkers.

Fahd Ahmed is quoted in the New York Times saying, “We want investment into our communities that makes our communities stronger. That means investment in housing, in transit, in education, in workforce development...The status quo is not sustainable.”

It is time that we own up to the truth that the economic structure of our communities is a spiritual issue. Our faith communities can no longer rest on the sidelines watching as people organize to take back their communities. We must join in the fight, providing spiritual and other resources. We are long past the moment when we can ask people to join our faith communities and offer their time, talent, and treasures while we watch large corporations and a decaying democracy take those same things away from them without investing into their quality of life. If our faith has anything to offer, if Christianity is going to matter to the up-and-coming generation, it will be because we found ourselves on the sidelines with them fighting for the future of their community.