About 250 protest proposed new jails in Lower Manhattan
About 250 people amassed in Chinatown on Sunday to protest the city’s plan to ditch Rikers Island in favor of new local jails in their neighborhoods.
“We vote, and if they don’t do the right thing, we will vote them out,” activist Nancy Kong of the local group Neighbors United Below Canal vowed of city pols.
“They did not involve the community and did not address any of our concerns,” she said of City Hall. “Now people are coming out to have their voices heard.”
The protesters gathered on Worth Street between Mulberry and Baxter streets in Lower Manhattan before marching to the Manhattan Detention Center, which de Blasio wants to demolish and erect a larger high-rise jail in its place as part of his proposal.
Rikers is infamous for its inhumane, decrepit conditions, and de Blasio has said it needs to be completely scrapped and replaced with more liveable, accessible facilities throughout the city.
But the Chinatown protesters — chanting such things as “No new jails! Save our seniors!’’ and “Schools! Not jails!’’ — say that replacing the current jail in their neighborhood with a new larger high-rise will release toxins captured in the soil from 9/11 and create air pollution.
Grace Chang, an accountant from Forest Hills, Queens, also protested the facility planned in her borough, which would be built right across from her family’s home.
“Spend the money to fix the system, not building new jails,’’ said Chang, who was at the protest with her 5-year-old son.
“It’s a very quiet family community with a lot of children,’’ she said of her neighborhood. “Just earlier this week, one of the inmates escaped from the courthouse. Imagine how many times that will happen in a 17-story jail.’’
Jeanie Chin, a retired local activist who lives near the Manhattan Detention Complex, held a poster of an elderly woman while addressing Hizzoner in absentia.
“Mayor De Blasio, I will be moved from my home. I deserve to live in peace and quiet,’’ she said.
“Why are you doing this to me?”
Mayoral spokeswoman Avery Cohen responded to The Post in a statement, “We will continue to work with the community to respond to the concerns of local residents, but remain focused on our mission to close Rikers island and create a more humane and fair criminal justice system.”
-Additional reporting by Kate Sheehy
Source: Read Full Article