East Harlem, N.Y., explosion highlights criminal neglect – Take Action

by on March 18, 2014
Solidarity with Victims & Community of East Harlem & El Barrio.
Keep updated: East Harlem Solidarity WordPress.

Call by Chelsea Housing Coalition, Peoples Power Assembly, Occu-Evolve, & May 1 Coalition for Workers & immigrant Rights.

Protest Con Edison’s 2014 annual shareholders’ meeting

MON MAY 19  @10 am
4 Irving Place, New York City

Demonstrate May 19: fact-sheet flyer calling for public hearing & demo May 19, 2014 at ConEd stockholder meeting. (en espanolPetition to National Transportation Safety Board to hold a public hearing. East Harlem Solidarity WordPress.

We must be there to demand that community needs trumps shareholder greed.

The gas explosion of March 12 that killed eight people and injured over 60 people and left so many homeless in East Harlem was a terrible tragedy, but it wasn’t just an accident – it was a crime! – a crime of neglect – racist neglect. Now Con Ed has censored coverage of what happened and thinks that if it can take it off the front pages – it can make New Yorkers forget. But we can never forget – that it could happen anywhere.

Issued by: New Yorkers in Solidarity with the Survivors and Community of East Harlem ▪ Community- Labor United for Postal Jobs & Services ▪ Peoples Power Assembly ▪ Parents to Improve School Transportation ▪ De familiares y amigos de las personas Comite Timon ▪ Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) ▪ Postal Defenders ▪ Chelsea Coalition on Housing ▪ May 1 Coalition for Immigrant Rights ▪ Chelsea for Peace ▪ Occu-Evolve ▪ Teamsters Local Union 808* National Action Network Youth(NAN)

Contact Solidarity Center
212.633.6646 or 917.402.4755

East Harlem, N.Y., explosion highlights criminal neglect

By LeiLani Dowell on March 17, 2014

New York –  Another capitalist atrocity against the poor and people of color occurred in the neighborhood of East Harlem, N.Y., on March 12, when an explosion ripped through two tenement buildings, killing eight people, injuring more than 50 others and leveling the buildings to the ground. As of March 17, several residents of 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue were still missing, while some survivors remain in critical condition at hospitals.

Site of gas explosion in East Harlem

Site of gas explosion in East Harlem. WW photo: Johnnie Stevens

This area of the city is known as “El Barrio” for the large Latino/a population that lives there. In the past 15 years, the block where the blasts occurred had been built up with a number of subsidized housing complexes. One of the buildings in particular was a sort of community center, housing the Spanish Christian Church and members of its congregation.

Clearly the city has neglected this poor, people of color community in terms of needed infrastructure upgrades. Constructed in 1887, the gas main that served the two buildings was 127 years old and made of cast iron, a material that is known for becoming brittle and prone to leaks. Area residents were essentially sitting on a time bomb, created by government and gas industry indifference.

Tests conducted in the hours after the blast showed that the concentration of natural gas in the area was as high as 20 percent, when it should have been at zero. While residents had been complaining for weeks about a gas smell, Con Edison CEO John McAvoy claims that the agency checked the area for gas leaks as early as Feb. 28 and found none. (New York Daily News, March 15)

Johnnie Stevens from the People’s Power Assembly and Rosa María de la Torre of the Chelsea Coalition on Housing went to the East Harlem neighborhood on March 16 to meet with the community and hand out leaflets for a March 19 meeting organized by the Coalition. Read the rest of this entry »


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