The march started at the Barclays Center at 11 a.m. and proceeded first to the Ebbets Field apartments in Crown Heights, then to Herbert Von King Park in Bed-Stuy before concluding at the Myrtle-Wyckoff pedestrian plaza on the border of Ridgewood and Bushwick.
At the Myrtle-Wyckoff pedestrian plaza in front of dozens of marchers, Bushwick-born artist Anthony Wash Rosado looked at all of the changes the area has undergone over the past few years as gentrification has impacted the neighborhood.
“We wanted something like this when the community was black and brown,” Rosado said of the plaza constructed by the Department of Transportation over the past year. “Oh look, there’s a gym. Oh look, there’s a Starbucks. What I’m trying to point out is you all want this place to get cute when more white folk move in.”
Raquel Namuche, an organizer with the Ridgewood Tenants Union, highlighted the development dubbed “the Ridgewood tower,” at St. Nicholas Avenue and Palmetto Street as a symbol of Ridgewood’s battle with gentrification.
Developer AB Capstone demolished three different lots to construct a 17-story tower with ground floor retail and 129 market-rate apartments.
“That's not housing being built for people in Ridgewood and people in Bushwick,” Namuche said. “This is what we have to fight against. All these developers who think just because they have money that they can get rid of us very easily, it’s not fair.”
Rising rents contribute to other issues for people in low-income communities. For example, many are forced to give up things like MetroCards that could lead to someone jumping a turnstile to get to their job or pick up their children at school.
Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can place a detainer on individuals for fare evasion that can eventually lead to deportation proceedings.
Josmar Trujillo, an activist with the Coalition to End Broken Windows, suggested swiping someone into the subway to avoid having them get caught up in the legal system. He also urged people to avoid calling 311 or 911 over quality-of-life complaints.
“With one hand they sweep you off for quality of life crimes, give you a ticket, a night in jail, Rikers Island, a chokehold, a shot in your back,” he said “With the other hand, they're bringing in their developer friends and all of these luxury high rises and Connecticut Muffin shops.”
Imani Henry, a community activist with Equality for Flatbush, called the event historic for how far reaching it was.
“There’s never been a Brooklyn-wide march against gentrification,” Henry said. “But we’re not done, because we haven’t marched through East Flatbush and we haven't marched through East New York.
“We have not gone through every single corner of Sunset Park and Park Slope and every place we need to be, because gentrification is in every community,” he added.