Activists Stage Sit-In at Governor’s Office demanding that Governor Hochul ‘Fund our Future’
by Jamie Liu
On March 23, Sunrisers and their allies gathered outside Governor Kathy Hochul’s office in Manhattan to demand increased funding for the Climate, Jobs, and Justice Package (CJJP) in the 2023 New York State Budget. Six youth activists entered the building lobby with a bright yellow banner reading their demand: “Fund our Future: $10 Billion for Climate, Jobs, & Justice.”
The peaceful protesters faced violent and disrespectful treatment from Governor Hochul’s security staff, who punched two demonstrators, while the building manager told a female protestor “you’re a cunt” for holding the banner. Still, even while protesters were arrested and led out from the building, they continued to chant their demands: “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it, shut it down!”
“I’m optimistic that we will get a good budget, but only if we keep our feet on the pedal these last two weeks,” said Andrew Engel, an organizer with Sunrise NYC and one of the event’s speakers. “I am calling on our state legislature and Governor Hochul to stand firm on their commitments instead of tweeting empty words by finally funding our futures, not our demise, and owning up to the environmental protections that they passed into our own constitution.”
Andrew referenced the latest IPCC report released last week, which emphasized a dire warning for humanity: if we do not act right now to reduce fossil fuel emissions, by the early 2030s, we will reach catastrophic climate tipping points.
The state budget in its current shape includes $5 billion for climate. However, given the urgency of the climate crisis, that is not enough, particularly when compared to the unnecessary $10.8 billion to fund the NYPD and $1.4 billion for a new stadium. Allocating $10 billion for the CJJP would help move buildings and infrastructure off fossil fuels, invest in a more reliable, publicly-owned grid based on wind and solar, and ensure a livable future for New Yorkers.
“Hochul needs to pass these bills immediately,” said one protester. “We need to have this all included in the budget. No compromises.”
There is still time to help ensure climate justice provisions are included in the state budget when it is released later this week. Text SIGN PUDUNW to 50409 tell your reps to support Build Public Renewables, Climate and Community Protection Fund, The Climate Change Superfund Act, All Electric Buildings Act, and Formula 3 Act to Fund the MTA.
All images credit: Ken Schles.