This morning local politicians, community leaders, and what appeared to be hundreds of supporters marched over and blocked the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges to protest the lack of federal and state support given to undocumented workers during the pandemic.
Marchers played drums and held aloft signs saying things like “Fondos Para Los Trabajadores”, or “Funds For the Workers”, “Who feeds us while we feed you?”, and “Our Labor Saved Lives”. Yellow cab drivers were at the forefront of the march over the bridge, and New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a huge union of the city’s drivers, voiced their support for the march on Twitter.
Make the Road NY, an immigrants organization with thousands of members, tweeted “We’re taking over the Brooklyn Bridge because our leadership needs to hear us. It’s been far too long.”
Today’s march was largely in support of the Fund Excluded Workers initiative that calls for the taxation of billionaires in New York to create emergency income for those previously excluded. It’s gained support from politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, and State Senator Jessica Ramos, who both sponsored the bill. According to Daniel Altschuler, the Managing Director of Make The Road NY, de la Rosa, Assemblywoman Karina Reyes, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, and New York City Councilmembers Brad Lander, Carlina Rivera, Carlos Menchaca, and Antonio Reynoso were among those present at today’s march.
Amit S. Bagga, a candidate for New York City Council, was also present at the march.
“Unconscionable inaction in Albany requires unprecedented action here at home, which is why hundreds of Black, Brown, and undocumented workers shut down not one, but two, bridges today — to send a clear message that we must tax the billionaires who have profited while thousands of essential workers have laid their lives on the line with no relief for an entire year. We are putting an end to this State of Affairs in the State of New York, and with the people of the city leading the way, we will build an economy where all New Yorkers have access to opportunity, can live with dignity, and build power, together,” Bagga said.
Their petition has 9,506 signatures at the time of this article, and calls specifically on Governor Andrew Cuomo to take action.
“Cuomo escucha” or “Cuomo, listen” could be heard being chanted in videos from the march.
Undocumented workers often make up large percentages of essential work and are ineligible for stimulus checks or unemployment benefits and boosts. As of today’s march, they’ve received no state or federal aid of any kind. The proposed legislation would create a $4.6 billion fund to provide $825 weekly cash payments to families, starting from the beginning of the pandemic.
City Councilmember Brad Lander also tweeted in support of the movement.
“Undocumented NYers have risked their lives for nearly a year to keep our city running, but so many have lost income and none have seen any state or federal aid,” Lander wrote.
“We’re not going home until they hear us in Albany,” Lander said today in a speech posted by Make The Road NY.
Dianne Morales, a NYC Mayoral candidate, also voiced her support on Twitter, writing that, “we took to the streets (and the bridge!) to demand that our most vulnerable and unprotected get the support they need to provide for their families and live in dignity.”
Governor Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.