Open Letter to NY Elected Officials

September 28, 2016
Dear Elected Official,
We invite you to join Chinatown and Lower East Side community members and organizations in a protest tomorrow of Mayor deBlasio and his Department of City Planning’s proposal to cut out most of the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) Rezoning plan. We are outraged that our elected and appointed officials are railroading through a plan to split up the community-created CWG Rezoning Plan and exclude Latinos, African Americans and the majority of Chinese from rezoning protection.
As you know, the CWG was created by the city nearly 8 years ago due to the public outcry and dissent against the discriminatory East Village rezoning that left vast areas of the Lower East Side and Chinatown vulnerable to luxury development and displacement. For years, representatives for Council Member Margaret Chin, members of CB3 and specifically CB3’s Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee took part in this city-sponsored vehicle, the CWG, to create a 197c rezoning plan with extensive community input and engagement. Throughout this time, the community–Chinese, Latino, African American and Caucasian constituents of CB3–have voiced their needs and concerns, and worked together with Community Boards 1, 2 and 3 to reach a comprehensive, inclusive rezoning plan. This plan has been reviewed, voted on and approved by the members of CWG, as well as CB3.
Now, after years of hard work and input by tens of thousands of community members, DCP is undermining democracy and dismissing CWG as nothing but advisory. Worst of all, excluding most of our community from protection is continuing a legacy of discrimination and racist exclusion of the Lower East Side, pitting people of color against each other to fight for crumbs. We cannot wait another 8 years, even another 2 years for the city to implement this rezoning plan.
The CB3 committee meeting tomorrow at which DCP is presenting a plan for Chinatown is a shameful display of phony democracy. The decision has already been made by the City to split up the full CWG rezoning plan and protect only a small part of Chinatown. It is shameful of the City to try and buy off a few Chinese while leaving the African American and Latino community and even the major parts of the Chinese community at the mercy of rampant luxury development. We reject this sham of a democracy. The people of this community have voiced their needs time and again for equal protection. While the CWG rezoning plan has gone through many compromises, we will NOT compromise to be unequal.
Please join us at our protest tomorrow, Thu. September 29, 6 p.m. in front of Middle School 131, 100 Hester Street at Forsyth Street. Join us in demanding that DCP and city elected officials immediately move forward with the full CWG rezoning plan, as it was approved by CWG so that our entire community can be protected from displacement.
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