Activists congregate at City hall to get Mayor McCarthy to freeze rent
There was an eerie silence on a bright Friday evening in Schenectady. What would usually be a bustling town brimming with people and commerce around city hall was a scene in a wild west movie. If there were a tumbleweed in Schenectady it would have a field day downtown. Quarantine has sucked the life out of this city in more ways than not. However, In the midst of the silence were several brave souls brought life to a dying scenery with their desire to help those in need. The desolate quarantined city has many people taking precautions inside.
There is a significant fear of contracting COVID-19 that has everyone doing their best to stay safe inside. Unfortunately, that is not their only trouble. This quarantine has made it hard for people to live and function properly. Thousands of families cannot pay rent, and landlords are hammering down on them with lean and hungry looks. They still expect their rent despite the current crisis that is keeping many people out of work.
People are not working for a good reason. We’re in a pandemic, we are supposed to stay inside. However, that doesn’t mean that bills have stopped. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t being pestered by their landlords to cough up rent money from some magical place. With this, there is a serious fear of eviction looming over many of the constituents of Schenectady who can’t pay their rent or are struggling to pay their rent.
But where there is fear and darkness, there is always hope and light waiting around the bend. Friday night in an unprecedented act of bravery, several brae souls acted upon this travesty that is spreading fear amongst the residents of Schenectady. This group goes by the name All Of Us. A coalition of people dedicated to fighting for the voiceless in all kinds of conditions. Through peaceful and responsible protest standing six-feet apart and silently holding up signs to freeze rent, an amalgamation of souls bravely protested for 30 minutes.
The mission, get Mayor McCarthy to freeze the rent in Schenectady until the COVID-19 is lifted in Schenectady. For 30 minutes activists stood and wielded signs petitioning for a freeze. Jamaica Miles, one of the organizers of relentlessly recorded the protesters to bring awareness to the issue at hand. She spoke profoundly in advocating for those that cannot pay their rent, moving to get McCarthy to freeze rent payments.
After the protest, I spoke to some of the demonstrators to get a better feeling for their mission.
One Demonstrator stated that this protest and further protests at the moment are
“ To call on Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and the city council to push for a rent freeze for everyone during the coronavirus pandemic, especially developers in the city of Schenectady have been profiting off of rising rents for the last number of years while people struggling to pay their rent during a pandemic means that people will stay in their home, able will have food to put on their tables, people will be able to pay their bills and remain in their house when this is all over. We need the mayor and the city council people at the state level to push for a rent freeze, otherwise, people will be out of the money that they need. A lot of people in this community can’t go without a paycheck without one paycheck much less 8 weeks 10 weeks of paychecks simply unsustainable in this community and all it will do is further to the divide between the Haves and the have nots”
Stephanie banjo, another demonstrator spoke on her take as well. “I’ve been calling all of my elected officials throughout this pandemic. Folks of New York are really hurting right now I’m one of many New Yorkers out of work for 6 weeks under New York laws, yet to have any benefits for unemployment. We need our elected officials to stand up for us we need them to talk for the regular working folks of New York and make sure that we have what we need so we’re calling on our elected officials to freezer mortgage and utilities in our interest until we get Universal basic income.”
All of Us makes frequent calls to the mayor and Governor’s office asking fora rent freeze in New York. Their diligence in this call of action is relentless as they pursue their ultimate goals.
All of Us can be found on Facebook at All Of Us