This past summer, I had the pleasure of visiting UPROSE’s office in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to meet and interview various members of the organization’s staff. UPROSE is an intergenerational, multi-racial, nationally-recognized community organization that promotes the sustainability and resiliency of the Sunset Park community through organizing, education, leadership development, research, advocacy, and cultural/artistic expression. The organization is engaged in a range of projects that include, but are not limited to, conducting research and data around how Superstorm Sandy cleanup impacted recovery worker’s health; hosting an art build in their collective space to bring together local community members; and convening youth from across the country who have been on the frontlines of climate justice efforts at the Climate Justice Youth Summit to discuss social justice issues and develop leadership skills.
My strongest recollection of the office was the vibrant, welcoming, and powerful meeting space, which housed artwork, pictures, and many sunflower painted parasols displaying “We Rise”, “Climate Justice”, and “Resist”. The characteristics of the meeting space were reflected in every staff member I spoke with. Across all my discussions, I recognized a passion for the work, a profound respect for the community served, and a love of the organization that brought these elements together. I encourage you to watch the four-minute video below to see for yourself and learn about UPROSE’s work from those that know it best.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria and the current crisis in Puerto Rico, I also encourage you to visit UPROSE’s website to learn more about local environmental organizations based in Puerto Rico that are working at the grassroots level.
A big thank you to Elizabeth Yeampierre, Ting Ting Fu, Ana Orozco, Kiya Vega-Hutchens, and Sylvia Gonzalez for taking the time to speak with me, and letting me record them on my iPhone.