has only been in existence
, but already it has become Bushwick’s hub for artists and activists taking on the biggest issue of our day: climate change. To date, much of the activity at the new community space has focused on gearing up for the
, a highly anticipated rally to demand action on climate change taking place this Sunday in Manhattan.
For its first programmed event this past Monday, Mayday hosted a panel of leading activists in the climate change fight from all corners of the world. “Voices from the Global Frontlines of Climate Change” featured talks by activists from places like India, Senegal, and Argentina who are in town to take part in Sunday’s march, as well as their local counterparts in NYC. Each of the speakers brought experience addressing a unique set of social and environmental problems on the “frontlines”, the places most vulnerable to devastation from the effects of climate change and those facing industrial development that would lead to new sources of carbon emissions. Although the issues were diverse, ranging from desertification in Africa and fracking in Patagonia to mass human migration, a common theme reappeared throughout the evening: those most affected by the immediate effects of climate change must take a leading role in the climate movement.
Climate change activists speak (from left, Dr. Vaishali Patil, Ananda Lee Tan, Sharon Lungo, and Elizabeth Yeampierre)
“We are fighting to survive,” declared Dr. Vaishali Patil, founder of India’s Ankur Trust. Speaking on behalf of the vulnerable populations she advocates for in India’s Maharashtra State, she proclaimed, “we are illiterate, we have no voice in our communities, but this march is going to give us a voice.”
Artists working at Mayday intend to amplify that voice. Several large areas of the building have been taken over by artists producing loud and colorful banners that will be used in march, and some of their finished works provided an impressive backdrop to the panel of speakers. “It’s us as artists that create the images that people get behind,” Remy Fredenberg, an Art-Build Coordinator at Mayday, told Bushwick Daily. Fredenberg, who lives on a Navajo reservation outside Phoenix, Arizona, came to New York this summer planning to stay for just a few days, but extended his stay when the opportunity to get involved in the art-build at Mayday arose. “To me, this is like a dojo,” he said, explaining how inspiring it has been for him collaborate with the other activists at Mayday.
Art-Build Coordinator Remy Fredenberg, hard at work
The People’s Climate March is intended to send a message to world leaders as they arrive in the city for next week’s UN Climate Summit, and its organizers are expecting it to be the biggest rally demanding action on climate change in history. Everyone is welcome to participate in the march, which begins at 11:30 am on Sunday and departs from several assembly points on Central Park West between Columbus Circle and 86th Street.
Mayday has many more exciting things in store, including an on-site bar and party space that will be under construction soon. We’ll be sure to keep you posted!
Admiring art produced for the People’s Climate March