March 5th, 2013
New York, NY: The backlash against Sequester cuts has begun in NYC, with dozens of vulnerable New Yorkers protesting upcoming cuts in the early afternoon of Tuesday, March 5th outside Verizon’s Headquarters. Verizon is one of many companies paying minimal taxes. The group, members of VOCAL-NY, converged in Manhattan from five boroughs to demand corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, something Republicans in Congress have refused to do despite widespread cuts to essential services sweeping the nation.
A mock food pantry outside the corporate HQ drew a stark contrast between the needs of those being hit by cuts and the corporations and wealthy that Republicans are protecting from tax increases.
“I lost almost everything I owned and spent every day for weeks cleaning out my home after Sandy flood my apartment above my knees,” said Ruby Carrasquillo, a VOCAL-NY leader from Carnasie, Brooklyn. “My neighbors and I pulled together to get our community back on its feet, but we can’t do it alone. I’m terrified the sequester is going to mean my homeless neighbors remain stuck in shelters and my community will be forced to fend for ourselves as we rebuild after the storm.”
Protesters held signs reading: “Sequester = Homelessness Verizon Pay Your Fair Share,” “Sequester = Hunger,” “Sequester = Starvation, Time for Congress to Make Corporations Pay Their Fair Share,” and more.
“Let’s be clear – we’re in the midst of a revenue crisis, not a spending crisis, because big corporations and Wall Street banks don’t pay their fair share in taxes,” said Bobby Tolbert, a VOCAL-NY leader and Board member from the Bronx. “The sequester is a manufactured crises cheered on by the 1% that makes working families and the most vulnerable pay for their tax dodging. It’s time for Congress to get their act together and stop the sequester by raising revenue from big corporations and Wall Street.”
VOCAL NY is grassroots membership organization building power among low-income New Yorkers affected by HIV, drug use and mass incarceration and working to create healthy and just communities.
Tuesday’s event comes on the heels of a Pray-In at House Speaker John Boehner’s DC office where clergy led prayers that Boehner would make corporations pay their fair share rather than hurting America’s most vulnerable with more cuts. VOCAL-NY and National People’s Action plan to escalate their campaigning in the coming weeks as growing Sequester cuts begin to devastate the lives of low-income Americans nation-wide.
Contact: Jeremy Saunders, jeremy (at) vocal-ny.org, 917.676.8041