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Brooklyn’s Oldest Latino Community Based Organization Celebrates 50 Years of Community Activism

11:07 PM


Environmental Justice Leaders from Around the Nation 
Come Together to Celebrate

UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community based organization, celebrates 50 years of activism and community organizing in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and beyond. 

Founded in 1966, UPROSE started out as a community service organization known as the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park. 

Today UPROSE is an environmental and social justice organization leading the fight against displacement in Sunset Park, and paving the path towards climate justice locally.

The focus of the organization shifted to environmental justice when Elizabeth Yeampierre took over as the Executive Director in 1996. 

At the time, young people in Sunset Park were really concerned about the disproportionate health problems in the community and wanted to turn their attention to the causes of these health problems. 

Since then UPROSE has been fighting against environmental racism and paving the way towards climate justice locally.
Executive Director, Elizabeth Yeampierre had this to said, “I am truly honored and humbled by all the love that our community and allies have shared with us on our 50th anniversary. We have worked tirelessly to protect, defend and honor the Sunset Park community and environmental justice communities throughout the city. Over the past few decades, we have accomplished a lot. We stopped the siting of a fourth power plant in our community, we brought back the B37 bus after that line was cut by the MTA, and we were instrumental in the opening of Bush Terminal Park as an added green space for our community. I look forward to the work that lies ahead. We are committed to the transition toward a regenerative energy economy and we strongly believe that Sunset Park can be the manufacturing hub for renewable energy in New York City.”
UPROSE is part of several alliances and coalitions working to reduce carbon emissions locally and nationally. 

As a part of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, UPROSE has worked with several environmental justice organizations throughout New York City to influence local policy around reducing emissions and developing renewable energy locally. 

As a member of the Climate Justice Alliance, UPROSE works with several environmental justice organizations across the country to further the Just Transitions movement, which is the movement to transition away from the fossil fuel based economy, towards a regenerative energy economy in a just and fair way led by those of us most vulnerable to climate change and in a way that ensures workers transition into this new economy as well.

In addition to policy work, UPROSE continues to focus on the youth of Sunset Park and their development as young leaders and community organizers. 
“UPROSE continues to organize one of the largest and best youth-led gatherings on climate and environmental justice. It is an event primarily of, by and for young people of color. I left the Climate Justice Youth Summit completely energized” Michael Leon Guerrero, Former Executive Director for the Climate Justice Alliance, said.
“The grassroots environmental and climate justice movements are influencing the national dialogue around climate change. UPROSE has played an instrumental role in amplifying the environmental justice voice locally and nationally.” Bill McKibben, Co-Founder of 350.org, said.
“It is beautiful to see the influence that the environmental justice movement has had on mainstream environmental groups. It only makes sense that the communities most vulnerable to climate change lead the movement to end our reliance on the fossil fuel based economy, which literally fuels climate change. Groups like UPROSE have put in the hard work to change the discourse of the climate change debate to focus on communities hit first and worst by climate chaos” Rev. Yearwood, President of the Hip Hop Caucus, said.
Cindy Wiesner, National Coordinator of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance said, “The leadership of frontline communities and communities of color is essential for us to transition to an economy that protects both human dignity and the integrity of our planet. In the struggle for climate justice, UPROSE has played a transformative and visionary role, strengthening our movements not only in New York but nationally and globally.”
The anniversary celebration took place Friday at BRIC Arts Media in Downtown Brooklyn with approximately 300 people in attendance from NY and around the country. 

The event was hosted by Jeanine Ramirez of NY1 News with performances by Climbing PoeTree as well as Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde.

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