Yeampierre and her staff at UPROSE have made huge strides toward improving the health of the neighborhood and ensuring its continued vibrancy. For example, the organization helped secure New York State’s largest brownfield remediation grant—and in doing so doubled the amount of open space in Sunset Park. The group successfully fought to bring back a bus route that the city had removed from the community, expanded a median to create more walkability, and facilitated a community-led design of a greenway to connect the neighborhood to the waterfront.
“For some folks this is something academic, but for us this is literally connected to our survival. So we got good at it,” Yeampierre says of the organization’s numerous victories.
“People always wonder how you keep communities engaged over time,” she continues. “You’ve got to have little gains that keep them going. Because when people have two or three jobs, they’ve got big families, they’re struggling to make a living, the last thing they want to do is come to a meeting. But if they’re involved in something that’s going to make a difference in their lives and their kids are going to breathe better and are going to be healthier, they will engage.”
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