Pols push to aid grassroots relief efforts for the La Soufrière volcano victims in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
(NY Daily News) – Brooklyn’s Community Board 17 — which covers predominately Caribbean East Flatbush and other neighbourhoods is asking New York’s congressional leaders to grant Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for residents of St Vincent fleeing the disaster.
Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Gregory Meeks (both D-Brooklyn) are asking Gov. Cuomo for air support — an aircraft to fly New Yorkers’ donated relief supplies to St. Vincent.
Community Board 17′s request to get TPS for residents of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was sent to New York’s senators and congress members, said Victor Jordan, the board’s first vice-chair.
TPS is permission for foreign nationals to live in the United States temporarily because of armed conflict or natural disaster in their home nation.
“I’m happy to report that a resolution to grant citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Temporary Protective Status because of the destruction, devastation and dislocation caused by the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano was approved with no opposition,” wrote Jordan last week.
The resolution calls for Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) and Jeffries and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to support the Biden administration giving TPS status to Vincentian.
New York’s connections are personal for Community Board 17 member Asshur Cunningham. Born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cunningham spoke before the board in support of the resolution. Also attorney Allen Kaye, the former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, pledged his support for the TPS resolution.
Also on Wednesday, Jeffries and Meeks reached out to Cuomo for help airlifting relief supplies that grassroots New York groups and individuals have collected, noting that “Brooklyn and Queens are home to likely the largest Vincentian diaspora community in the U.S.”
Giving one example of the grassroots relief efforts from New York’s Vincentian community, the congressmen mentioned Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Disaster Relief Committee, which has collected huge amounts of supplies that are needed on the islands.
“Shipping these materials by sea would take roughly three weeks or longer,” said the congressmen. “Alternatively, sending an aircraft with supplies would deliver relief much sooner during this rapidly unfolding crisis.”
Last Thursday, a spokesman for Jeffries said, ”the governor’s team acknowledge receipt of the letter sent yesterday, and we look forward to their consideration.”