Friday, September 11, 2009
Bronx unites in Evening of Prayer for the Kingsbridge Armory
On Wed. Sept. 9 at 7pm, over 350 Bronx residents gathered from seven denominations at the site of the Kingsbridge Armory. Community residents and clergy asked for the blessing of good living wage jobs, recreational space, the construction of schools locally, arts, culture and social programs, retailers that serve the community, and a clean, healthy environment both inside and outside of the armory.
Rev. Doug Cunningham of New Day Methodist church said, "we've been to the hearings, we're at the negotiating table with the developer pushing for good jobs and schools -- but tonight we bring it to a Higher Authority!" The testimonies delivered reflected the personal struggles of Bronx residents and workers. Veronica Grumbs, a middle-aged Caribbean immigrant from Calvary United Methodist shared bravely about her experience of holding an accounting degree but not being able to find work, and Jose Luis spoke of being fired from Stella D'oro for trying to organize a union, winning the right to better wages and back pay and now struggling for the factory not to leave the Bronx.
Father Tom Lynch from Our Lady of Angels had the crowd raise their hands over the Armory and consecrate it, petitioning God to keep us strong and guide the hearts of our leaders to ensure equity in development.Creston Ave Baptist Church's choir had the conservative Catholics calling out halleluyahs! Minister Edwin Pierce from Unlimited Power of God told us that we were each a little boy, picking up a stone tonight to take down a great enemy (David and Goliath). Rabbi Ari Weiss of Uri L'Tzedek declared courageously to the crowd of nearly 400 people -- I am Jewish. I am an Orthodox Jew. -- and then told us that the Talmud commands that workers are paid a living wage.
Then, the crowd silently joined hands in a circle as organizer Abby Bellows from the NWBCCC blew the shofar again and again and then one long blast of awakening. The evening ended with residents dancing salsa and merengue, holding a stranger’s hand to dance and knowing that we were a community united in faith in action and faith in justice.
CLICK HERE for more photos of the prayer vigil
Check out our presence at the Developer’s Hearing in the Daily News