Climate Change Protesters Picket Jeffries’ State of District Speech

Green New Deal protesters outside U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries' State of the District speech on MOnday. Photo by Kimari Clarke.

Was it a real concern about the environment or a political tactic that the ultra-left leaning progressive Democrats are increasingly using to strongarm mainstream Democrats?

Either way, about a dozen white protestors gathered ahead of U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Canarsie, East New York, Ocean Hill, East Flatbush, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Brighton Beach, Coney Island)  State of the District address to hold him accountable for climate change.

Members from the Food & Water Action, New York Communities for Change, Friends of the Earth, Indivisible Nation BK and 350 BK grassroots organizations stood outside the LIU Brooklyn campus to call Jeffries out and demand that he take more of a lead on climate change. 

 “We just want to send a message to Congressman Jeffries to take more of a leadership role when it comes to climate change. We want him to be a champion of policies that will move the nation off fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. He hasn’t been a leader. We’ve met with him countless times, he’s not talking the talk or walking the walk. Hopefully, this protest will encourage him to take action,” said Food & Water Action Spokesperson Eric Weltman.

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

Protesters were calling for Jeffries to use his influence to champion the legislation known as the Green New Deal. According to protesters Liat Oleick and Ayana Johnson, Jeffries has been missing in action and refuses to co-sponsor the Green New Deal resolution or the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act

Among the prime sponsors of the Green New Deal is U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens),  the progressive media darling and a huge supporter of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) for president.

The measure is aimed to address climate change and economic inequality. It combines former President Franklin D Roosevelt’s economic approach with modern ideas including resource efficiency, a sustainable economy and renewable energy. It also provides a timeline for emissions reduction, goals for housing healthcare and jobs for underserved communities that can see results by as soon as the year 2030. 

The measure has also stated it would pay for itself in healthcare savings from the prevention of fossil fuel-related diseases, including asthma, heart attacks, strokes and cancer. 

Jeffries responded with a letter dated Sept. 27 of last year to all the groups that protested at the event noting that he shares their concerns about the existential threat that climate change presents, and that he co-sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 52 that declares the climate crisis a national emergency. 

The letter also notes that he supported the passage of House Resolution 6, establishing the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to “investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, and innovations to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis which will honor our responsibility to be good stewards of the planet for future generations. The Select Committee may, at its discretion, hold public hearings in connection with any aspect of its investigative functions.” 

The Select Committee has until March 31 to analyze, report and make policy recommendations regarding bold climate legislation. 

“As you know, this past spring our office hosted a well-attended Climate Change and Green New Deal roundtable with local stakeholders and community residents. The position that I articulated at that that meeting has not changed. To reiterate, as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, I will defer consideration of co-sponsoring major climate crisis proposals including, but not limited to, the Green New Deal until after the Select Committee issues its findings and recommendations,” he wrote.

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