I created New Era Risen to ensure New York invests in our communities' health

11 Mar 2020 | 04:24

    To the Editor:

    When we turn on our tap, we expect that water to be clean, potable and safe, yet because our water infrastructure has failed us, our economies, our environment and our health have all been put at risk. I am a Croton native and a college freshman at SUNY New Paltz, and I believe it is time New York invests in the health of our communities, so I created New Era Risen. New Era Risen is a non-partisan collective of activists, artists, and everyday youth that seek action through dialogue, not harassment, and change through unification and legislative targeting, not awareness.

    We college students care deeply about this issue, which is why we have gained so much traction so quickly. From creating over 200 handmade posters to put up on eight college campuses across the state, to holding multiple promotional concerts that had over 300 attendees and three live bands, to collecting pieces of art and writing submitted by our followers, we have strived to use methods few other activist groups are currently using, and the results of these methods speak for themselves. In less than two months we have doubled social media following, and have gathered 300 signatures on our petition across platforms. Though the movement is still growing, we are confident we will be large enough to ensure the Clean Water Infrastructure Act receives more funding by the end of the legislative session.

    What is interesting about fighting for water quality, is there is no real opponent, and no evil company to fight against. The uphill battle we face is the lack of knowledge. Last year, 7.2 million gallons of sewage overflowed from Newburgh -- in one instance -- over a 48-hour period, and 20 billion gallons overflows into the Hudson River and New York Harbor annually. In 2014, almost 400 people were found to have diseases linked to chemical exposure in Hoosick Falls, out of a population of only about 3,400. Hoosick Falls lost business, people we ill, and no one could move because they couldn’t sell their houses. I think if everyone knew these horrors, and knew that these occurrences were not uncommon across the state, our support would quadruple.

    We hope you will join us. For more information visit newerarisen.wixsite.com/newerarisen or @new.era.risen on Instagram.

    Charlotte Olver