Yesterday I attended a rally to support the Liberty State Park Protection Act and it was bad ass.
Well, it’s not bad ass that protecting the park against privatization continues to be a thing and has been for many years. BUT the rally to support the Liberty State Park Protection Act ITSELF was bad ass.
The issue is this: a billionaire named Paul Fireman (booooo) wants to amend the Liberty State Park Protection Act to exclude a special area of the park called Caven Point. He wants Caven Point removed from being protected so that the Liberty National Golf Course can add three new golf holes in that space. Fireman and his minions have been trying to spread misinformation – that this area needs to be rehabilitated – and trying to make a “compromise” – that if they can have Caven Point they will offer golf programs for urban youth.
This is an outrage and needs to be stopped. The vote for the Liberty State Park Protection Act is tomorrow, and there is still time to stand up against it. You can find Speaker Coughlin on Instagram or Twitter and let him know that the Liberty State Park Protection Act should be passed as is, with no amendments.
The Liberty State Park Protection Act is supported by the following politicians: Sandra Cunningham, D-Jersey City, and Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, in the Senate and Raj Mukherji and Angela McKnight, both D-Jersey City, and Nicholas Chiaravalloti, D-Bayonne, in the Assembly. It can’t hurt to remind them that you’re grateful for their support and that they should also resist amendments and “compromise” at all costs! Edited to add: Senator Cunningham in particular has recently expressed willingness to compromise and amend the act, and we need to urge her to not let that happen!
There is a chance it may not be brought up for a vote in the Assembly tomorrow and may be pushed to the next session for them, but the sentiment is that we will keep fighting until the vote happens!
Back to the Liberty State Park Protection Act rally, there were a ton of people there! Our Uber dropped us off at the end of Morris Pesin Dr, and as we walked toward the flag plaza we noticed more and more people walking in the same direction! I was surprised that this many people showed up, but it was in the hundreds, and the more the merrier!
It may have helped that it was an unseasonably VERY warm day yesterday. It was the perfect day to be outside and to be fighting for the preservation of nature and public space. I was so excited to be there and I was so SO excited to see that many people there.
The whole thing was put together by Sam Pesin and the Friends of Liberty State Park. This is a group I became aware of only a year and a half ago and now I follow everything they do and get very pumped up about it. It makes me so glad that there is a strong and wise group of people fighting on the front lines for our park.
I got there a coupleeee of minutes late but in time for the first speaker, a representative from Sen Mukherji’s office. I didn’t write down info from all of the speakers in my notebook to remember, so I’m not going to talk about all of them, but they were all great and I’m sorry I couldn’t write fast enough.
Next up was the BAYKEEPER. What the heck is a “baykeeper” and why isn’t it my job?! I’d like to “keep” the bay. The speaker with the honorable title of “BAYKEEPER” was Greg Remaud. He spoke about how the golf heads and Caven Point are neighbors, and ended with, “Stop coveting your neighbor’s property!”
After the BAYKEEPER, the Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop appeared for a hello. He was wearing a “Jersey City” baseball hat and had his baby son with him in one of those… “strap your baby to you” contraptions. The baby kept grabbing at the mic like he had something to say. Babies are social justice warriors too! The mayor referred to Liberty State Park as “The Jewel of New Jersey” and I’m pretty sure he’s probably called it that before but it just made me really happy and proud. To be standing in THE JEWEL OF NEW JERSEY. THIS RARE AND PRECIOUS JEWEL. OMG IM GONNA CRY.
If you thought the BAYKEEPER was cool there was also a RIVERKEEPER. I mean I don’t know how this rally could have gotten any better. He was wearing a “Make America Green Again” hat and I was super into it. I didn’t catch his name but he will always be the mighty RIVERKEEPER in my mind anyway.
But seriously how do I get those jobs?
Jeff Tittel from the NJ Sierra Club was next and he was PUMPED. UP. Super into his energy. He spoke about John Muir (love some John Muir) and how he had started the Sierra Club. He elaborated on John Muir and his mission some more and then I started to get tearful because John Muir always makes me tearful. It’s just too emotional, the love for the nature. I’m going to cry now. I need to stop.
He then said, and this was my favorite quote of the day, “We need to tell the Statue of Liberty we have her back! <in NJ her back is to us and we could see her right there, with her back to us> And we will never let this land be developed! This is our Yosemite! This is our Yellowstone!”
OMG WHAT?! <SOBS AUDIBLY>
He was just my favorite because he was so pumped up and it was contagious. Thank you Jeff Tittel you are an NJ treasure my friend.
Last up was Ken from CWA1037. I don’t know what that is but I’ll look it up. Okay it’s a labor union in Newark, cool! He mostly talked about their support for the park and the protection act. The most interesting thing he brought up was a history story regarding the “Bread and Roses Strike.” I had never heard of this one before but it was a strike of factory workers in Massachusetts in 1912 and they were like hey we need to get paid fair (BREAD BABY) but we also need better quality of life – fresh air and free time, THE ROSES, FOLKS. So he tied that in, about how we’re living in this urban area and we’re working hard and we need our park because it’s our “roses.”
OKAY TIME TO CRY AGAIN.
Then it was really time to cry because the rally was over and we all sang “This Land is Your Land” together. And it was lovely. So very nice. I’m not usually into like, “America,” but the parks get me every time. They’re really, really special. Maybe that sounds corny but they are. Liberty state park is a state park, but it’s right by lady lib and she’s National AF. It’s really so wonderful that I have that in my backyard. Mostly because I live in an apartment and DON’T HAVE A BACKYARD so I need this to be my backyard! Come on!
After the rally I went on a stroll over to Caven Point and really enjoyed it and the beautiful day. I saw a ton of birds and a tiny tiny horseshoe crab and a few signs with “No Golf Here” written on them.
I love Caven Point because in certain parts you can’t even tell you’re in a city. The plants are too tall and they cover the view of the skylines and it’s weirdly quiet.
Guys I love it so much there. Please help us fight to keep it public. DO IT.