In The New York Daily News Queens section was an article in regards to the years of constant flooding in parts of Southeast Jamaica and how nothing really is being done to solve it (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/rallying-flood-relief-southeastern-queens-article-1.1354332). Sounds very similar to the major garbage/litter problem that has been going on for a long time in this community as well.
In speaking about the Department of Environmental Protection, Assemblyman William Scarborough had this to say: “It is an insult to the community to tell us that you have the means to resolve our suffering, but you won’t do it. This is a blatant disrespect and neglect of an entire community. It would never happen in an affluent, non-minority community.”
He is pretty much on the money with that comment and I will expand. Yes, if this was happening in Chelsea, Upper East Side, West Village, Park Slope to name a few, this problem would be taken care of within a reasonable time. The same with the garbage problem, that would have been taken care of very quickly, but the people in those communities would have never “trashed” their communities either (like Jamaica residents have), let alone let the garbage problem drag on for years.
Last Friday about two dozen people attended a rally in front of the Department of Environmental Protection headquarters in Flushing. Only about two dozen (which means there were probably not even two dozen). Granted that was a work day and it is hard for people to get off of work, but I could bet that even if it was a Saturday, there would probably only be that amount, maybe even less (the excuse would be that this is my day off).
So why in Jamaica……………………….what I have said over and over in regards to the Jamaica community, APATHY. So very little people in Jamaica care about their community and what it looks like, hence the mounds and mounds of garbage all over the place. Many people just ignore what goes on, rarely report trash all on their streets and sidewalks, rarely speak up and pretty much just sit back and do nothing. Do many of these people care, HELL NO. Because if they did, litter would not be tossed all over the community with such abandonment and illegal dumping would not be tolerated and people would speak out on it. In those other communities that I mentioned, the majority of people care about their community, care what is looks like and do not tolerate any of that negative behavior that is widespread in Jamaica. If something is wrong they speak out loud and clear till it gets resolved. Here in Jamaica, with the exception of a few, like community activist Pamela Hazel, NOTHING.
In our community, the majority of people put up with so much non-sense and not just the trash/litter problem. They allow knuckleheads to blast music loudly from parked cars in front of their homes and buildings without calling 311 or the police. They allow their neighbors to keep overflowing containers of trash that cause rodents without calling 311 or Sanitation. I have watched people standing around making comments and laughing at a domestic fight and not call the police. I finally had to call since I heard it from my apartment window. They allow slumlords to keep shitty apartment buildings without turning them in. APATHY folks. It is bad enough that Jamaica is so segregated by ethnicity here and so fractured, throw apathy on top of it and it just spells DOOM for a community. Is it any wonder why there is so much crime in Jamaica and that innocent D’aja Robinson was killed on a bus by some punk ass’s gun.
So yes, Assemblyman Scarborough is right when he says, “This is a blatant disrespect and neglect of an entire community. It would never happen in an affluent, non-minority community.” But he forgets that the community he is talking about brings about that disrespect and neglect by engaging in bad behavior and not standing up and speaking out.
As much as I want to blame our elected officials and community leaders, a huge amount of blame has to be placed on the community itself. A community is only as good as the people in it. You will not hear me say this that much, but Councilman Ruben Wills was right when he said, “It’s the people in the community” in the NY1 four part garbage series. But also our elected leaders allowed this garbage problem to get so out of hand over the years and for that they need to take responsibility as well and be held accountable.
Some people in the community do not like the language I use or my tone or the things that I say, but you know what, sometimes you have to take an unpopular stand to get people to look at themselves and to set fire to people’s ass to do something. Before I moved here there was very little talk about the garbage problem and it was like this was all just normal. BUT IT IS NOT NORMAL AND IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Civilized people do not act this way.
Bottom line though, it is the people of Jamaica or I should say the quality of the people.