Aug. 24, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A free workshop series kicking off this weekend aims to educate Long Island City residents about area issues and activism.
The series, called “Take Back LIC”, will be divided into two workshops, with the first one taking place on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Variety Boys and Girls Club (21-12 30th Rd). A second workshop is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the New York Irish Center (10-40 Jackson Ave).
Tomorrow’s workshop, organized in part by the Justice for All Coalition, will offer a space for attendees to learn how to stand up and speak out about virtually all aspects of Long Island City, ranging from overdevelopment to schools, affordable housing, NYCHA housing conditions, and other areas of interest.
The workshop will also teach attendees how to give public testimony, with a special focus on art activism and a youth performance scheduled.
Sylvia White, a member of the Justice for All Coalition and an Astoria Houses resident, said the workshop is an extension of the group’s mission to better inform the community and unite on a shared vision.
“This is a workshop that’s going to help us to inform people in our community on how to talk about your issues and make a good point,” White said. “We want them to be able to go into certain areas and talk to certain people—give information and put it into ways.”
The September workshop, meanwhile, will tackle similar Long Island City issues, but through the lens of the environment and sustainability. It will also inform residents on current large-scale developments proposed for the neighborhood, including the Plaxall development and the city’s 44th Drive project.
This workshop, envisioned in part by the LIC Coalition, will feature three speakers before breaking off into a collaborative visioning session. The speakers include a climate scientist who will explain the science behind rising sea levels in relation to the western Queens coastline, followed by an urban planner with extensive experience in Long Island City developments. The event will conclude with an artist and activist who played a major role in pushing for the city to keep their promise on Brooklyn’s Bushwick Inlet Park.
“We would hope that every citizen along the coastline is concerned about climate change,” said Diane Hendry, a member of the LIC Coalition. “We’re very concerned about everything, particularly sea level rise and infrastructure.”
The visioning session will close off the workshop, and encourages attendees to brainstorm priorities and goals for the neighborhood for the present and future.
Tom Paino, an LIC Coalition member, said the mission beyond the workshop is to bolster support and pressure for the city and elected officials to implement better planning practices in Long Island City.
“It’s at a crisis point,” Paino said. “The ultimate goal is to get a comprehensive plan for what are now all these overlapping, piece-meal, huge projects.”
Apart from the workshops, a rally is being planned for late September with the same message of taking back LIC, but details are still being worked out.
The organizers say RSVP is encouraged for the two workshops, but not required. For more information and to register, visit www.takebacklic.net
The Aug. 25 workshop will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Variety Boys and Girls Club, located at 21-12 30th Rd. The Sept. 12 workshop will take place at the New York Irish Center, located at 10-40 Jackson Ave., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.