Grassroots Groups Unite to Champion Rights of Local Communities in US - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1456 Words
Date:  2023-01-05


Local communities are faced with numerous challenges that demand efforts of the residents to solve the problem. Different grassroots groups are coming up in different areas to champion for the rights of local communities. In the U.S., communities have realized that these groups play a huge role in integrating communities and fighting issues that appear to be destroying the community. The groups represent a movement for change that identifies social issues that affect the locals. Besides, some have expanded to tackle environmental and economic problems that impact on the quality of life. In the state of New York, the South Bronx Unite movement was established by the residents of the Bronx to address several issues facing the community. The South Bronx Unite was established as a coalition and movement comprising the residents of South Bronx, professionals, activists and organizations to improve and enhance the socioeconomic and environmental future of the local community. The coalition was established to help prevent the relocation of Fresh Direct to Harlem River Yard on groups that it would destroy the environment and affect the general health of the residents of this community. South Bronx Unite is a very active grassroots movement that drives positive changes in ameliorating and preserving the social, environmental and economic future of South Bronx.

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The South Bronx Unite movement advocates for social and environmental justice for the community. The coalition brought together residents from different works of life and ethnic background towards protecting their environment and protesting the imminent relocation of a company whose practices were questionable. The first responsibility of this movement was to stop the process of relocation unless the company was subjected to vetting and cleared by the relevant authorities. According to the leadership of this movement, the relocation of the company would pose a health risk to a population that was already suffering from asthma. The operations of Fresh Direct would mean that the community would then have to tolerate over 2000 vehicle trips on a day (South Bronx Unite n.p). The impact of these activities would not only damage the infrastructure within the community but would also lead to massive pollution. The wastes from the different autos would affect the quality of air subjecting individuals living with asthma to further problems. The environmental initiative that would protect the entire community from diseases would go a long way in protecting the environment and promoting safe practices in a community that is considered to be environmentally cautious.

Grassroots movements often face challenges especially when it takes on large organizations that have political influence and financial muscle to fight back. In the case of Fresh Direct, the South Bronx Unite termed the company as a parasite that would use public resources to subject communities to noise, exhaust, and waste. The decision to relocate such a business to a residential area raised more questions that portrayed malice to the residents of this area. The move to protect the ecosystem and promote quality living was timely as the organization initiated efforts to inform certain local authorities not to support or approve licensing to the company. The main goal of this movement was environmental protection even though other issue came up which supported the initiative of protesting the setting up and subsequent operations of a company whose activities posed a threat to the lives of thousands of people (South Bronx Unite n.p). The heavy trucks that would be used in the development of the industry would destroy the roads and also force the local authority to open up other areas of the community for the company. The noise from these trucks would have disrupted peace and created a public nuisance among the residents. Besides, the solid waste generated from this exercise would have polluted the environment and pose serious health risks to the community.

The South Bronx Unite is not only known for its advocacy on environmental issues but also on a social issue. Grassroots movements are established to address the challenges facing a community. In most cases, social issues are the number one problems in the community. The solution to some of these issues lies within the community as it provides an avenue of finding justice to both the suspects and individuals who have been affected. The movement highlighted some of the exploitative practices of Fresh Direct that put the lives of local communities at risk (South Bronx Unite n.p). The movement highlighted the decision by the company to leave the state of New Jersey for New York, yet there was enough space for expansion. The decision was considered to be exploitative as it could subject the state of New York to pollution at the expense of the state that had enjoyed significant returns from a company that had operated in the region for a very long time. Besides, the business interests that were highlighted by the company were termed as insufficient to warrant a relocation to a community that was living without any much disturbance.

The activities of the South Bronx Unite can be considered to be useful as it helped raised valid claims against the establishment and development of Fresh Direct operations at Harlem River yard. The movement accused the company of failing and refusing living wages to its employees. The practice was considered to be exploitative in the sense that it put profits ahead on the welfare of its employees. The company further failed to assure that it would provide job opportunities to the residents of the Bronx. The move is unethical since a company is expected to be socially responsible to the community it serves. The lack of assurance saw this movement objecting all the efforts of the company to relocate as it would not benefit the local community economically through the creation of job opportunities (South Bronx Unite n.p). Besides, the company had a history of discrimination as it had been accused on numerous occasions owing to its unfair labor practices. The discrimination claims would not be tolerated in a community where diversity was celebrated, and inclusivity had become a norm and a culture in the community. The blocking of access by the public to the waterfront was something that was seen to violate the culture and the practices of the local community. These issues were part of those; the movement was fighting to restore sanity in the community.

The South Bronx Unite has different visions that seek to promote the development of social, economic and environmental aspects of the community. The movement has opened up a community planning process to allow the residents and other stakeholders to take part in decision making. The Harlem River Yard is considered to be a community resource which must be protected for the benefit of the entire community (South Bronx Unite n.p). Besides, the movement is pushing for a green business that not only provide a source of employment and revenues to the community but also protect the environment. The primary concern of this movement is on environmental conservation and taking up different initiatives geared towards protecting the environment is a priority to the community represented by the movement. The movement further pushes for the development and protection of public parks, waterfronts and green spaces accessible to Harlem River Yard. The river yard provides an environment that can be used for relaxation purposes by the public. The protection of other facilities that support this vital resource for the community has become a priority for the movement.

The efforts of South Bronx Unite have not gone unnoticed by institutions that advocate for social justice. The movement has been lauded for taking stern action against developments in the community that puts the lives of the residents in danger. Besides, any activity that appears to harm the environment will both be approved by the movement. The movement is the voice of the community that desire to live in peace and enjoy an improved quality of life. South Bronx Unite has achieved this goal and received the prestigious Felix A. Fishman Award in recognition of its efforts in advocating for environmental justice. Even if the movement has developed a plan and a vision that would help incorporate the community in decision making, it needs to bolster its efforts to ease the process of fighting off well-established organizations that seek to exploit the society. The efforts of this grassroots movements should be emulated by other groups in different locations to protect the livelihoods of millions of citizens further.

Works Cited

South Bronx Unite. About Us. Accessed 18 April 2019. Web.

South Bronx Unite. Our Supporters. Accessed 18 April 2019. Web Bronx Unite. South Bronx Unite Receives Prestigious Felix A. Fishman Award. 2015, April 30. Accessed 18 April 2019. Web

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Grassroots Groups Unite to Champion Rights of Local Communities in US - Research Paper. (2023, Jan 05). Retrieved from

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