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    Posted January 12, 2013 by
    Belle Harbor, New York

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    Rockaway Residents to Congress: Walk a Mile in Our Shoes


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     beachtar photographed an event called "Walk a mile in our shoes," which was organized by Rockaway, New York, residents. He says the event took place in Belle Harbor, on January 12. 'It was an emphatic message to Congress that there is no other way to vote than "yes" on the Sandy aid bill,' he said. He says the event lasted for three hours and was attended by several U.S. Senate Representatives. He says the delay of Congress to act on the aid relief for Sandy victims is upsetting. 'It's a sad commentary on the dysfunctional state of our current political institutions that aid to Hurricane Katrina victims sailed through Congress in only 10 days, while lawmakers today continue to hold New York and New Jersey residents hostage to their own ideologies,' he said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Rockaway, NY residents spoke with their voices and with their feet today to focus attention on what they perceive to be a blatant case of foot dragging on Sandy relief on the part of the U.S. Congress. The event they staged was “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes” and it was designed to send a message to this fractious Congress that they will not be ignored and they will not go away.


    In 2005 a bill to provide $50 billion in aid to Hurricane Katrina victims breezed through Congress in just 10 days, over the dissent of only 11 House members. Two weeks ago, however, 67 House members voted against the $9.7 billion flood insurance bill. The people of Rockaway were out here today to say shame on you to any member of Congress who could vote against the rest of this $60 billion package next week.


    Whether or not the residents’ voices were heard in Washington, they did catch the ears of their Representative to the U.S. House, Gregory Meeks, and their New York State House and Senate Representatives, Malcolm Smith and Joe Addabbo, Jr. Each strongly pledged their support for the aid bill from the bed of a pickup truck, which served as the stage.


    From Far Rockaway to Neponsit to Breezy Point, the Rockaway peninsula is home to anything but a homogenous population. But for a day, people from each of these communities stood shoulder to shoulder, many with an arm in the air and all chanting, “Pass that bill! Pass that bill! Pass that…”

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