Dear Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr: How Many More of Our Children Must Die From Asthma Before You Stop FreshDirect?

Too many of our children are suffering from asthma. One too many are dying. This is an all too common sight in our borough.
Too many of our children are suffering from asthma and one too many are dying. This is an all too common sight in our borough.

A 7-year-old South Bronx girl in Melrose dies tragically from asthma yet you, our Borough President along with your machine cronies still think it’s ok to move FreshDirect and their dirty, truck intensive company into our borough where we have some of the highest rates of asthma in the nation.

This is why we fight against such dirty deals.

We’re exhausted from the senseless deaths. We are over saturated with choking and deadly diesel fumes.

Our neighborhood is dominated by 5 bridges along with 3 highways that are congested already and creates an area known as Asthma Alley.

How can you, our elected leaders, say this is GOOD for the South Bronx and The Bronx when children are dying as a result of these policies? Oh, that’s right, your campaigns are financed by such companies. You all have blood on your hands, those who approve and let this deal slide through.

We educate the general public on why we oppose such a deal, we tell you of its deadly impact but when a child dies, it becomes all too horrifying and real. To say I am angry and livid at our leadership is an understatement.

Bronx Asthma Facts

  • Asthma rates are some of the highest in the nation in The Bronx
  • The Bronx has an asthma mortality rate of 3x the national average with more people and children dying from the chronic disease than any other borough.
  • Hospitalization rates from asthma are 21x higher in the South Bronx than the rest of the city, particularly affluent neighborhoods
  • A number of Bronx neighborhoods, particularly in the South Bronx, have an estimated 20% of children with the deadly disease

Mychal Johnson, a Mott Haven resident and one of the founders of South Bronx Unite said, “As our elected leaders have fundraisers to continue their political careers based on policies that cause health epidemics in our neighborhoods, our children are literally dying. How many more lives need to be lost?”

Like and share this tweet to let our Borough Prez know ENOUGH:

Another Mott Haven resident and founding member of South Bronx Unite, Monxo Lopez, said, “Lives lost to asthma are not part of a statistical game of numbers. These are our daughters, our neighbors, our parents, dying.”

“This tragedy was absolutely preventable; but our politicians are too busy day-dreaming about congress or city hall, dining, and fundraising with rich developers, or bringing  diesel-truck intensive asthma-inducing deals -like FreshDirect’s- into our communities. The death of this girl is a crime, and it cannot be forgotten,” added Lopez.

Maps created by Grant Pezeshki and Jessie L. Carr, University of Pittsburgh and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Maps created by Grant Pezeshki and Jessie L. Carr, University of Pittsburgh and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

As I write this, my father is by the family’s side as they lay their child to rest.

This little girl was our daughter, our sister, our responsibility as a community. What do you say to the parents when you have failed to provide a healthy and clean environment for their children?

Folks, this is a war against people of color and low-income families and they don’t care if children are lost.

Let this child’s tragic death and those of many others not be in vain.

To learn more about why we fight against environmentally disastrous deals like FreshDirect’s planned move to The Bronx, head over to South Bronx Unite.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.