“Good afternoon,

I am Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., representing District 36: Bed-Stuy and Northern Crown Heights. I am here today as the immediate past co-Chair of the Black Latino Asian Caucus.

About two weeks ago, the Bahamas was struck by a devastating Category 5 hurricane that decimated parts of the islands. Currently responders, including law enforcement and medical professionals, are navigating the destruction and death to find survivors or recover bodies.

It’s grueling, painful work, and I commend the courage of those who step up to serve.

There are about 1,300 people missing, with over 1,000 feared dead. The islands saw 7 billion in property damage.

New York City’s great immigrant history pushes us to step up in the face of global emergencies and disasters. New York City is rich in the Caribbean diaspora, and we feel the pain of those in the Bahamas.

It is shameful that our federal government does not share the New York value of commitment to your neighbor- we have an obligation to support those from the Bahamas and their recovery efforts.

We should be granting temporary protection status, and it is cruel that our federal government will not do so. With so much rhetoric around the merit of black and brown people coming to our country, I have concerns that this refusal is based on racist ideology, and I am here today to denounce that.

New York would gladly welcome these survivors, with open arms, in the true spirit of compassion.

The Citywide Drive and our office is strongly encouraging donations of food, dry goods, and personal hygiene items. Our office, located at 1360 Fulton Street, in Restoration Plaza, is also accepting clothing donations.

Tourism is also still welcomed, despite the devastation. 60% of the islands’ economy is dependent on tourism, and visiting will help the nation in recovery efforts.

I would like to say thank you to the First Lady, Chirlane McCray, and to the Public Advocate for stepping up and organizing relief efforts. I would also like to thank everyday New Yorkers and Americans who are getting involved.

Thank you.”