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Lynn: Environmental protest was part of statewide #LetUsBreathe tour

Community activists took to Lynn Beach to protest waterfront development (Courtesy photo)

LYNN — Community activists took to Lynn Beach earlier this month to protest waterfront development as flooding continues to be a problem in the city.

The Nov. 3 protest was part of a statewide effort, called the #LetUsBreathe Tour, “designed to expose the harmful privatization of public land and resources that’s happening in low-income black and brown communities and working-class communities across Massachusetts,” according to a press release.

Estrella Diaz, a political director of the Lynn chapter of Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, took part in the protest and said the effort was focused on highlighting environmental justice. The U.S. Department of Energy defines environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Diaz said the organization feels rents are very high in the city and sees displacement as an environmental justice issue. There needs to be a plan to figure out how to mitigate flooding, as it often occurs in places where many people of color live.

“The people that are living downtown, (they’re) taken by surprise when these things happen,” Diaz said. “Their whole livelihood gets turned upside down.”

The protest was also meant to highlight how the group feels proposed plans to develop the waterfront in Lynn would be impacted by climate change and rising sea levels, according to Diaz.

“We deserve a world where we protect our natural resources and allow for our communities to stay intact by not displacing them due to overpriced developers and increase in rents,” said Andrea Nyamekye, campaign and policy director at Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, in a statement.

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