On September 23, 2021, onlookers watched as police officers and sanitation workers approached a produce stand in the Bronx. When they asked owner Diana Hernandez Cruz to show a permit, she couldn’t.
So what did they do?
According to CBS New York, officials neglected to ask permission from the Department of Health to reuse confiscated food. So instead, they threw whole boxes of fruits and vegetables in the garbage!
And doing this in the Bronx specifically is foul.
30% of the Bronx, which is 29% Black, lives in poverty. And that’s only getting worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bronx is also one of the biggest food deserts in the country – and the city decided to trash one of people’s only accessible options to quality food.
Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted that this incident was wrong, but we still need to ask authorities, and ourselves, some questions.
Why were police there in the first place? To rough people up? What’s the point of targeting food vendors in the first place? Why didn’t they just plan to give the food away? Why does criminalization continue to beat out common sense?
If the city really cared about Bronx residents’ health and well-being, they would’ve given these families the resources to formalize their businesses, instead of throwing out food. But they didn’t – because they don’t actually care.