We are very saddened by the passing of Luis Garden Acosta, former New Yorkers for Parks board member and a leader in the effort to protect and improve New York City’s environment. He was committed to improving and increasing open space in New York City, and understood the essential role parks play in improving the health of New Yorkers and fighting climate change.
Luis Garden Actosta founded El Puente, a community-based youth development organization in Williamsburg’s Southside, and a school, El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. El Puente’s Green Light District (GLD) is a ten-year initiative to “sustain, grow, green, and celebrate Williamsburg’s Southside community.” As a part of the GLD initiative, NY4P worked with young people and educated them in how to measure parks usership, preparing them to advocate for open spaces that serve the needs of their community. We worked with El Puente to advocate for BQGreen, a proposed park that would deck over parts of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, adding much-needed parkland to park-poor South Williamsburg while also helping to lower the high asthma rates in the area.
In addition to all of this impressive work, El Puente co-founded the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance; conducted a three-year asthma study of Williamsburg’s south side that resulted in the first scientific, peer-reviewed article written by a community organization ever published by The American Journal of Public Health; convened and facilitated Puerto Rico’s first Leadership Summit on Climate Change; among many others.
Luis, we dedicate our work to you, and hope you would be happy with what we continue to stand for and what we accomplish. You will be missed.