Over 100 Brooklynites gathered outside the Park Slope post office on Aug. 22 to decry the federal government’s attempts to hinder the United States Postal Service ahead of November’s presidential election.
The rally was just one of 800 events organized across the country for a national day of action, as the House of Representatives voted on a bill to block proposed changes to the service from Louis DeJoy, the ally of President Donald Trump serving as postmaster general.
“We love our post office, we want to protect our postal workers, we want to save our democracy and we want to say no to Trump’s attacks, DeJoy’s attacks, and republican attacks on our post offices,” said Justin Krebs, a 42-year-old Park Slope resident who organized the rally on Ninth Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to block the Democrat’s proposed bill in the nation’s upper legislative chamber, saying that USPS funding should come as a part of a larger economic stimulus bill.
Protesters carried signs, gave speeches in support of the service, and signed a banner to deliver to the Park Slope post office workers.
The changes at the postal service, which have included reductions in overtime and the shutting off of mail sorting machines, are widely believed to be an attempt by President Trump to suppress mail-in voting during the November general election — a charge which he has openly admitted to.
The Postmaster General has since paused all proposed changes until after the Nov. 3 election to avoid charges of voter suppression, but insiders at the American Postal Workers Union say some of the damage is already done.
“This is voter suppression, there needs to be accountability,” said protester Cynthia Rothschild. “The sorting machines must be restored, DeJoy must be kicked out and our congresspeople must be challenged to up their games.”
The shake-up at the post office has led to delays in mail, which can include essentials such as medicine — prompting a 10-year-old diabetic Park Sloper to voice his support of the mail service at Saturday’s demonstration.
“Trump is clearly trying to suppress voting by destroying the post office and stopping funds,” said Tabias, who receives his Insulin medication in the mail. “America was built on the principle of abolishing monarchies and creating a just republic with fair democracy, Trump is the exact opposite.”
The postal service has seen a newfound outpouring of support from Americans amid the pandemic and as the attempted sidelining has come to light, with supporters ordering sheets of stamps and other postal service merchandise to support the service.
“The pandemic has really revealed for us things that are essential that we maybe had not seen as essential before,” said Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander. “Getting things to our door, we just didn’t think about how essential that was before.”
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane