Community Organizer Raises Flood Mitigation Awareness in Stratford

Andreina Barajas Novoa (she/they) is a junior at Southern Connecticut State University double majoring in sociology and political science to increase their understanding of social issues and what could support the collective liberation and wellbeing of all peoples.

Andreina was born in New Rochelle, NY and raised in Stratford, CT and is proud of their Mexican roots. Today they community organize with Justice for Our Streets, a local group raising awareness about flooding in Stratford’s South End neighborhood.

She became aware of flooding issues in Stratford’s South End through lived experiences of having her home regularly flooded after heavy rain.

“Growing up, I thought it was normal to see my street as one big lake after severe rain but over time I learned that this was a severe environmental injustice my community and I were experiencing,” said Andreina.

In June 2022, they were inspired by their Councilwoman Kimberly Rice and fellow activist friends to organize their neighbors to attend a town ordinance meeting where the Council was holding a hearing on what projects should be funded through the use of Capitol Improvement Project. Andreina and their neighbors encouraged the Council to dedicate funding to mitigate flooding in Stratford’s South End.

At the hearing, the neighbors shared stories of how the Bruce Brook has impacted their lives.

The testimonies of Andreina and her neighbors encouraged the Council to dedicate increased funding to the flood research projects in Stratford’s South End and increased awareness of the problems residents encountered with Bruce Brook.

Andreina is currently working with their neighbors to organize a public forum with Stratford’s decisionmakers to learn more about the flood mitigation projects, the Bruce Brook, and additional state funds that have been secured to improve the coastal resiliency of Stratford.

“Activists have drive and passion and those are important qualities are important to securing wins for the movement,” they said. “I do encourage activists to ‘radical rest,’ however, because resting allows time to heal and allows for time to ground yourself for the next day to tackle your key issue head on.”

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