Our Top 10 People-led Grass Roots Organizations In New York City

Artwork By: Keith Haring

Keep your eyes on big brother New York, and use the tools you have! I’ll list some ways we can divest and re-invest our money from Trojan Horse businesses, with no regard to community–to us–the long term residents and businesses of New York City all through out 2017. If you want the working class to keep our homes here, the artists, the people, and have our civil rights respected, free from any oppressive hands of any individual, organization, or force, we are going to have to continue to join local groups.

I personally think art can have a role in that, in fact it always has. This is our movement after all, and we’re beautiful, intelligent, and gifted, so why not use our gifts to create the art for a culture of love? Art is language and we’re going to need all hands on deck during the resistance 2.0.

In 2017 we’re all creating the 21st century movement of civil disobedience by divesting from culture vultures and reinvesting in one another, paving the way for movements of the future, here are some of the grassroots organizations that we have either collaborated with or watched and gained inspiration from.

Local organizations that have done incredible work this year and thrive off community feedback:

1.) Mi Casa No Es Su Casa: Illumination Against Gentrification

“A growing collective of native New Yorker activists, the core of which were raised in Brooklyn, that came together at Mayday Space (in collaboration with the NYC Light Brigade) to create signs that shed light on the struggles of those most vulnerable to the gentrification, displacement, discrimination and harassment plaguing our communities in Bushwick, Brooklyn and beyond.”

2.) Equality For Flatbush

“Equality for Flatbush (E4F) is a people of color-led, multi-national grassroots organization that does anti-police repression, affordable housing and anti-gentrification organizing in the Flatbush and East Flatbush communities of Brooklyn, NY. Ultimately our goals are to end NYPD murders and to stop the displacement of low to middle income people within our community. Equality for Flatbush was founded in June of 2013 and is currently a volunteer–run organization. We seek to organize our communities for social change and justice through street outreach, social media campaigns, political advocacy and direct action. For this very reason, we believe that all of us-long-time and new residents, communities of color and white communities, low-income and middle-class people – have a stake in the urgent struggle to save affordable housing in Brooklyn.”

3.) Defund DAPL

“If you have a financial relationship (accounts, loans, credit cards) with one of these banks that fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and you would like to divest, first set up a new account in a credit union that does not invest in fossil fuel extraction. This guide can help you make a smooth transition. Then, go to your bank and make a #BankExit by publicly closing your account. Make sure to submit a letter to management explaining that you don’t want to finance an institution that profits from human rights abuses and puts our water at risk.”

4.) Before It’s Gone // Take It Back

“Launched in 2014, BEFORE IT’S GONE // TAKE IT BACK has been documenting Brooklyn’s fight against Gentrification. It’s an organization that is a neighborhood and web-based response to the crisis of gentrification of Brooklyn, NY whose main goals are to organize “No Eviction Zones” throughout Brooklyn – block by block, building by building. We provide vital legal, housing and community organizing resources to help keep Brooklyn residents in their homes and small businesses in our communities. We, define ‘gentrification’ as a concerted, deliberate effort to price out low-to-middle income residents from neighborhoods by city government, corporations, real estate developers, and landlords in favor of renting, selling, and catering to people of higher and/or more flexible incomes. We see gentrification as an intersectional issue that is deeply connected to the ways that race, class, gender, sexuality, gender identity, age, ability, nation of origin, immigration status, physical and mental capacity, etc. impact individuals and our communities.”

5.) NYC Democratic Socialists of America

“We’re the NYC local of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the country. We fight for more democracy — in our politics, our workplaces, our economy. Our members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in U.S. communities and politics. We do so through 1) activism, 2) political education, and 3) reflection on how these two inform each other. For an advanced overview of our politics visit our website or join us at a future NYC meet up.”


6.) Muslims Giving Back

“Muslims Giving Back Non-Profit charity in NYC . Feeding the homeless every week, they even offer free female instructor lead self-defense courses aimed at helping women protect and defend themselves every Thursday.”

7.) Decolonize This Place

“Decolonize This Place is a movement space that is action-oriented around indigenous struggle, black liberation, Free Palestine, global wage workers and de-gentrification.”

8.) Blue Stockings

“Bluestockings is a 100% volunteer-powered and collectively-owned radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We carry over 6,000 titles on topics such as feminism, queer and gender studies, global capitalism, climate & environment, political theory, police and prisons, race and black studies, radical education, plus many more! You can also find some good ‘ole smutty fiction, sci-fi, and poetry . We also carry magazines, zines, journals, alternative menstrual products and other oddly hard-to-find good things. We host readings, workshops, performances, discussions and films almost every night. Please see our events calendar for details on upcoming events, and when visiting the store, take a look at our community bulletin board to learn about other events happening around the city. Also check out our Mission and Safer Space Policy, which provide guidelines to help Bluestockings be a supportive environment for all who participate.”

9.) Wolf Pac NYC Division (Started By TYT Politics)

“Join the Team – Be Part of the Solution The objective of Wolf PAC is not theory, it is results. We will pass the 28th amendment to bring Free and Fair Elections to America, and we will reclaim our democracy. We have the right plan, the right leader, and the American people on our side. We will walk you through how you can help every step of the way. Join us, let’s make history together!”

10.) Grow NYC

“Our network of Greenmarket farmers markets, Youthmarkets, fresh food box pick-ups and Greenmarket Co. ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food. GrowNYC is the sustainability resource for New Yorkers: providing free tools and services anyone can use in order to improve our City and environment. Our mission is to improve New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.”

Bonus: Silent Barn

“In 2017, Silent Barn will become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We need you to help us start our year ready for the fight ahead, as we continue to advocate for safer spaces and fight to legalize DIY!

Memberships & your generous donations help us to sustain a home for art in all its many forms, pay artists, host a complex of studios and residencies, raise money for urgent social causes, all while exploring non-hierarchical organizing strategies. Our members are our most dedicated contributors, and we are so grateful for your generosity over the years.

Visit silentbarn.org/donate for information on Silent Barn memberships or to make a one time, tax-deductible donation. And thank you! ”


Do you have organizations that you are a part of that echo the movements and local economy based initiatives? Or an organization that has federal goals but is based in New York? Leave a comment on our facebook post here for others to see and check out. 

Consider a donation of any amount to Elevtr Trax! We are going into remission for January because I will be doing some organizing work in DC and then to New Orleans to finish writing a book i’ve been working on. We want to expand next year and will depend on a person based donation model. If you want more bands to have their first albums covered, first live HD-videos produced, or POC issues, LGBT artists voices amplified, and the grass roots supported on the picket line, we’re going to need your support! Thanks for giving us that in 2016, next year, in the words of Bernie, “the struggle continues.”

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