Last year we highlighted the people-led organizations doing the hard work to keep New Yorkers in their rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods that hold police violence accountable and the politicians that side with wealthy interests over constituents. We highlighted organizations made up of people like you and me that are here and demanding an affordable New York that honors our cultural legacies. We called on you to divest your money from Trojan Horse businesses with no regard to community–to us the long-term residents and businesses of New York City.
So once again it’s our great honor to highlight some of the organizations who’ve won victories, marched under the thick hot June air and held banners all winter long. It’s for this reason I once again must stress for 2018 & beyond If you want the working class to keep our homes here, the people that create the culture known world-round and have our civil rights respected, free from the oppressive hands of any individual, organization, or force, we are going to have to continue to join local groups now more than ever.
The gap between the haves and the have-nots has worsened since we began our documentation and it’s why we’re asking folks to donate this giving holiday season to the following organizations.
Here’s to you, the ones creating 21st-century movements by divesting from culture vultures paving the way for movements of the future. Without further due, here are some of the grassroots organizations that we have either collaborated with or watched fighting for New York communities.
New York Communities for Change is a community-based membership organization committed to organizing low and moderate-income families in New York’s lowest-income neighborhoods. Their goal is to empower communities so they can impact the political and economic policies that directly affect them. Building organizations that have the strength to create positive change through leadership development, direct action, negotiation, legislation, and voter participation.
Desis Rising Up & Moving is a community based social justice organization of working-class South Asian immigrants in NYC. DRUM are South Asian immigrants and families affected by detentions and deportations organizing to halt an expanding enforcement system and gain access to legalization, housing, education and economic justice. They build the leadership of low income, undocumented and imprisoned immigrants, youth, and women. The long-term vision is to build power in working-class migrant communities rooted in global justice and human rights.
The Crown Heights Tenant Union (CHTU) is a union of Tenant Associations that began meeting on October 2013 in response to rampant gentrification, displacement, and illegal rental overcharges in the neighborhood. There are over 40 buildings in their union that have come together to demand new, stronger protections that guarantee tenants’ rights. Their demands call for a stronger tenant voice in decisions that impact rental housing and include five-year rent freeze and restrictions on tenant buyouts.
Movement To Protect The People are neighbors, Prospect Park lovers, gardeners, homeowners, apartment dwellers, tenants, community workers, sun worshipers, Block Associations, neighborhood organizers, small business owners etc. Their Mission is to protect the moderate to low income people from being displaced from the Flatbush Ave, Lefferts Garden area, due to gentrification. Determined to help true affordable housing that is based on the current population income and provide assistance to maintain the current affordable housing stock.
El Grito de Sunset Park is formed as a response from the socially and economically disenfranchised to those in power and those who seek to disempower. Inspired by many gritos and their history of resistance, El Grito provides a platform on which to express and document the experiences of marginalized communities by encouraging civic engagement to protect human rights.
Chinatown Art Brigade is a project-driven collective that is working in close collaboration with CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities’ Chinatown Tenants Union, a grassroots organization that organizes low-income pan-Asian communities around tenant rights, fighting evictions and community empowerment.
Founded in 1966, UPROSE is Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization. Today, UPROSE is an intergenerational, multi-racial, nationally-recognized community organization that promotes the sustainability and resiliency of the Sunset Park community in Brooklyn through community organizing, education, leadership development, and cultural/artistic expression. UPROSE’s work encompasses a variety of environmental justice and public health initiatives, from the redevelopment of the waterfront and local brownfields, to transportation, open space and air quality needs, to educational and youth empowerment campaigns. UPROSE has achieved multiple groundbreaking accomplishments in community-based planning and development. It has recently increased its focus on the adaptation of Sunset Park to a changing climate and to deepening its community resiliency. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Sunset Park community urged UPROSE to help them organize and adapt to the changing climate, prepare for the next storm, and put the neighborhood on a block-by- block, building-by-building path to sustainability and resilience.
BAJI educates and engages African American and black immigrant communities to organize and advocate for racial, social and economic justice. Local BAJI Organizing Committees in New York, Georgia, California and Arizona build coalitions and initiate campaigns among communities to push for racial justice. At the local and regional level, BAJI provides training and technical assistance to partner organizations to develop leadership skills, works with faith communities to harness their prophetic voice, and initiates vibrant dialogues with African Americans and black immigrants to discover more about race, our diverse identities, racism, migration and globalization. BAJI’s flagship project is the Black Immigration Network (BIN), a national alliance that brings together black-led organizations and programs to advance just immigration policies and promote cultural shifts our communities need. The BIN kinship provides a safe, communal space for diverse black communities to connect, engage and advocate for equality and justice for all.
Everyone is talking about — The rapid gentrification of Brooklyn. Rents are going up, people are being displaced and small long-time mom and pop businesses are closing. Racial profiling and ticketing harassment due to Broken Windows policing grow’s worse every day. Tenants, especially those who live in non-rent stabilized housing, homeowners and small business owners are at an unfair disadvantage because they do not have access to the same legal representation that landlords and developers do. And seems like the NYPD is above the law and can do whatever they want in our neighborhoods without impunity. Help Them Change This!
Equality for Flatbush does affordable housing, anti-gentrification and police accountability organizing in Brooklyn. They’ve organized “No Eviction Zones” in 9 neighborhoods in Brooklyn — including Bedford-Stuyvesant/Clinton Hill, Bushwick, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Sunset Park. In 2016, they have been able to win repairs, build a ramp, get a tenant moved to a new apartment, as well as secure 2 commercial leases. They also fight Broken Window policing by organizing stop the NYPD harassment of street vendors and dollar van and cab drivers. Again in 2016, they launched 3 successful campaigns to get the charges dropped against people who were brutalized by the NYPD.
The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) is a people of color-led, mass-based coalition of tenants, homeowners, block associations, anti-police brutality groups, legal and grassroots organizations working together to end the rampant gentrification and displacement of low to middle-income residents of Brooklyn, New York. This year they organized the first Brooklyn wide march against gentrification, racism, and police violence. They operate the way the United Nations brings many grassroots groups to the table to exercise coalesced organizing because at the end of the day it’s all about PEOPLE POWER!
#SaveNYC is a grassroots, crowd-sourced, DIY movement to raise awareness and take action for protecting and preserving the diversity and uniqueness of the urban fabric in New York City.
As our vibrant streetscapes and neighborhoods are turned into bland, suburban-style shopping malls, filled with chain stores and glossy luxury retail, #SaveNYC is fighting for small businesses and cultural institutions.
Our mission is to bring attention to the plight of Mom and Pop, raise awareness of the issues, and encourage state and city government to implement protections for small businesses and cultural institutions across the five boroughs of New York City.
NYC Lights Brigade uses lights to light up the social, eco, and political movements all through the city.