We stand by you,
our most underserved communities
through the power of organizing
RENT STRIKE ORGANIZING
RENT STRIKING is the tool many of us have, yet we don’t realize how powerful it can be to use it.
That money we pay in rent is black and white. We pay NYCHA for housing and service. They, in return, continue to be terrible landlords that give us constant repair issues, the worst customer service possible, and a lack of respect.
Why haven't we BEEN withholding rent?
Perhaps, because the people we’ve viewed as “community leaders” run around saying everything BUT rent striking. As if it is NOT an option. As if laws there aren’t laws that protect us when we DEMAND dignified housing.
I prioritize rent striking in my organizing because I stand with any community demanding dignified housing, especially in our NYCHA communities. And that's exactly what we did in Woodside and what we are doing in Ravenswood.
Both of those issues, respectfully, were dealing with NO COOKING GAS. In Ravenswood’s case, there were TWO ENTIRE BUILDINGS for 5 MONTHS dealing with no cooking gas in Ravenswood during a pandemic.
I find it alarming that there was no one who connect to our communities beforehand. Yet we organized two rent strikes in a matter of months. I don't know if it's a failure of community boards, elected officials, tenant associations, and/or community based organizations that are supposed to be advocating on behalf of these issues.
I ask myself - “where was the advocacy for dignified housing?” “Where was this knowledge about rent striking being spread around in OUR communities?”
We should've been rent striking YEARS ago. A majority of residents should be rent striking in NYCHA given the issues we are dealing with.
That’s the knowledge we want to spread to the people in NYCHA, Cosmopolitan Houses, Phipps, and/or any place in our district where there is a demand for dignified housing.
WE, AS BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES, deal with diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and other health issues more than any other community. This can be directly connected to the lack of access to healthier foods.
Healthier Foods is incorporated into our organizing because, just as with rent strikes, we are actively taking steps to empower OURSELVES and not waiting for anybody. You’ll have those legislative saviors that will say “I have a piece of legislation that's going to increase access to healthier/organic foods in every neighborhood!” They want to be “the one” to bring change, when time and time again they don’t involve the community in a REAL way and they do not bring a change at all.
We don’t wait. We make the change as a community, ourselves. Our campaign realized there was an opportunity to bring in healthier foods to the community I am from: Ravenswood. We organized, obtained resources, and we CREATED OUR OWN healthier food initiative in Ravenswood, for Ravenswood, by Ravenswod.
In addition to creating this initiative, I assist in mutual aid efforts in Ravenswood and Sunnyside's Mosaic Center. I’m also working with Transform America, an organization from Queensbridge for Queensbridge, providing weekly vegan meal initiatives in Queensbridge.
The organizing we do is FOR US and BY US. I’m running for a position that people don't have a lot of faith in. This position has yet to do something sustainable for the people in underserved communities, and especially NYCHA. I am running to make people aware that sustainable community work IS BEING done.
This isn’t charity, this isn’t people coming from OUTSIDE our community to do “good”. Our campaign is LED by the new leaders of our most underserved communities, while incorporating the community we’re from and serving the people we love.
Reach out to support or be part of our Healthier Foods initiative.
COMMUNITY LAND TRUST
A COMMUNITY LAND TRUST (CLT) at its most bare is a type of a nonprofit organization that is responsible for acquiring land on behalf of a community.
We’re pushing that to the furthest extent, to be the most EQUITABLE for the most underserved communities in district 26.
This is the vision and action driving the creation of the RAVENSWOOD COMMUNITY LAND TRUST (CLT).
I am organizing with others from Ravenswood Houses in creating a RAVENSWOOD CLT to acquire the land that currently holds the DSNY (Department of Sanitation) Queens Garage 1 at 34-28 21st Street.
We organize specifically with Ravenswood residents, who have been the only people that have exclusively suffered for generations from the pollution from the garage.
We want to make sure people understand the RAVENSWOOD CLT is the first CLT of its kind. This is not just a nonprofit. Nonprofits are not always good. CLTs aren't always revolutionary but this one IS. This is transforming what Ravenswood looks like in becoming a powerful community. It’s transforming the way we handle our issues with NYCHA, public safety, and ownership. And how we get there is based on HOW we organize, especially with the youth.
We dance around the fact that the youth are central to a lot of concerns in our neighborhood, but the youth have never been incorporated to discover what THEY want to see in the community. Now, everything we do in our community and the way decisions are made must include the youth. The RAVENSWOOD CLT model’s sole focus is to rise above the current concept of a community land trust out,through the amount of power the community will take back. Not only are the Ravenswood residents going to be at the top of the chain when it comes to decisions. They will be responsible for creating this organization. This is going to be something the youth and the community get to claim.
In addition to that, we are organizing to spread THAT model to Woodside and Queensbridge, the other two most underserved communities within district 26. From there, we spread that model to EVERY other marginalized community within district 26, in order for each community to empower themselves.