The principles that unapologetically drive me to do the work
OVER 60% OF PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY ARE RENTERS.
The knowledge of rent striking is permeating buildings, apartments, and families. Once families realize they are going through similar issues as their neighbors across the hall, then we have the potential to spark unity, behind one issue, throughout an entire building full of people..
The vision is to transcend that into what we can do as a community. That begins with Tenant Empowerment.
There are many people that live in large developments throughout district 26 who deal with the same issues. They might never speak or organize with their neighbors because of possible shame - the shame of feeling it’s your fault for housing conditions being decrepit. Or possibly because many are desensitized to the injustices we face from the landlords, or the City for not holding those landlords accountable.
And (as) we see in NYCHA communities, that not only do we deal with problems within the same buildings, we have the SAME problems across an entire city. That is why we focus so heavily in NYCHA because it has such high potential to transform injustice into power.
As that power permeates NYCHA, it permeates throughout RENTERS in the district and the city. Working in the City Council, I've seen how landlords work to make many renters feel defenseless. This is the power shift we are actively pushing to make into a reality. This is the value that runs deep for us. Dignified housing for all.
THE VISION of our communities coming together to solve our issues as tenants and transcending that into what we can do as a community is Community Ownership.
Each individual brings their own knowledge and experience within the community.
NYCHA communities show our often untapped community assets. Ravenswood, for example, is full of entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, business owners and more. Young people are getting into crypto and stocks, and you also have people like me, who are involved in politics. I have been involved in politics, government, advocacy, and activism for YEARS.
This campaign is focused on utilizing all these resources we have as a PEOPLE. We are combining and fostering them as a community behind a goal of Community Ownership. This is essential because we’ve seen our opportunities be shut down due to lack of true community ownership
We have outside nonprofits that come into our communities and say they want to do all this good but essentially they're making a WHOLE lot of money from the city to pay for their salaries to be able to provide a certain service for our community. We can provide that to OURSELVES.
We acknowledge that we haven't been provided certain opportunities as a community. Now let’s figure out how we can use the resources that we have RIGHT NOW to grow, grow, and GROW within our communities until we can own land. We are doing that with the Ravenswood CLT (Community Land Trust).
There are all these opportunities that come with community ownership. It’s essentially for us to give OURSELVES those opportunities.
Black liberation is black people liberating themselves within this system that constantly provides obstacles to do exactly THAT: be free.
Just about every single city, state and federal agency that exists plays a role in providing those obstacles for black and brown people. It is not as simple as complete national abolition, because there are black and brown people who want to keep some of the system. We need to acknowledge that, which is why black liberation looks like breaking down the system where it doesn’t work for us, and has never worked for us.
Breaking down NYCHA, NYPD, Department of Education, Board of Elections, and any other agency that has created obstacles for black and brown people in each neighborhood of NYC. We break down as much of the system as necessary until all black and brown people can be free in determining our own destinies. At this point, that is not the case.
That is why CLTs (Community Land Trusts) and RMCs (Resident Management Corporations) are so important. They are structures for black and brown people to advocate for themselves and create solutions on some of the biggest issues, such as housing and community resources.