Monday, December 7, 2009

MOM Donor Drive Needs YOU

Tremendous THANKS to ALL who have stepped up to pledge their support of MOM during our 2009 Green Jobs Donor Drive!

We are over halfway to our goal of raising $5,000 through a grassroots phonebanking drive led by a core of fabulous volunteers, but we have just 2 weeks left! Your support is vital to MOM's ongoing work for social, economic and environmental justice in the South Bronx and beyond - we simply cannot do this without the support grassroots donors like you.

If you haven't yet made a pledge and are at all able, please consider committing $5-10 per month to become a MOM Sustainer and help kickstart our new Green Jobs Campaign. You can click on the "Support MOM" link on the right, or go directly to Network for Good and make your pledge.

For more info on the Donor Drive: mark@mothersonthemove.org

For more info on the Green Jobs Campaign: thomas@mothersonthemove.org

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bronx Unemployment: Today's Math


The NY Times' 12/6/09 Sunday Metro feature, "With 'You’re Hired,' Gaining Entry to a Select Group" breaks down the odds of landing a minimum wage food service job in this current economy. Hear the stories of 7 employees at the new Applebees on Fordham Road in the Bronx, where 6,500 people applied for 120 jobs.

Some areas of the South Bronx have up to a 35% unemployment rate - the highest in the tri-state region and one of the highest in the country. In addition, South Bronx residents suffer the highest rates of asthma in the
United States. Although there is much talk lately about the emerging "green economy," MOM is determined to ensure that local working class and low-income residents are at the table when it comes to creating the blueprints for these new developments in labor and the economy.


If you are a South Bronx resident and are interested in getting involved with MOM's Green Jobs Campaign, please email thomas@mothersonthemove.org or call 718.842.2224

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Right To The City Video

This is an excellent piece about RTTC NYC, by The Indypendent's IndyVideo Team. It features MOM leaders Cerita Parker (incorrectly listed as "Cecilia") and Tanya Fields, Housing Justice Organizer Nova Strachan, and footage from MOM's July 2009 Fish Fry & Flea Market.



Big thanks to The Indypendent and Paper Tiger for their consistent coverage of the issues facing working class and low-income New Yorkers. Dig deeper with Alex Kane's article, "Cashing in on the Housing Crisis."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UN Housing Rapporteur Visits NYC

This week the MOM Housing Justice Committee helped to welcome the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik, to New York City in an event hosted by our allies at Picture the Homeless.

This was Ms. Rolnik's first official mission to the U.S., and similar events took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Pine Ridge Reservation SD, Washington DC, and Wilkes-Barre PA. In addition to the NYC town hall meeting, the Rapporteur toured the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens to investigate homelessness and housing conditions to inform her findings, reports, and recommendations to the United Nations and U.S. Government. More info on the Mission is available HERE.

At the packed Town Hall event Ms. Rolnik heard testimony from New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, foreclosures, and problems with public housing. MOM Housing Justice Committee members from Forest Houses turned out to represent for their development and for all South Bronx NYCHA (NYC Housing Authority) residents bearing the brunt of the long-term, systematic underfunding of public housing and other vital services.

MOM Housing Justice member Janette Alcava gave testimony that addressed the need for more services in public housing for families raising children with special needs, and raised concerns around the NYC Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) unjust mandatory community service requirement, which does not exempt her even though she is head of household and also the sole care provider of a special needs child. Ms. Lorraine Trent - addressed the media on the troubles faced by people in homeless shelters, and the dire situation within Public housing in and outside New York City.


More coverage of the event:

Picture the Homeless

New York Times

Village Voice

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Demand YOUR Right To The City!


The Luxury Condo Boom is over!

Empty Apartments are everywhere in our neighborhoods. So are stuggling families. So are the Homeless.

STAND UP for universal housing rights for all (not just the rich)
STAND UP against developers who warehouse empty apartments in our neighborhoods! ACT NOW!!

WHAT: RALLY, press conference, live music and speak out.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 27th from 4-6 PM
(Meet at MOM's Office @ 2pm)

WHERE: ALBEE SQUARE (right off Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn) 2, 3, 4, 5 trains to NEVINS ST





Join MOM and our allies in Right To The City-NYC to fight to convert EMPTY Condominiums into housing for low, middle & fixed Income and homeless families!

Brought to you by Right to the City NYC, an alliance of local grassroots groups including: CAAAV, Community Voices Heard, FIERCE, FUREE, Make The Road NY, Mothers on the Move, NYC Aids Housing Network (NYCAHN/VOCAL), Picture the Homeless, Teachers Unite, JFREJ and many wonderful allies and supporters like you!

For more info about Right To The City, go to: www.righttothecity.org



Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wanda Salaman Receives "Uptown Girl" Award

Majora Carter's work in the South Bronx has long provided an example of the kind of fierce leadership which Bronx women manifest in the community and larger world.

On Wednesday, September 16, Mothers on the Move was thrilled to celebrate the life and work of one of our own. Executive Director Wanda Salaman was recognized at the Majora Carter Group's inaugural Uptown Girl Power event for her tireless work as a community organizer for social justice, and for the leadership she inspires in women of all ages.

Wanda was in good company, joining fellow Bronx natives and critically acclaimed actresses Kerry Washington and Joy Bryant as “Uptown Girl” honorees.



The event raised funds for a large-scale environmentally-themed mural at a major intersection in Hunts Point. The mural will be coordinated by the Groundswell Community Mural Project, and will engage people from the Bronx of all ages - especially women.

See event coverage from NY1 HERE.

¡Felicidades Wanda!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Housing Justice Committee takes off at Forest Houses!


This past Wednesday, September 2, the MOM Housing Justice Committee held a basebuilding meeting at Forest Houses (NYC Housing Authority - NYCHA), with resounding success.



Thanks to the outstanding outreach efforts of Forest residents (through doorknocking, phonebanking and street outreach), over 100 neighbors showed up for a meeting to air out concerns with NYC Council Member Helen Diane Foster. Folks commented that there hasn't been a turnout like that in 30 yrs, which made it even more special.


The government's disinvestment in Forest & other NYCHA Public housing developments is an everyday nightmare for most residents, who experience the constant failure of elevators, myriad severe repair needs in apartments, unkempt grounds and playgrounds, lack of usable public space, and constant plumbing issues.


The focus of the Housing Justice Meeting was to discuss the allocation of money to NYCHA through the Federal economic stimulus package, and to identify its use and misuse as it relates to the South Bronx in general, to Forest Houses in particular.

In addition, the meeting sought to gain
the support of District 16 NYC Council Member Helen Diane Foster to secure a meeting with NYCHA's Housing Comissioner John B. Rhea, and to host a tour of Forest Houses for her NYC Council colleagues.

Residents chat with CM Foster after the meeting



Forest resident leaders crafted a letter that will ask the Council Member when we can expect these actions to take place. Please check back for updates as MOM will keep you posted on the outcome.


Thanks to the work of the MOM Housing Justice Committee, NYCHA residents around the South Bronx are realizing that taking leadership and building unity around a strategic campaign can have real results. NYCHA Residents want Change!!!




Sunday, July 26, 2009

Right To The City-NYC Platform Released


This week saw the release of the Right To The City-NYC's policy platform document. Along with our allies in RTTC-NYC, MOM has been working hard for more than a year to bring the perspectives and experiences of South Bronx residents to this important project. Looking ahead to the important citywide elections this Fall, this platform represents the needs and vision of working class and low-income communities of color around NYC and gives a concrete set of demands for how they can be achieved. Despite the development priorities and track record of our billionaire Mayor, working class and low-income people around the City will continue to organize and fight to ensure our survival in the future of NYC.

DOWNLOAD THE RTTC PLATFORM


More about the Platform:

The Right to the City-New York City policy platform is a result of an in-depth, collaborative, and participatory process. The alliance created this document to articulate the principles and document the policy concerns most important to low-income communities of color. This platform will be shared with elected officials as the 2009 citywide elections approach, to ensure that the needs of low-income people in New York City will be met.

This platform has six sections, including: Federal Stimulus Funds; Community Decision-Making Power; Low-Income Housing; Environmental Justice & Public Health; Jobs & Workforce Development and Public Space. Right to the City emerged in 2007 to halt the displacement of low-income people, LGBTQ, and youth of color from the neighborhoods they have been living in for years.

We are a national alliance of racial, economic and environmental justice organizations. RTTC-NYC is a local chapter, made up of 16 grassroots organizations as well as policy groups, academics and other allied individuals. Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project sits on RTTC-NYC coordinating committee and serves as a coordinator for the local alliance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

MOM wants YOU!

video
Environmental Justice Committee leader Tanya Fields breaks
down why your support is so important.

This year Tanya initiated the Holistic Hood project, which has been providing holistic health info and yoga classes to women in the neighborhood. Check out more of Tanya's work at Blk Grl.

Details on the Fish Fry & Flea Market are below. Don't Sleep!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fish Fry & Flea Market Sat 7/25 & 8/1

The MOM Grassroots Fundraising Committee presents a...



Fish Fry & Flea Market!!

Repeal your hunger like Mayor Bloomberg & term limits - come experience Ms. Jesse's Famous Fried Fish!

When: Saturday, July 25 - 2-8pm
Saturday, Aug 1 - 2-8pm


Where: MOM Office
928 Intervale Ave, BX
Train: 2/5 to Intervale, 6 to Longwood


Not only will you
find the hottest, recession-proof deals on the block, but you’ll be supporting MOM's ongoing work for fair & just housing, a healthy planet, and youth power.

DONATIONS GLADLY ACCEPTED - if you have gently used/clean or new items to donate for the Flea Market, please call Ms. Cerita Parker at 914.843.6455 or email mark@mothersonthemove.org

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Housing Committee Victory!

¡Si Se Puede! Yes We Can!

(AND WE DID)


After enduring many years of poor service and disrespect at the hands of their manager, local NYCHA public housing residents are claiming victory this week after an 8 month campaign to improve management at ER Moore, St. Mary's Park and Bronxchester Houses.


"Wake Up Call" rally to spread the word about the campaign

The campaign was launched in early Summer of 2008, after repeated requests for a meeting with Ms. Larrier to discuss sanitation and elevator issues went unanswered. In response - due to an overwhelming sense of frustration by residents - MOM Housing Committee leaders focused attention on building broad support for a campaign to have her replaced.

Campaign Highlights

1) RESIDENT PARTICIPATION & UNITY
This victory would not have happened without the high level of unity and collaboration between residents from the three NYCHA developments. MOM resident leaders, Tenant Association leaders at ER Moore Houses, and the South Bronx President of NYCHA Tenant Associations (Ms. Joane Smitherman) all worked to pressure NYCHA from different angles to see that the demands of residents were met. Over the course of the campaign, hundreds of residents stood up and let their voices be heard demanding the removal of their manager, Ms. Larrier, because of her lack of respect and accountability to the residents.


November 2008 MOM Housing Committee General Meeting
85 residents in attendance

2) HOLDING OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE
The importance of leveraging support from local elected politicians was vital in getting NYCHA to the table to do the right thing. MOM leaders found support from the office of Congressman Jose Serrano, which helped to set up a meeting between MOM Housing Committee leaders and NYCHA officials in December. In addition, at MOM's November 2008 Organizational Meeting with NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, leaders presented a variety concerns, including the demands of our campaign for better management. At the same time, Tenant Association leaders at ER Moore Houses also worked with NYCHA Board Member Margarita López to air out their concerns.

The power of local residents working together to hold a variety of decision-makers (elected officials and NYCHA officials) accountable let to NYCHA making this long-overdue change.

MOM Core Committee Leaders Maria Quinones, (Bronxchester Houses), Jipsy Vargas, (Bronxchester), Niecy Selby (St. Mary's), Lou Torres (TA President, ER Moore Houses), Geraldine Smith (ER Moore)


Meeting with Carlos Carino, Bronx liason to the NYC Council

3) DOING OUR RESEARCH, USING THE MEDIA STRATEGICALLY

Throughout the campaign, local public housing residents stepped up to the responsibility of leadership and used the media to spread our message about the campaign to the larger community. Through trainings and lots of practice, Housing Justice Committee members crafted strategic messages which brought attention to the campaign and its central demands: remove Ms. Larrier and replace her with a more accessible, culturally sensitive manager who will respect the needs of residents.


On point with our Message: Residents Deserve Respectful Management!

At the same time, the Housing Justice Committee worked with our ally, the Urban Justice Center, to survey the experiences of local residents with their manager and to give her a "Report Card" on her performance, which leaders then presented to NYCHA at its Annual Public Hearing.


MOM Leader Mikkee Watson provides testimony and gives NYCHA
a "Report Card" at the Annual NYCHA Public Hearing, Fall 2008


Click HERE to see the full report on the results of our survey "Improving the Quality of Life in South Bronx Public Housing: A Study of Bronxchester, ER Moore and St. Mary's Park NYCHA Developments."


GETTING RESULTS
In early February Ms. Larrier was replaced with a new manager, Mr. Barry Levine. MOM Housing Justice Committee members will be working with Mr.Levine to establish a relationship to prevent the kind of miscommunication and neglect which residents experienced with the previous manager.

We will keep you updated on any new developments in this campaign... With our first local housing victory it is time to CELEBRATE the power of public housing residents!!! When NYCHA residents join together in unity and take leadership to make change, there is truly no limit to the changes that will can come>>>>

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Another Step Toward Clean Air

Today saw a historic development in MOM's multi-year Clean Air Campaign for South Bronx residents: a lawsuit filed by NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo against the NY Organic Fertilizer Company (NYOFCO). This is an unprecedented level of support by a top-level State official, and an affirmation of the fierce leadership, vision and commitment of MOM Environmental Justice Committee members.

The increased exposure brought by the Attorney General's action adds strength to an already heavyweight litigation process. Last July, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit
on behalf of MOM against the City of New York, the Department of Environmental Protection, Synagro Technologies (which operates NYOFCO) and its owner, the Carlyle Group.

In its announcement today, the Office of the Attorney General cites the work of MOM and our ally organizations in this fight, Sustainable South Bronx and The Point CDC. MOM leader Cerita Parker is quoted, saying:


By treating South Bronx as its own private dumping ground, NYOFCo has denied our community the basic satisfaction of enjoying a walk in a park, a Sunday backyard barbeque, or even a summer's breeze from an open window. By putting the weight of his office behind our cause, Attorney General Cuomo brings us support and the hope that we can finally put an end to this odor problem and restore our quality of life.

Go here for the full text of today's announcement.

For more information on the campaign or to get involved in this exciting work, please contact EJ Organizer Thomas Assefa - thomas@mothersonthemove.org



The REAL "Future of NYC"

This Tuesday, MOM took part in an exciting action with our allies from Right To The City NYC to call on Mayor Bloomberg to include low-income & working class folks, immigrants, LGBTQ youth and communities of color in decision-making plans for New York's future.

Over 100 community members from RTTC-NYC member groups participated in the demonstration at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, interrupting Bloomberg's $250-a-plate luncheon at the "Future of the City" conference attended by CEOs and the City's wealthy elite. The Mayor was caught completely off guard and had to stop his speech while we chanted and delivered a letter demanding that he meet with us.



The action was extremely successful in bringing visibility to Right To The City's collective efforts to demand decision-making power for communities most impacted by gentrification, displacement and criminalization. It also showcased an increased level of interdependence and daring by RTTC-NYC groups. 8 RTTC-NYC members were arrested after the action and spent the night in jail, but the show of support and solidarity during an almost all-night vigil highlighted the kinds of trusting collaborations required to fight for the changes that our communities so desperately need.


The "RTTC 8" were charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and have a court date on March 13 (stay tuned for more information!).

Media Coverage of Feb 3 RTTC-NYC Action

http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/93332/demonstration-interrupts-mayor-s-economic-speech/Default.aspx
http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/02/03/disrupting-bloomberg/
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Protesters-Interrupt-Mayor-Blombergs-Speech.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdMxWmSWo1E&eurl=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oT6d5hJ2GKI
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--bloomberg-protest0203feb03,0,1062526.story
http://www.gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/2009/02/03/group-interrupts-mayors-address/
http://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/122827



Footage of RTTC-NYC Press Conference: HERE


RTTC-NYC Press Release

Right to the City – New York
http://www.righttothecity.org/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Coalition of Grassroots Groups Who Attended “Future of NY” Conference Denounce Arrest of 8 After Peaceful Protest, Rally Outside Manhattan Jail to Call on Bloomberg to Drop Charges Against Protesters

Right to the City New York Activists Say: Democracy is Not Disorderly Conduct, Continue to Call on Mayor Bloomberg to Meet with Low-Income, Immigrant New Yorkers

New York, NY—Today, Right to the City-New York held a rally and press conference in front of Manhattan’s Central Booking to denounce the NYPD’s arrest of 8 Right to the City-NY (RTTC-NY) organizers after RTTC-NY’s peaceful protest at the “The Future of New York City” conference, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Six of those who were arrested remained after everyone else had left the hotel, under the impression that they would be allowed to speak with a representative from the conference. Instead, they were detained by the NYPD and arrested shortly thereafter. The remaining two, upon learning six organizers had been detained, went back inside the hotel to negotiate for their release, but instead they themselves also were detained and arrested. Ironically, Mayor Bloomberg, after the protesters left the Hyatt ballroom, told the crowd, “I think actually they were right! In most other countries, they throw 'em in the slammer. This is a democracy.”

“According to Mayor Bloomberg, democracy means letting developers and financiers holed up in fancy ballrooms make decisions that impact all of us while locking out low-income people,” said Picture the Homeless member Brandon King. “Democracy apparently means changing the rules so he can run for a third term, ignoring the wishes of most of New York City. Doesn’t look like democracy to me.”

Said FIERCE organizer Glo Ross, “Dissent and non-violent protest are part of any healthy democratic society – we were just exercising our rights yesterday, and yet eight of us were still arrested in retaliation. Start practicing what you preach, Mayor Bloomberg – drop the charges and let the eight go free.”

At 1 p.m. yesterday as Mayor Bloomberg delivered the keynote address to business executives gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for a conference on “The Future of New York City,” a group of 100 New Yorkers who are part of the grassroots coalition Right to the City-NY entered the conference to demand the Mayor hear the concerns of low-income residents of the city.

Chanting “this is what democracy looks like,” the group attempted to deliver a letter to the Mayor in which they noted the absence of working-class and immigrant New Yorkers at the conference and called for a meeting on the concerns of low-income New Yorkers. After being removed from the conference room, the advocates gathered outside of the Grand Hyatt to voice their priorities and concerns about the future of New York.

Contrary to Mayor Bloomberg’s claims, many of the groups who are part of RTTC-NY have attempted several times over the years to meet with Mayor Bloomberg, but requests have gone unanswered.

The groups who participated in yesterday’s action include: CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, Community Voices Heard, FIERCE, FUREE, Make the Road New York, Mothers on the Move, the New York City AIDS Housing Network and Voices of Community Advocates and Leaders (VOCAL), Picture the Homeless, Red Hook Initiative, and the Urban Justice Center.

About Right to the City-New York:
RTTC-NY is an alliance made up of and led by grassroots organizations working in low-income, immigrant, and other communities of color throughout NYC to achieve community-led social change. For more information, please visit http://www.righttothecity.org/.