"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Families United for Racial and Economic Equality

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Website: www.furee.org

Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) is a Brooklyn-based multi-racial organization made up almost exclusively of women of color. We organize low-income families to build power to change the system so that all people's work is valued and all of us have the right and economic means to decide and live out our own destinies.

We use direct action, leadership development, community organizing, civic engagement and political education to win the changes our members seek. Our guiding principle is that those directly affected by the policies we are seeking to change should lead the organization.

The Downtown Brooklyn Accountable Development Campaign started in response to market-led development prompted by the city's Downtown Brooklyn Rezoning Plan of 2004. Since then, FUREE has engaged over 3,000 local area residents, allies to work towards addressing the negative impacts of market-led development that effectively displaced many low-income and working class families and small businesses while limiting access to basic support services our families need to break the cycle of poverty.

This member-led campaign has won two court battles against eminent domain including working with community groups to prevent the demolition of Underground Rail Road Stations on Duffield Street; the second, forcing the City of New York to provide relocation assistance to families evicted through eminent domain on Albee Square West.

Currently, and in response to the economic recession, this campaign focuses on winning changes in three main areas to ensure a sustainable local economy and protect low income and working families of color from being pushed out the community they helped build: affordable housing, sustainable jobs and access to healthy, affordable food.

Affordable Housing Goals:

- Preserve the current stock of affordable and low income housing in Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn.

- Increase affordable housing development and conversion of underutilized condominium units in Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn.

- Ensure the relocation of displaced residents of Albee Square West into city owned or managed affordable housing
Identify public policy work to redefine affordable housing parameters in publicly subsidized developments.

- Hold developers, elected officials and city agencies accountable to inclusive community development.

- Use this work to inform regional and national organizing affordable housing preservation efforts.

Food Justice Goals:

- Increase access to healthy, affordable food and sustainable jobs for low income residents of Fort Greene.

- Force John Catsimatidis of the Red Apple Group to build healthy, affordable supermarket that provides local jobs for public housing residents.

- Mobilize area residents to create community-controlled alternatives to increase access to healthy, affordable foods and sustainable food systems.

- Work with community and labor partners to develop a food-grocers apprenticeship program using Section 3 funding; use this work and findings to inform other food-grocers apprenticeship programs that will open access to food/grocers’ careers.

- Work with the City to expand healthier options in bodegas in supermarket deserts in NYC.

Sustainable Jobs Goals:

- Increase employment placement, training and retention services to increase good job access opportunities in the affordable housing (construction, maintenance, management); retail (ownership, management, support services) and public housing sectors.

- Work with RWDSU to win the Living Wage NYC bill that calls for living wages and health benefits for workers employed in publicly subsidized developments/commercial buildings.

- Win increased placement of unemployed and underemployed public housing residents through Section 3 (a federally-mandated jobs training and placement program for publc housing residents) and ensure that placements also include career opportunities in emerging job sectors, including green jobs.

- Directly address the statewide revenue crisis to win increased job creation in New York State.

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