Met Council, NYCC, and Neighborhoods First Fund Share Lessons for Fighting Displacement and Gentrification, City Limits Reports

Posted on May 7, 2018

The Lessons NYC Activists Have for Those Fighting Displacement the World Over

Originally Published in City Limits on May 4, 2018
Written by Daniel Bates

A key factor in achieving that, Ava Farkas from Met Council on Housing says, “was that the community was on the offense.”

“We weren’t reacting to the city’s plans, we were the ones who got the city to embark on the project of redevelopment.”

Farkas says that the coalition of groups she worked with thought a lot about who would monitor the agreements they won from elected officials after they were no longer personally involved.

“You have to have institutions that are longstanding community institutions to really be able to [make sure] the commitments that they make are carried out. It’s hard for individual community members to give that level of involvement for so many years consecutively so you need an institution that is going to constantly keep reorganizing people around the issue and keep agitating people to hold corporations accountable, and it’s very hard work.”

Celia Weaver, from New York Communities for Change, says that activists should be “following the money to understand who is profiting and why and what is the structure that’s allowing them to profit and who is enabling those groups to profit. That’s how you’re going to find the best strategy to fight gentrification.”

“I would define success as defining power for the groups which are most disadvantaged by what’s happening,” says Joan Byron from Neighborhoods First Fund. “Fundamentally it’s an imbalance of power that’s creating this situation and the three most effective ways to fight that are organizing, organizing and organizing.”

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