Looking for ways to get involved in your community?
Partner with us in bringing justice on the local level. Check out Jonathan Judge's blog post on Civic Engagement or Jen Fisher's post on ways we can take action after the 2016 election and consider attending a meeting of one of the following organizations.
Nyc city council
Find your local city councilman and sign up to receive his/her newsletters. They'll host community conversations around important initiatives in your neighborhoods and hold events that you can attend in support of the issues you care about. If you click on the "Take Action" section, you'll find a list of information on initiatives where the city council is asking for public input and support.
Community boards are local representative bodies. There are 59 community boards throughout the city, and each one consists of up to 50 unsalaried members, half of whom are nominated by their district's City Council members. Board members are selected and appointed by the Borough Presidents from among active, involved people of each community and must reside, work, or have some other significant interest in the community.
Anyone can attend a community board meeting! Board meetings occur once a month and are open to the public. At these meetings, members address items of concern to the community and hear from attendees. Boards regularly conduct additional public hearings - on the City's budget, land use matters, etc. - to give community members the opportunity to express their opinions and concerns.
The first best step is figuring out which community board district you live in, and then finding out about the next meeting.
NYPD Precinct Community Councils
If you're concerned about relations between community and police, there is absolutely no better forum to attend than your Precinct Community Council meeting.
Originally established in the 1940's, Precinct Community Councils are forums that provide ongoing, direct communication between the police and community. There are 86 councils citywide, including one in each precinct and each housing Police Service Area. Meetings are held once per month and open to the public and your attendance is encouraged.
NYC OEM Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
New York City Community Emergency Response Teams (NYC CERT) are groups of dedicated volunteers who help to prepare their neighbors and communities for different types of disasters. NYC CERT falls under the Community Outreach unit within New York City Emergency Management, the City's coordinating agency for organizations and agencies involved in emergency planning, education, and information dissemination.
This is an interesting new opportunity. For a long time, it's been accepted practice that City Council Members have as close to direct say over where city tax-levy funds are spent in their own districts. To that end, they are allocated a certain discretionary budget to allocate as they see fit. Starting in 2011, four New York City Council Members decided to partake in a growing initiative called Participatory Budgeting, where each would pledge part of these discretionary funds to be allocated according to the will of their constituents expressed through a series of meetings that lead to a formal plan and a vote.
If you're looking for something that offers a clearer path towards service, one of the newest resources for finding opportunities is NYC Service, a website that catalogs needs from organizations in your neighborhood to help connect you.
This may sound farfetched, but they don't say, "If you see something, say something" for nothing. At the most fundamental level, you can help improve the quality of life for you and your fellow New Yorkers by reporting potholes, sinkholes, smelly or clogged catch basins, broken street lights, and leaky hydrants, among many others. You can make a minor investment but a major difference by reporting problems when you see them.
You can also search public records quickly and easily for contact info here: http://www.courtsystem.org/.
Racism happens on many levels. It affects our faith communities. It isn’t good for any of us. We can work together with people who have similar experiences to heal the pain racism causes, prepare ourselves to do better in multi-racial spaces, and organize our power to get free of its cycles of violence that dehumanize us and our communities.
Find helpful resources to guide you in the work of undoing racism at every level. Learn to have more generous conversations and to stand for equal rights for all people in the context where you work or live. The Anti-Racist Alliance hosts meetings throughout the month for groups of people to come together (women of color, people of European Descent, Social Workers & Teachers, artists, etc.). These affinity groups offer the opportunity to gather with peers and grapple collectively and honestly with the challenges you encounter and to build strategies and support for overcoming those challenges in the effort of undoing racism in our communities.
organize with faith communities
Faith in New York works to build the Beloved City here in New York City by bringing together a multi-faith, multi-issue, multi-neighborhood base of members who ensure that New York City remains a place of sanctuary for all, regardless of race, class, age, or other identity They believe that when people of faith come together in teams to dream, discern, learn, and act together, prophetic change happens. You can get signed up to organize around specific issues (climate control, prison reform, housing rights, racial justice, etc.) and attend events to learn more to equip you in your fight for justice.
Trellis believes that building and sustaining a thriving neighborhood is a complex effort requiring the gifts and talents of many working together in order to serve the needs and desires of a local community. Their goal is to find and build relationships with local churches and non-profits doing good work and then connect to work, IN, WITH, AND FOR the communities they are serving. They've held forums for community policing, organized events to honor local heroes, and regularly partner with the Brooklyn Borough President's Office of Faith-Based & Clergy Initiatives to promote events for justice throughout the city. This fall and winter Forefront and Trellis are partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness of mental health issues in our communities.