February 2019 Event Highlights

Tuesday, February 5: New Sanctuary Coalition Pro Se Clinic

New Sanctuary Coalition runs a weekly clinic staffed by non-attorney volunteers and supervised by experienced immigrants rights organizers and immigration lawyers. The clinic helps people identify ways to get relief from deportation and detention; access other immigration-related benefits; understand their rights so they can fight their own case; apply for asylum; prepare for court appearances or interviews; and much more. They’re seeing tremendous growth in the number of immigrants seeking help and are looking for new volunteers—no previous or legal experience is necessary. This clinic is held every Tuesday.

Thursday, February 7: Chapter Meeting: Stopping Gentrification: What You Need to Know About NY Rent Laws

SURJ-NYC’s February chapter meeting focused on learning how to fight gentrification in NYC. New York State rent laws expire this year, creating an opportunity to win stronger renter protections for all of us. In our city, landlords exploit loopholes in rent laws (and poor enforcement of laws) to push out tenants of color and low-income tenants so they can raise rents and profit off of gentrification. Mid- and high-income tenants are sometimes unwitting accomplices in this process—but don’t have to be! Folks learned about the rights and responsibilities we have under current New York State rent laws and how we can support a campaign to improve rent laws in Albany this spring.

Sunday, February 10: #FREEnewyork Workshop on Bail & Discovery Reform

New York is on the verge of addressing its jail crisis, with Governor Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers speaking out in favor of bail and discovery reforms this year. However, this momentum makes it essential that we put pressure on them to do things right, and in order to do that we need to have a clear understanding of what we want bail and discovery reforms to accomplish. Members of SURJ-NYC and the Village Zendo co-facilitated a workshop to help our communities understand the issues of bail and discovery, and how the two work together to fill jails across the state with primarily low-income black and brown people. It was an afternoon of political education (and snacks!), and folks left with the tools needed to join the fight to #FREEnewyork in 2019.

Monday, February 18: Canvass for Universal Rent Control With The Metropolitan Council On Housing

Folks joined the Metropolitan Council on Housing to canvass for Statewide Universal Rent Control, which calls for an end to vacancy decontrol, makes preferential rents last for the duration of the tenancy, and the elimination of the 20% vacancy bonus, as well as permanent rent hikes caused by MCIs (major capital improvements) and IAIs (individual apartment increases).

February 14-15: Project Reach’s City-Wide Intensive Anti-Discrimination Clinic

This 12-hour, city-wide, Anti-Discrimination Training brought together a diverse community of 30-40 educators, service providers, social workers, administrators and parents/guardians from schools and community-based organizations in all five boroughs. Speaker Corey Johnson, the New York City Council, and Project Reach seek to establish community and school-based Intergenerational Anti-Discrimination Teams of young people and adults trained to address bullying, implicit bias and discrimination in their communities. All adults who work with young people and are committed to ending discrimination and fighting for social justice were encouraged to attend.