Updated on June 3, 2020
In addition to the public health crisis of COVID-19, we are now entering a massive economic crisis. There are currently millions of unemployed people who are concerned about their rent. The government has signed off on a law that will send $1200 to "documented" workers that paid taxes in 2018. This is a one-time check and, at most, will delay the economic suffering for just a month - for only some people. It is clear that as this pandemic and economic crisis escalate, it will be on the backs of poor and working-class people - on our backs. We understand that HOUSING, FOOD, AND SAFETY ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. And with that, we wanted to share some housing Know Your Rights, tenant organizing tips, and demands to our community. It won't solve all that we are facing, but it can provide clarity on some of the rights that we actually do have, especially during this time.
February was a month of ritual, poetry, healing, and resistance at ALP. During this month, we celebrated the birthday of our namesake, Audre Lorde. We also participated in the Day Against Hate along with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the NYC Anti-Violence Project, and other allies from our NYC Against Hate Coalition. We’re also using this Restoration Period to evolve how we bring campaign work into our digital spaces, beginning with our Brick by Brick Campaign. This time is teaching us, both as a staff and an organization, about what it looks like to shift the culture of our workplace and political home, while preparing it for an entirely new way of operating. We want to see leadership moving in many directions and for folks to feel a symbiosis with each other as we work for a common purpose.
As new cases of Coronavirus/COVID-19 continue to rise in NYC, ALP is thinking of our community members living with chronic health concerns and compromised immune systems; those who don’t have access to the care they need; those in cages; and those subjected to racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination.
Currently, ALP's office is temporarily closed for repairs to make it safer for all entering our space. As a precaution against COVID-19, our office will remain closed until further notice. To support our staff's capacity for community and self-care in this time of crisis, for the next two weeks, ALP operations are temporarily suspended. We are exploring the best course to hold future programming, workshops, and potentially, digital forums based on our community's needs. For now, we await further instruction from health officials.
While there is a call for more social distancing, we know that far too often many in our community already live in isolation. During this time, we want to remind everyone to continue practicing community care — check in with each other often, create pods to provide mutual support, and organize resources to share with one another. Our hope is that in the face of physical distancing, we can find an abundance of ways to stay connected to each other; that humanity and dignity continue to be uplifted in our people.
This month, we say goodbye to our former home, the historic Miss Major-Jay Toole Building which housed generations of organizers and held grassroots groups focusing on manifesting social change for our communities. Each year, fewer of us have been able to sustain there because of the escalating cost of rent and shifts in economics that impact our ability to thrive. Building strength through collaboration and ritual and honoring each other’s work is how we have been building resilience during this part of the Restoration Period.
After a challenging year, ALP has found its equilibrium. Displacement because of gentrification is a personal subject for everyone in this organization. It is an extension of colonial practices that have been traumatizing and killing our ancestors for generations. So our challenge is not a new challenge, and in fact, it strengthens our resolve to put our hearts into the work of building our communities in resistance to this force that harms our lives.
We are returning to our Brooklyn home, a sacred space that has held many generations of struggle in the work toward liberation. As we return, we are taking care to restore the space and create safety and comfort for each other in how we want to re-inhabit our own history together, in a new formation.
We are proud of all of our community members, and curious new attendees, who participated in our moving parties and created so much joy with us in a time period that was inevitably stressful. Community made it work. And the organizing of all those hands at work is something our dedicated staff was responsible for. We moved mountains. We put the movement in moving! We got it done!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Janhavi Pakrashi, Communications Coordinator
As the year comes to a close, we have much to reflect on at The Audre Lorde Project. It has been a formative year that is culminating in one of our busiest seasons ever. We attended our allies’ Trans Day of Remembrance events, held a Pod Mapping workshop to assist members with winter wellness planning, raised funds on Giving Tuesday, and held our annual staff, board, and member visioning retreat in preparation for the year ahead.
While we took a break from coordinating our annual Trans Day of Remembrance event in the West Village this November, ALP participated with ally organizations who were creating spaces to honor and remember those we have lost. Members and staff from ALP supported The Osborne Association, TransLatinx, and NYTAG at their TDOR offerings. Awareness of the constant violence inflicted on marginalized bodies is something ALP is attentive to every day — it is woven into the fabric of our work for safety and wellness for our people. We dream of a time when the growing list of our fallen family ends, when liberation and justice are omnipresent, and when our most vulnerable community members no longer face violence.
The holidays are approaching, and the season of gathering and generosity is upon us. This can be a conflicted time for many folks in our communities, who struggle with family or rely deeply on chosen family for day-to-day survival. One of our greatest powers as community is to gather folks to commit to caring for one another in times of abundance and in times of need. We encourage folks to reach out to us about gatherings and community activities during this time.
It’s us. Your awkward, but bordering on endearing, leaders of The Audre Lorde Project! After many community conversations, strategic planning sessions, and intentional collective decision-making processes, we, Cleopatra [Jach] & Maxwell, are excited to announce that we will officially be moving forward as ALP’s executive leadership!
So first things first, let’s address something. The last year and a half has been ROUGH COOKIES. We have moved through hard staff transitions and silenced narratives of our struggles. But, we have been able to ground in abundance and have found so much stability and consistency in how our membership shows up when we are at less than best. We are so grateful for the patience, investment, and belief that our staff, membership, and stakeholders have generously given us. It’s more important to us now than ever that our community members know their voice is valued and we will be working to make sure that is known interpersonally as well as institutionally.
In this moment of transition, we want to practice radical candor; we thought the best way to introduce ourselves would be to use a facilitator’s best friend, RANDOM CHECK-IN QUESTIONS THAT PEOPLE GO WAY TOO DEEP IN.
Bump into Cleopatra or I at a training, convening, or party and we'll regale you with tales from previous jobs at Pier 1, selling bootleg CDs (shhhh, don't tell the feds), being a paralegal, or getting fired after one day because I was the worst after-school program outreach person ever, and how those skills got us here.
Fortunately, this post is focused on how decisions are made at ALP and the models for democratic voting that we're trying to build.