Martin Luther King Jr. Day Protest

No to Racism! Fight for Equal Protection!

On January 16th the Citywide Alliance Against Displacement is holding a rally at City Hall to reclaim Martin Luther King Jr. Day for genuine anti-racist work in our communities. Martin Luther King Jr. fought against the injustice of racism and poverty all over this country, and stated that “the inseparable twin of racial injustice was economic injustice”. We are reclaiming this day as a day to commemorate the history of civil rights and the fight against racism and displacement. We see the need to fight the same patterns of racism and economic injustice in our city today and for real social transformation for the people, by the people.

Right now, our city is facing a crisis of displacement as ever-increasing numbers of people are being forced out of their homes and communities and the homeless population reaches record highs. Through pro-developer zoning policies, Mayor de Blasio has encouraged luxury developments in communities of color like Harlem, Williamsburg, the Lower East Side and Chinatown, causing high rents and real estate tax increases in these neighborhoods. As a result, tenants face evictions, small businesses are closed, jobs are lost, and the culture and uniqueness of each of these communities is completely erased.

Mayor de Blasio, the so-called “progressive” mayor who vowed to end “the tale of two cities,” nevertheless helps perpetuate the City’s legacy of racism and displacement. On the one hand, he refuses to pass community-led rezoning plans like the Chinatown Working Group rezoning plan that will protect the whole community of Chinatown and the Lower East Side; on the other hand, he imposes his developer-friendly rezoning proposals in neighborhoods like East Harlem, the South Bronx, East New York, Inwood and Flushing, despite overwhelming opposition to the Mayor’s plan (over 90% of the city’s Community Boards voted against it). But the Mayor continues to push forward racist rezonings claiming he is advancing integration. But how is it “integration” when in fact, rich people move in, while working families and people of color are forced to move out?

Additionally, Mayor de Blasio is under investigation for his ties to the real estate industry and “pay to play” accusations. As numerous front-page stories have shown, the Mayor has hired real estate company staffers to formulate his housing policy, and given enormous power to people with close ties to developers and Wall Street firms. Therefore, it is not surprising that his housing plan reads like the real estate lobby’s wish list. The investigations of the de Blasio administration has revealed a dangerous disregard for our communities and preference for developers who would displace us all.

Despite the clear record of racism and corruption, Mayor de Blasio has recently been trying to mend his tattered image by claiming he will protect immigrants and people of color from Donald Trump’s presidency. Whereas Donald Trump’s presidential campaign revealed his openly racist and deeply oppressive beliefs toward many groups of people, Mayor de Blasio is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Just how does Mayor de Blasio intends to protect communities of color and immigrants when he is destroying the very foundation of these communities through his racist rezoning policy? Displacement destroys the very fabric of our communities: the place where we live, work, go to school, become friends with our neighbors, own small businesses, disagree with each other, share histories with each other and grow and build a community together with its own unique culture and people. It is clear that, rather than genuinely fighting racism, Mayor de Blasio is actually promoting racism while exploiting the Trump victory for his own political aspirations.

The Citywide Alliance Against displacement feels an urgent need to reclaim Martin Luther King Jr. from politicians like Mayor de Blasio and those elected officials who stand along with him to push for displacement; they turn around and seek to use celebrations on this day as a fig leaf for their own racist policies. The legacy of Civil Rights should be one of ordinary people standing against injustice and racism, but the hypocritical stance of politicians and their puppets on this day has corrupted that legacy. Would Martin Luther King Jr. support so-called “progressive” politicians who are perpetuating racism and displacing communities of color? No. He would stand with people fighting against those policies. We are calling on people around the city to join us in reclaiming MLK day. We will work together to form an alliance of people around the five boroughs who have a vision for justice and equality for New York City. We want an end to racism and displacement, and it is up to us to do it.

Join us to demand:

  1. End racism in city planning. Pass community-based “People First” plans like the Chinatown Working Group rezoning plan.
  2. End public funding for luxury development, such as 421-a. Instead, use public resources to preserve and build more permanent low-income housing.
  3. Stop privatization of public land and assets.
  4. Mayor de Blasio and those in City Council who also collude with developers to step down.

Rally at City Hall

No More Displacement! We Want Equal Protection!

Wednesday December 7th @ 3:30pm

City Hall (Broadway side)

The Chinatown Working Group(CWG) Rezoning Plan has gained wide support in the LES and Chinatown community and beyond. If passed, the plan will put height limits on new developments. It will stop luxury waterfront skyscrapers, like Extell and JDS. It will prevent the sale of public housing and require any housing on NYCHA land to be 100% low-income. It will protect residents and small businesses against displacement.

Mayor de Blasio has been colluding with big developers to slice up the plan. The city was proposing to rezone a part of Chinatown and exclude the Lower East Side, leaving the majority Latino and African American residents in NYCHA and waterfront buildings unprotected. Mayor de Blasio is pitting Chinese against Latinos and African Americans, helping the developers to displace us all!

Our community–Chinese, Latino and African American–held a large demonstration at City Hall in October against discriminatory zoning policies. The protest successfully pushed the City to scrap their Chinatown-only plan. This is a great example of people power! Now we need to make sure that the City pass the full CWG Rezoning Plan immediately, and we will keep coming back to City Hall each month until they do!

In the wake of the national election, Mayor de Blasio is trying to repair his tattered image as a Mayor for the 1%, vowing to protect the people of color being targeted by Donald Trump. But the Mayor himself has been targeting low-income, people of color communities across the City such as East Harlem, Inwood/Washington Heights, East New York and the South Bronx for luxury development. These communities are also rising up against displacement and joining us. We cannot stand by a mayor who claims to be for the people yet pushes racist policies in our community.

Join us at City Hall and demand:

Mayor de Blasio step down NOW!

Contact us to get involved and helped spread the word!
peoplefirstnyc@gmail.com
(212) 358-0295
c/o NMASS
345 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002

Fight Against Displacement, High Rents, and Racism!

Rally @ City Hall, Broadway Side
Wed., Oct. 26 @ 3:30pm

We, the people from the Lower East Side and Chinatown, are fighting against displacement and to pass the Chinatown Working Group rezoning to protect our community. Our voices can no longer be ignored. More and more elected officials and candidates support our demands.But Mayor de Blasio is colluding with sellout City Council Member Margaret Chin, continuing to ignore the people’s efforts to bring a “People First” rezoning change. They intend to dismantle our rezoning plan, dividing the community to create conflict among Chinese, Latino, and African American people who live and work in the community. Now, they say only the Chinatown area of the rezoning plan should go first, while the majority Latino and African American Lower East Side should go later, denying us equal protection.

At the same time, the City is dragging out the process of passing our full rezoning plan so that developers like Extell and JDS are able to build high-rise luxury towers and destroy our community. The de Blasio Administration is colluding with developers, as brought to light by recent federal investigation, while the community’s needs for affordable housing are being ignored. We demand:

1. End racism in city planning. Pass community-based “People First” plans like the Chinatown Working Group rezoning plan.
2. End public funding for luxury development, such as 421-a. Instead, use public resources to preserve and build more permanent low-income housing.
3. Stop privatization of public land and assets.
4. Mayor de Blasio and those City elected officials who also collude with developers should step down.

Press Coverage of the Protest @ Community Board 3

Hundreds of tenants, workers and small businesses joined the demonstration organized by the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side in front of the Community Board 3 meeting, to protest Councilwoman Margaret Chin dividing the community by putting forward only one part of the community rezoning plan while leaving others without protection against luxury development.

Check out some of the press coverage below:

Chinatown Groups Still Hope City Will Take Up Their Rezoning Plan – City Limits

Protestan en contra de la rezonificación en East Village – El Diario De Mexico

 

Dear New York City Dept. of City Planning:

Open Statement to NYC Department of City Planning

We are outraged and appalled that our elected and appointed officials are railroading through a plan to split up the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) Rezoning Plan for Chinatown and its Surrounding Areas.

As you know, CWG was created by the city nearly 8 years ago due to the public outcry and dissent against the discriminatory East Village rezoning that left vast areas of the Lower East Side and Chinatown vulnerable to luxury development and displacement. For years, representatives for Council Member Margaret Chin, members of CB3 and specifically CB3’s Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee took part in this city-sponsored vehicle, CWG, to create a 197c rezoning plan with extensive community input and engagement. Throughout this time, the community–Chinese, Latino, African American and Caucasian constituents–have voiced their needs and concerns, and worked together with Community Boards 1, 2 and 3 to reach a comprehensive, inclusive rezoning plan. This plan has been reviewed, voted on and approved by the members of CWG, as well as CB3.

Now, after years of hard work and input by tens of thousands of community members, DCP is dismissing CWG as nothing but advisory. Worst of all, this carving up of our community is continuing a legacy of discrimination and racist exclusion of the Lower East Side, pitting people of color against each other to fight for crumbs. We cannot wait another 8 years, even another 2 years for the city to implement this rezoning plan.

The CB3 committee meeting on Thursday, September 29th in which DCP is presenting a plan for Chinatown is a shameful display of phony democracy. The decision has already been made by the City to split up the full CWG rezoning plan and move forward with a small part of Chinatown. It is shameful of the City to try and buy off a few Chinese while leaving the African American and Latino community and even parts of the Chinese community at the mercy of rampant luxury development. We reject this sham of a democracy. The people of this community have voiced their needs time and again for equal protection. While the CWG rezoning plan has gone through many compromises, we will NOT compromise to be unequal.

We demand DCP and city elected officials immediately move forward with the full CWG rezoning plan, as it was approved by CWG.

The Coalition to Protect Chinatown & the Lower East Side