Our Collective Vision
Our Bronx People’s Platform is the result of Bronx residents building power together for years—across neighborhoods; across generations; across lines of race, gender, class, ethnicity, immigration status, and faith. Over the course of a year, thousands of Bronxites engaged in a participatory process to develop the Bronx People’s Platform because we were clear that we needed to craft a collective vision for the Bronx that would unite our organizing efforts across the entire borough. No more will we be organizing in our silos pushing back against bad policies, bad development, and bad actors. Instead, we stand united with one vision for an equitable, sustainable, and just Bronx for our communities and families.
With this platform, we are say loud and clear that this is the beginning of a new day for the Bronx, where our agenda and our plans set the path forward. Our collective process of building solidarity and creating a shared platform serve as the foundation for the development of a cross institutional leadership council and a Bronx-wide Plan. We will use the tenets of our platform and our shared set of values and principles to shape the narrative of our community, hold current and future elected officials accountable, and realize our vision through directed policy and investment in our borough.
OUR CURRENT CONTEXT
The COVID pandemic has hit the Bronx hard and continues to take a toll on us. Even after a vaccine is released, the impact of social and economic stress and trauma will not be easy to recover from without major changes in what and who we invest in and prioritize.
Decades of our lived experiences, organizing, and research tell us why: structural racism and inequality are critical health hazards for the Bronx. Even as resources have been made available locally and nationally, Bronx residents, including Black and Brown business owners, have been largely shut out of accessing these funds. Residential and commercial tenants continue to fight for rent cancellation as we edge closer and closer to an eviction and homelessness crisis. And the essential workers, who disproportionately come from our communities, continue to risk their health and safety to provide New Yorkers critical services.
As New York City negotiates what a just recovery looks like, we are clear that our strategies should not be focused on going back to normal. The “normal” that existed before the pandemic did not work for most of us. The future of the Bronx, and our whole city, must follow a different path.
We are also tired of narratives that portray us and the Bronx as people and places only of poverty, desperation, and hardship. Yes, we are struggling. We’ve been struggling. But we are not defined only by our hardship. We are a multilingual, multicultural community with bustling commercial districts, creative energy, community institutions, and neighbors who support each other.
WHY DO WE NEED A PEOPLE’S VISION FOR THE BRONX?
The Bronx already has much of what it needs to transform its local economy and become a thriving, healthy borough. However, Bronxites currently do not have enough meaningful ownership or control over our futures. To ensure existing residents who fought for the Bronx can continue to call it home for generations to come, over the next year, a coalition of Bronx organizations will engage residents and local stakeholders in the creation of a Bronx-wide Platform and Plan to establish a community-driven, comprehensive vision for economic development rooted in advancing racial justice and economic democracy.
In order to address root causes, combat generational systems failures, and meaningfully respond to the urgent pressures that are threatening the Bronx’s status as the last affordable borough for low-income and working-class people in New York City, the Bronx requires a vision and plan for equitable economic development that is ambitious, coordinated, and long-term.
WIDE COALITION EVENTS
BRONX-WIDE PLATFORM AND PLAN
This Bronx-wide agenda builds on the collective efforts of the Bronx-wide Coalition, made up of local residents and twenty-four organizations who co-created the Bronx-wide People’s Platform for Congress 2020, which articulates systemic policy solutions at the federal level. Our process of building solidarity and creating a shared platform serves as the foundation for this next phase. In January 2021, our Bronx-wide Coalition unveiled the Bronx People’s Platform for NYC. We have formally kicked off a civic engagement program, and this spring, will launch a planning process to co-create an economic development plan for the borough rooted in building shared wealth and ownership over the assets and resources in our communities, and the capacity to govern and steward them democratically for a shared purpose.
WHAT IS POSSIBLE?
Over the long term, our aim is to build a regional and democratic economy that centers racial justice and economic democracy, supports freedom and self-determination, and prioritizes dignity and wellbeing for all. For us, fighting forward looks like a Bronx economy that:
Provides all workers with a dignified wage;
Gives us the power to own, organize, and make decisions in our workplaces;
Ensures that we are healing, not harming the environment;
Invests in the people and guarantees quality, affordable healthcare, education, and housing as human rights;
Invests in community-owned and controlled land that provides permanently affordable and cooperatively-owned housing, commercial and community space, green space;
Fosters people-centered governance, which gives communities the opportunity to practice self-determination by working in deep partnership with public officials to make decisions about the policies and planning processes that impact our lives.
Check out Katherine Mella and Roberta Todd talk about our work on Bronx Net with host Sonyi Lopez!
BRONX-WIDE PLATFORM AND PLAN