York-supported events examine mobilizing strategies for housing rights

A series of events supported by York University will take place over two days and will highlight the work of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, a people of colour-led grassroots organization that has successfully prevented the displacement of racialized people in East Harlem.

The organization has worked to strengthen supports for those (largely women and children) living in rent-controlled apartments.

Lesley Wood

Global and Community Engagement, in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS), initiated the project through Professor Lesley Wood. Wood has researched and written about the work of social movements.

This project brings Juan Haro, organizer from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, to Toronto to examine social movement in the context of a housing crisis in the GTA.

Over the past few years, the organization has travelled to different cities to present its resident-led mobilizing strategies and exchange ideas with local organizers on ensuring community-owned, community-led housing rights victories.

This September, the organization will be in Toronto and will present “Fighting Gentrification with the Movement for Justice in El Barrio (NYC)”, with three participatory, hands-on workshops. Each workshop aims to build ties between different community groups and the University.

The events are:

Sept. 27 – “The Politics of Listening: Fighting for Justice with Marginalized People, L@s de Abajo, to Transform the World” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Centre for Public Sociology, Ross N141, York University. The event is hosted by the Department of Sociology. Go online to RSVP.

  • Why is it important to take leadership from marginalized people – immigrants, indigenous peoples, people of color, women, LGBTQI folks, l@s de abajo – when organizing in our communities? Participants learn first-hand about the intersectional organizing of immigrant-, women- and POC-led Movement for Justice in El Barrio, named “Best Power To The People Movement In New York City” by the Village Voice.

Sept. 27 – “Fighting Gentrification with Grow Our Grassways and the Movement for Justice in El Barrio (NYC)” will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Driftwood Community Centre, Hosted by Grow Our Grassways. For more on this event, visit the Facebook event page.

  • This event will bring together York’s Community Engagement Office with the Jane Finch community organization, Grow Our Grassroots, and Movement for Justice in El Barrio for exchange and strategy work.

Sept. 28 – “Base-building for Social Justice Organizing: Getting Our Communities Involved in the Fight” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. This event is hosted by No One Is Illegal Toronto, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. It takes place at the Workers Action Centre, 720 Spadina Ave., Toronto. For details, and to RSVP, email Lesley Wood at ljwood@yorku.ca.

  • This workshop focuses on base-building and outreach to different sectors of the community to build your organization and the movement for social justice. Participants develop a toolbox of effective methods and messages to reach people in their communities and build the base of their organizations.

The events are supported by York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies’ (LA&PS) Global and Community Engagement Office, Office of the Vice-Provost and the Department of Sociology (LA&PS).