#HandsOffTheHomeless Protest of de Blasio’s NYPD

For months, we’ve been working with homeless folks living on 125th Street, who have been the target of increasingly aggressive policing by Mayor de Blasio’s NYPD. This is part of a huge citywide effort to push the homeless people out of public space, with the Daily News reporting that the NYPD has identified “80 sites” across the five boroughs where homeless people congregate, that they plan to break up.

But homeless people aren’t going to take this lying down. They’re fighting back. And yesterday, we helped the folks on 125th organize an incredible rally and press conference, complete with poems and songs and street theater.

Check out all of our photos right here!

Here is a full round-up of press coverage!

Amsterdam News: “Homeless People Protest Mayor de Blasio ‘Attack'”

“Picture the Homeless says 125th Street has been the epicenter for abusive policing, with aggressive 'sweeps' of homeless people occurring up to three times a day, and cops telling homeless people they’re acting under orders from the mayor.”

Al Jazeera America: “New York City Homeless Rally Against Closure of Urban Campsites”

“'Cops have always messed with us, but in the past month it’s gotten really bad,' said a homeless veteran named Sarge in a statement released Wednesday by Picture the Homeless.”

New York Post: “Homeless Launch Twitter War Against de Blasio”

“They may not have roofs, beds or running water — but that didn’t stop a group of angry homeless people from waging a high-tech hashtag war against Mayor Bill de Blasio. The vagrants launched their unlikely cyberattack Wednesday, as they protested the mayor’s homeless policies with signs urging people to 'Tweet @billdeblasio' using '#handsoffthehomeless.'” http://pix11.com/2015/09/09/nyc-homeless-gather-to-protest-police-harass...

PIX11: “NYC homeless gather to protest police harassment under Mayor de Blasio”

“Even as the NYPD cracks down on homeless encampments, Mayor Bill de Blasio has described them as an example of 'disorder.'”

“New York City Homeless Rally Against Closure of Urban Campsites”

“'Cops have always messed with us, but in the past month it’s gotten really bad,' said a homeless veteran named Sarge in a statement released Wednesday by Picture the Homeless.”

New York Observer: “Indigent Advocates to de Blasio: ‘Hands Off The Homeless'”

"Chanting 'hands off the homeless' in the frequent gathering spot for indigent individuals, the demonstrators alleged Mr. de Blasio has allowed and even encouraged the NYPD to badger and intimidate people living on the street. Several said the treatment has gotten worse in recent weeks, after Mr. de Blasio has vowed to clear the 80 encampments around the city—a pledge the demonstrators said was a betrayal of the progressive principles he campaigned on in 2013."

Waging Nonviolence: NYC activists push back against anti-homeless crackdown

“New York City’s most recent crackdown on its homeless population has been fueled by the local media, particularly the right-wing tabloid the New York Post, as well as the NYPD’s attempts to discredit Mayor de Blasio and advance the narrative that the city is on a violent, crime-filled decline.”

Socialist Worker: “Persecuting the ‘Undesirables'”

“… The general approach seems to be geared toward promoting gentrification in the central corridor of East Harlem, rather than solving the problems of the homeless, residents of the community or those coming to the neighborhood for treatment.”

Manhattan Times: “Demanding Dignity/Exigiendo Dignidad”

“Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton have recently announced plans to clear 80 homeless encampments throughout the city, among other quality of life initiatives… On Wednesday, speakers condemned the decision, and said that NYPD has taken to forcefully intimidating and removing homeless individuals from the streets. They note that there is no law forbidding homeless people from occupying public spaces.”

Metro NY: “Homeless Advocates Have High Hopes of de Blasio, NYPD During Papal Visit”

“'Bratton doesn’t have a very good history on [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][homelessness],' said William Burnett, a self-identified Roman Catholic and organizer with Harlem-based nonprofit Picture the Homeless. 'But hopefully he has a good grasp of what the Holy See hopes to do during his visit.'”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

October 24, 2019

Reflections from Philanthropy Forward's First Cohort

Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change is a CEO fellowship program created by Neighborhood Funders Group and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. The program's first cohort started in October 2018 in furtherance of building and advancing a shared vision for the future of philanthropy.

Hear perspectives from members of the first cohort as they reflect in this video on their work together as strategic thought partners, addressing philanthropy's most challenging issues and aligning to build a financial engine for social change.

2018 - 2019 Philanthropy Forward Cohort

A grid with individual photos of each of the 20 members of Philanthropy Forward's 2018-2918 cohort..

Click here for participant bios

  • Dimple Abichandani, General Service Foundation
  • Sharon Alpert, Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Elizabeth Barajas-Roman, Solidago Foundation
  • Ned Calonge, The Colorado Trust
  • Irene Cooper-Basch, Victoria Foundation
  • Farhad A. Ebrahimi, The Chorus Foundation
  • Nicky Goren, Meyer Foundation
  • Justin Maxson, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
  • Joan Minieri, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock
  • Maria Mottola, New York Foundation
  • Mike Pratt, Scherman Foundation
  • Jocelyn Sargent, Hyams Foundation
  • Pamela Shifman, NoVo Foundation
  • Starsky D. Wilson, Deaconess Foundation
  • Steve Patrick, Aspen Institute Forum for Community solutions
  • Dennis Quirin, Raikes Foundation
September 10, 2019

For Love of Humankind: A Call to Action for Southern Philanthropy

Justin Maxson, Executive Director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, calls on fellow funding organizations based in the South to respond to the federal government's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies with three concrete actions. This post was originally published here on the foundation's website.

Justin was part of the first Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, which strives to help people and places move out of poverty and achieve greater social and economic justice, is a member of NFG.


 

Justin MaxsonWe are issuing a clarion call to Southern philanthropic organizations to respond to the manic drumbeat of anti-immigrant rhetoric and cruelty coming from the White House. This month began with a mass shooting targeting the Latinx community. Days later, massive raids tore apart hundreds of families and destabilized Mississippi communities but levied no consequences for the corporate leadership that lures vulnerable people to work in grueling, dangerous conditions. It is astounding that since those events, with the resulting fear and trauma still reverberating through immigrant communities across America, the administration has: 

  • repeated its intention to end birthright citizenship, a 14th Amendment guarantee that babies born on American soil are citizens. 
  • attempted to terminate the Flores Agreement, which sets standards for the care of children in custody. This would allow the administration to detain migrant families indefinitely in facilities where children are dying of influenza, yet flu shots are not administrated, where children are sexually assaulted, where soap, toothbrushes, human contact and play are not standard, and where breastfeeding babies are taken from their mothers. Child separation is known to cause permanent psychological trauma and brain damage.
  • announced changes to the so-called “public charge rule” to make it harder for legal immigrants to secure citizenship if they use public assistance. As our partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argue, this change would cause many to “forgo assistance altogether, resulting in more economic insecurity and hardship, with long-term negative consequences, particularly for children.” Further, the decision “rests on the erroneous assumption that immigrants currently of modest means are harmful to our nation and our economy, devaluing their work and contributions and discounting the upward mobility immigrant families demonstrate.”

There was also a recent effort to effectively end asylum altogether at the southern border. And despite the Supreme Court ruling blocking the citizenship question from the 2020 census, advocates believe the debate will depress response rates. As we wrote earlier this month, this administration’s animus against immigrants and increasingly aggressive ICE actions are compounding the devastating effects on communities across the country. 

Why Southern philanthropy? 

An analysis of recent grantmaking by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy found our region has deportation rates five times higher than the rest of the country, yet Southern pro-immigrant organizations receive paltry philanthropic funding. Barely one percent of all money granted by the 1,000 largest foundations benefits immigrants and refugees, and even that money doesn’t go to state and local groups that are accountable to grassroots and immigrant communities. Organizations in Southern states receive less than half of the state and local funding of California, New York and Illinois. 

Where to begin? 

Speak up. As Desmund Tutu taught us, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Use your institutional voice to influence decisionmakers.

Examine your foundation’s policies. Find out if your endowment is invested in private detention centers. Consider how supporting organizing, power building and policy advocacy could advance your mission. NCRP has more recommendations in its report.

Give generously. Our partners at Hispanics in Philanthropy have curated a list of organizations helping the families affected by the raids across Mississippi. Our partners at Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees have compiled a list of ways to help, from rapid response grants to long-term strategies. 

Many of the Babcock Foundation’s grantee partners are doing more and more immediate protection work, stretching themselves thin and often putting themselves at risk. They are keeping families intact in the short term while building power for the long term, so history will stop repeating: 

If you know of more resources, please share them. If you’d like to learn more about the organizations on the ground across the South – or think about ways we can do more together – contact us. We are always looking to learn and act in alignment with our fellow funders toward a shared vision of a strong, safe, welcoming and equitable region. 

Activist Jane Addams said, “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us.” Regardless of a foundation’s mission, abject cruelty surely undermines it. It also undermines the most basic tenet of philanthropy, which literally means “love for humankind.” We see no love in this administration. It’s up to all of us to spread it.