Educational Alliance Partners with Lower East Side Community Organizations to Empower Residents
New York, NY—October 26, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Educational Alliance Partners with Lower East Side Community Organizations to Empower Residents to Organize and Act on Community Concerns
Aiming to empower marginalized groups to engage in local government issues, Educational Alliance is partnering with New York Public Library and Grand Street Settlement to host “Community Conversations” where the neighborhood’s residents can determine their own civic priorities and take action.
Lower East Side, NY – Educational Alliance (EA) is partnering with other community organizations in the Lower East Side to give a civic voice to the neighborhood’s residents. In a new 3-part program titled Community Conversations: Lower East Side Matters, EA and its partner organizations will provide a process and tools for community members to affect local change. On October 25, 2017 the first Community Conversations forum was held at EA’s Manny Cantor Center in the Lower East Side. Dozens of local residents spent time discussing a broad range of issues such as neighborhood safety and support for local business before deciding to focus the rest of the series on the issue of affordable housing. At the next two events in the series, they will drill down on the issue in an open forum and determine a plan of action.
“Democracy only works as a level playing field where each segment of a community is able to be heard,” said Alan van Capelle, President & CEO of Educational Alliance. “Often, marginalized groups face increased barriers to participating in civic engagement. With this series, we’re eliminating those barriers and assisting our neighbors in determining the priorities of their district and addressing those issues head-on.”
Andrew Fairweather, New York Public Library Community Liaison who spearheaded the program at Seward Park Library said “There is nothing so important in a neighborhood like ours, which sees so much change, as a sense of belonging. A true, rich, and authentic sense of belonging can only come as a result of engaging with our neighbors in a process of struggle we hold in common. Of all the outcomes which may result in this series, it is my hope that, above all, we may come to know such a sense of belonging.”
Executive Director of Grand Street Settlement Robert Cordero, said “As a settlement house, Grand Street Settlement creates platforms for community members to voice their opinions and work toward viable solutions. We are proud to work in coalition with our fellow LES organizations to empower the neighborhood.”
“Manny Cantor Center is proud to host these important conversations. We hope that a broad range of local residents—from novices to experienced advocates—will make their voices heard,” said Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Executive Director of Manny Cantor Center.
The issues discussed at the first Community Conversations forum will be accompanied by a formulated concrete plan for action in the following weeks. Community Conversations: Lower East Side Matters is a collaborative effort of Educational Alliance, New York Public Library’s Seward Park Branch, Lower East Side Action Group, and Grand Street Settlement.
Click here to download photos from the event.
About Educational Alliance
Educational Alliance (www.edalliance.org) is a 128-year-old community based organization serving more than 50,000 New Yorkers. Providing services to people of all ages and backgrounds, their programs include an incredibly successful College Prep program where in a district with graduation rates as low as 37%, 100% of teenage College Prep participants graduate, go on to college, and receive financial aid. They are also the administrators of Head Start, Early Head Start, and Afterschool programs across lower Manhattan. Millions have been helped by EA’s programs including Karen Canella, a first generation immigrant who became the focus of a campaign EA led to restore NYC’s funding for teen programs. In 2017, EA has galvanized the community behind the “We the People” initiative, claiming lower Manhattan as a sanctuary from the hate and divisiveness that has spread across the nation in the wake of the recent election, leaving many of the vulnerable populations EA serves feeling anxious and scared.
Jake Link, Director of Communications