Michael Gecan is retiring as Co-Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation this month. All accolades coming his way will be richly deserved. His career has been a model of how to build and sustain broad based power organizations. Mike has been an organization builder, innovator, risk taker, and thought leader for over four decades.
While best known for his work with East Brooklyn Congregations (and the sparkling success of Nehemiah Housing in NYC), his mentoring of talented leaders and organizers, his strategic brilliance applied to multiple political fights over decades, his talent for expression through the written word, his (cold) anger, humor and patience put him in the top rung of change agents in the USA and abroad.
See DF's page devoted to Michael Gecan's Books.
BOOK OF THE WEEK:
From the Washington Post:
One person who recognizes this disparity is Mike Gecan, senior organizer at Metro Industrial Areas Foundation based in Chicago. In something of a unique social experiment, Gecan is attempting to address obstacles faced by populations who are disadvantaged by residing in far-off areas of the map. Opinion piece here.
Angry seniors today raise hell against a mayor who a year ago made them a promise to build $500 million in new affordable senior housing, then turned his back and flew to Iowa to sell his brand of progressivism on the national market.
We echo the frustration of the men and women of East Brooklyn Congregations and Metro Industrial Areas Foundation as today, at the end of their ropes, they call for Mayor de Blasio to “step up or step down."
NY Daily News Editorial
In a spirited community forum on Sunday, May 19, 2019, Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) obtained commitments from the Democratic Party contenders for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors on a range of important local issues, to include millions more dollars in County funding for affordable housing projects, and an expansion of the legal defense fund for local immigrants who are in the country illegally.
“VOICE can be the difference in this election,” VOICE leaders told people at the packed-out Bethlehem Baptist Church of Gum Springs, which hosted the event. “We can get more done together than we can apart, and we will apply pressure.” Hunt Herald story by Lori Ostrow here.
EBC leader Tita Concepcion Confronts de Blasio
Two women flew to Iowa, courtesy of the organization East Brooklyn Congregations, to confront him on deteriorating conditions in the New York City Housing Authority. They also pressed him on his stalled promise to build more housing for senior citizens on underused NYCHA lots.
“We have been in New York; we have been trying to speak with him,” said resident Tita Concepcion. “All we get are stories from him. He doesn’t listen. He dodges us whenever possible.”
Great background in CrainsNewYork.com here.
Leadership desperately needed in Bridgeport Police Department: Op-Ed By Conect/IAF leaders Rev Anthony L Bennett and Rev Cass Shaw
Metro IAF Continues to call out NYC mayor Bill De Blasio; Now backed by the NY Times editorial Board
Tawana Myers, a community activist from Brooklyn who lobbied the mayor for senior housing for years with the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, said the city should simply honor its promise.
“We fought for this money,” she told The Times, recalling years of rallies. “We came out in the rain, in wheelchairs.”
It’s distressing that Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Johnson misled older, low-income New Yorkers, 200,000 of whom are on a waiting list for affordable housing. Story here.
NYCHA tenants and other leaders with South Bronx Churches marched, Saturday from 389 E 150th St. t a vacant lot owned by NYCHA at East 152nd St. between Courtland and Melrose. As they marched, they called for Mayor de Blasio to keep his promise to spend $500 million to build affordable senior housing on vacant or under-used NYCHA land. April 27, 2019. (Gregg Vigliotti/for New York Daily News)
Angrily denouncing Mayor de Blasio over what they call a broken $500 million promise, tenants and church leaders marched in the South Bronx on Saturday to demand more public housing for seniors. Story.
Speaking at CONECT’s press conference was Rev Anthony Bennett and Rick DelValle, a former drug addict who now operates five recovery houses for addicts in New Haven.
“This important legislation will help level the playing field for Connecticut’s racial minorities,” said Rev. Anthony Bennett of Mt. Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport and Co-Chair of CONECT. “Despite important gains in criminal justice reform here in Connecticut, racial minorities are still far more likely to have a criminal record, even surpassing national averages. That’s just unacceptable here in Connecticut.” Story.
But even the most optimistic commitment from the city doesn’t come close to meeting the current or future needs, says Grant Lindsay, Lead Organizer with East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC), an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) an affordable housing advocacy group.
Lindsay says the mayor’s target of 30,000 senior units by 2026 “isn’t a real number, but a combination of loans to existing housing to maintain the current level of relative affordability, retrofitting some housing, and a few new units.” He says the question to ask is “how many seniors on the current waiting lists will get that housing?” City Limits story.
Featuring VOICE leaders Rev. Dr. Keith Savage, Rev. Kenneth Nixon, and Mr. John Chapman. Link to TV News HERE.