THE CHALLENGE – Powerful Tools to Break Down Inequality and Separation
The combined Fort Greene-Clinton Hill neighborhood has immense institutional, financial, intellectual, spiritual, creative and moral capital. It has virtually every kind of institution and land use present in New York City at large – 3 colleges, 5 high schools, important entertainment and arts institutions, a hospital, the full range of community service organizations, the city’s largest concentration of manufacturing, vigorous religious institutions, 6 banks and a major bank office building, national retail chains, multi-building apartment complexes and 2 major parks and small charter schools, mom-and-pop stores, entrepreneurial high tech and design businesses, many intimate arts venues, store front churches and homes of all varieties. It also has highly skilled, thoughtful and engaged neighbors with widely diverse backgrounds, many with wealth.
Simultaneously, Fort Greene/Clinton Hill has the city’s second poorest census tract, 10 public schools rated 3 or less out of 10 by Great Schools and 8 homeless shelters.
Unseen barriers between the Housing Authority developments, with over 5,000 families, and other well-resourced sections of the community are as clear as a wall.
ONE COMMUNITY IS A FACILITATOR
One Community calls for Fort Greene and Clinton Hill residents and institutions to employ the powerful tools at their disposal, individually and as a community, to reduce inequality, dismantle divisions, and share the contributions which each part of the community offers.
One Community is based on two premises:
The large majority of stakeholders in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill are motivated to reduce unequal opportunity and to dismantle community divisions and have programs for the underserved.
Structural change will follow when institutions determine to wield all their resources for the greatest local impact and neighbors take on targeted good works.
We focus attention on inequality and separation, catalyze a fairer and freer allocation of resources and help remove impediments to change.
INSTITUTIONS ADOPT A VISION
One Community asks institutions to do two things:
Many local organizations do important, effective community work core activities. One Community asks that they explore how to maximize the number of local people in their community programs.
Scaling up the thinking: One Community asks institutions to make local equal opportunity and the dismantling neighborhood barriers high-level institutional goals. Participating organizations will broadly and creatively examine all their operations to see what they can do as service providers, employers, owners of facilities, leaders and advocates, trainers and educators, etc. to advance local equity and sharing. The leading institutions will confer on an executive organization-wide authority to promote the goals.
TELLING THE FULL STORY
One Community is encouraging acknowledgement of “The Zone,” based on measures of poverty, employment, health, crime and educational level. The map of The Zone and its characteristics will be posted on this site.
Simultaneously, One Community is working with zone leaders and organizations to bring to the fore recognition of The Zone for its residents’ resilience, achievements and contributions to the fabric of Fort Greene/Clinton Hill. As institutions and neighbors focus on equity and sharing, The Zone’s increasingly broad range of opportunities will become another attractive, defining dimension.
One Community is encouraging the development of a “Zone Network.” The network will:
Crystallize and express needs and reactions to proposals from resource-rich institutions.
Extend channels for disseminating information and delivering services throughout The Zone.
Encourage and sustain Zone residents’ participation in enhanced opportunities.
Shine a light on achievements, energy, creations and relations in The Zone to be celebrated and shared.
NEIGHBORS DO THE WORK
Volunteers are exploring needs and resources, making introductions, creating projects, developing materials and links, sharing skills, cajoling, and removing impediments to the deployment of needed resources. Volunteers also are creating and sustaining One Community’s internal capacity.