Invitation to First Encuentro

NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Gentrification

An invitation to: Members and families of organizations fighting against gentrification in their communities around NYC.

From: Movement for Justice in El Barrio

NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Gentrification

This October, Movement for Justice in El Barrio invites members and families of organizations fighting against gentrification for an evening of sharing, food, and conversation to learn from one another’s struggles throughout the city.

An encuentro is a space for people to come together, it is a gathering. An encuentro is not a meeting, a panel or a conference, it is a way of sharing developed by the Zapatistas as another form of doing politics: from below and to the left. It is a place where we can all speak, we will all listen, and we can all learn. It is a place where we can share the many different struggles that make us one.

We are Movement for Justice in El Barrio. We are an organization of immigrants that fights for social justice and for humanity. Movement for Justice in El Barrio is against all forms of discrimination: discrimination against women, immigrants, homosexuals, lesbians, transgendered people, people of color and people of low-income. Movement for Justice in El Barrio fights against capitalists and against bad governments and their neoliberal agendas. We are part of the Zapatista initiated transnational movement called “The Other Campaign.”

Movement for Justice in El Barrio is fighting against gentrification in our neighborhood, a process that is better understood by we who are affected by it as the displacement of families from their homes for being of low income, immigrants and people of color.

Together, we make our dignity resistance and we fight back against the actions of capitalist landlords and multinational corporations who are displacing poor families from our neighborhood. We fight back locally and across borders. We fight back against the government institutions that help the landlords fulfill their goals. We fight back against our elected local officials that refuse to govern by obeying the people.

The landlords and the government belong to a culture of capitalism that uses the power of money to take control of that which belongs to the community. They want to displace poor families to renovate their buildings and rent the apartments to rich people, to white people with money. With the excuse of “developing the community,” they want to change the look of our neighborhood. They want to remove from the street the street vendors, who earn an honorable and dignified living, the families that have their small restaurants, small clothing stores, and the small bodegas on the corners in our neighborhood. They want to displace us to bring in their luxury restaurants, their large expensive clothing stores, their supermarket chains. They want to change our neighborhood. They want to change our culture. They want to change that which makes us Latin@, African-American, Asian or Indigenous. They want to change everything that makes us El Barrio.

We know that this is happening all over the city and that we do not stand alone in our resistance. We know that there are humble and simple people like ourselves in many parts of the city fighting back to keep their homes and save their communities.

In this encuentro, we would like to hear directly from people affected by the devastating affects of gentrification who are fighting back in their own communities, people who are not dependent on political parties, politicians or government agencies but look to the power of the people for strength to resist.

We hope people will share their struggle in whatever way they feel the most comfortable, whether it be verbally, through song, poetry or rhyme, through a video, through artwork or however people can best express their struggle.

Please come enjoy a family dinner while we share our struggles against gentrification!!

We will provide dinner, childcare and Spanish/English translation.

Due to our limited resources as a grassroots organization, please limit your group or organization’s participation to 3 community members plus children.

P.S. Children are especially invited to come break open the “Neoliberal” Piñata!