Friday, May 16, 2014

New York 2 New Orleans

General Mission/Who We Are: 
NY2NO is a youth led organization established to create a network of young people who are interested in organizing and mobilizing across New York City. NY2NO works in solidarity with those most affected by the social, racial, and economic inequalities in both New York, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. We break down barriers and work together to combat racism and classism in the hopes of moving towards a more egalitarian society.

A Brief History:
Although many NY2NO organizers went on their first trips down to New Orleans with their schools, the students realized that they wanted to create a coalition separate and free from the usual administrative power of adults and that brought together youth from across New York City. Following this demand NY2NO was formed as a student organization under which trips to New Orleans could be organized. Now it has become a network of New York City High School students interested in organizing and mobilizing around the parallel struggles of New Orleans and their own communities. 
Since the summer of 2007, we have organized over 35 New Orleans brigades, bringing over 1000 high school students back to New York with organizing skills, a greater understanding of the injustices within America, and ideas about how they can create change and combat these issues. 
During the trips we do farm work alongside the employees of Our School at Blair Grocery and youth from the Lower Ninth Ward. Some of what we have done in the past includes composting, gutting houses, building fences, doing community outreach, attending community meetings, planting, and cooking. In addition to manual labor, we create and participate in workshops about a variety of issues including: racism, classism, gender inequity, food injustice, environmental injustice, movement building, and more. We explore these issues within New Orleans and then continue to analyze them within our broader New York City communities.

How We Operate:
Whether it be in an organizational meeting or in a debrief, NY2NO operates through consensus decision-making in order to eliminate a minority of people who will be displeased by a majority rule decision. This also encourages groups thinking and feeling together in a free space called the People's Circle. NY2NO believes that by using consensus they are creating a model of participatory democracy and focusing on the constant forward process of the entire group. In order to ensure that decisions are made by consensus, a member of the People's Circle takes on the role of facilitator to mediate the emotions, decisions and progress of the discussions. When a decision cannot be made because a group or individual within the circle feels strongly enough to not stand aside on the issue, the decision is discussed further until a consensus can be reached.

Fiscal Sponsor:
Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace is an ecumenical agency whose mission is to help forward the struggles of oppressed peoples for justice and self-determination and they are also NY2NO's wonderful Fiscal Sponsor. They provide our 5o1c3 official non-profit status that enables us to receive tax exempt donations, and they also facilitate our finances. IFCO/Pastors for Peace have always been incredibly supportive of all of our visions and projects and without them none of our work would be possible.

In New York City we have created a group called GYO, which stands for Growing Youth Organizers. Growing Youth Organizers is an autonomous group of New York 2 New Orleans organizers engaging in reflective dialogue and direct action. GYO is a program designed to enable the development of students’ facilitation and organizing skills, as well as foster a deeper critical analysis of issues in New York and New Orleans, though this program focuses mostly on work within NYC. Students work together on tasks such as: outreach proposals and projects, designing curriculum, planning fundraisers, and refining structures of our service-learning brigades.

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