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DC 37 partners with immigrant advocacy group

Make the Road is one of several organizations District Council 37 is collaborating with through the union’s new Office of Community Partnership.

Established two years ago, the office aims to work with all New Yorkers who face some of the same issues as DC 37 members.

Make the Road was founded in 2007. With storefront offices in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island, Make the Road focuses on serving the city’s growing immigrant population. From their offices, the group offers classes in English, computer literacy, legal services, citizenship instruction, and high school equivalency exam. Make the Road’s citizenship classes have helped as many as 200 people become U.S. citizens.

People who live in Brentwood, Jackson Heights or Bushwick can count on Make the Road activists if they have a problem with their landlord and are being thrown out of their apartments. Parents can send their kids to their Youth Power after-school program.

“It’s a very large organization and a very active one too,” said Raul Rodriguez, director of the union’s Office of Community Partnership.

Once a month 150 activists from Make the Road, DC 37 and several other organizations meet at union headquarters for their No Cuts coalition meeting, where they discuss strategy to fight against President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Dept. Housing and Urban Development. Activists from Community Voices Heard, another organization that has signed on to work with DC 37, is also part of the coalition.

In addition to its collaboration with the No Cuts coalition, Make the Road has also played an active role, along with DC 37, in the CUNY Raising Alliance, a movement to stop tuition increases at the City University of New York.

Make the Road’s activism is grounded in the Make the Road Leadership School where activists attend weekly training sessions, learning how to develop and build campaigns, deliver their message using various media tools, and how to advocate effectively on behalf of their communities.

“They are an impressive organization with strong roots in the community,” said Rodriguez. “That’s why we look forward to working with Make the Road.”