On Wednesday, May 23rd, and estimated 7,000 people, representing over 90 community and tenant organizations tenant rallied outside of Stuyvesant Town for the launch of the New York is Our Home Affordable Housing Campaign.

The rally started at 5pm with groups taking positions in the streets surrounding Stuyvesant Town and Peter Copper Village (14th Street to 23rd Street, between 1st Avenue and Avenue C). The goal of the “Hands Around Stuy Town” rally was to gather enough people to form a human chain around the housing complex. I stood with a group on 18th Street and Avenue C, where there was a shortage of demonstrators until 5:30 or so. At approximately 5:45, the demonstrators joined hands, achieving the human chain.

Demonstrators then marched across 14th Street to Union Square Park. Signs reading “Save Our Homes” were plentiful as well as chants of “Affordable Housing Now!” and “Si Se Puede” (Yes We Can!). The range of groups represented at the event became much more clear during the march, as the participating groups intermingled. Groups representing each borough and dozens of neighborhoods were present: the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, GOLES, ACORN, the Working Families Party, and many, many more.

The scene was relatively calm as marchers filed down 14th Street, with two lanes of the north side closed to car traffic. The police were, as far as I saw, well behaved and only interfered with demonstrators who seemed to wander toward the south side of the street. I reached the end of the march, at 17th Street and Union Square East, at 6:30pm.

The New York is Our Home Campaign website ( http://newyorkisourhome.blogspot.com) includes a summary of the event and details some of the Campaign’s upcoming actions including a project to map rent hikes across the city and a trip to Albany on June 5th to lobby for statewide housing reform legislation.

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