Make the Road New York (MRNY)
Make the Road New York (MRNY) builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.
The model integrates multi-issue, multi-generational organizing – on workers’ rights, tenant rights, LGBTQ justice, youth power and policing, public schools and education justice, immigration justice, and climate – with an array of wraparound services that create a space of safety and support for entire families. The storefront community centers are decorated with murals and made visible with colorful awnings; families pour in to sign up for English-as-a-second-language classes, and stay to enroll their kids in the after-school Youth Power program. They come seeking help fighting an illegal eviction, and stay to fight for better laws protecting tenants.
Interviews with staff and members bring out one recurrent comment: “Make the Road is my second home.” Immigrant parents thousands of miles from their children find support and solidarity here. Transgender women facing violence and discrimination at every turn find safety here. And everyone who comes with an individual story of abuse and exploitation finds that they are not alone – that in collectivizing experiences and voices they can build the power to change not just one case, but entire systems.
For over 20 years, Make the Road New York has fought to ensure respect and dignity for immigrant, poor, and working class New Yorkers. From the early years working to combine legal services, education, and community organizing in Jackson Heights and Bushwick, they had big dreams about what kind of city and state New York can be. And they believed they could build an organization with the sophistication and muscle to deliver on those dreams.
Thanks to the tenacity and vision of 20,000+ members, and those who have helped us along the way, MRNY has grown into a robust, multi-service powerhouse that works with tens of thousands of New York City and Long Island residents each year.
They have woven together the different strategies necessary to eradicate poverty. They take those tools deep into the neighborhoods where immigrants and low-income New Yorkers live and work. And they deploy those strategies at City Hall, in Albany, and on the national scene to win organizing victories and policy campaigns that improve the lives of hundreds of thousands.