ACORN Around the World: January 2019

Le texte français suit l’anglais

Thibaut, the organizer from Brussels is in his final month of training in New Orleans. In February, I will be traveling to visit our other trainees in Albania and Bulgaria, as well as spending three days in Frankfurt assisting the development of a potential ACORN-affiliated tenants’ union there. Along with UK ACORN’s Nick Ballard, I am also visiting Dublin to advance the prospects of a potential affiliation in Ireland.

News in the United States is encouraging. The new year brings an organizer with ACORN and the Home Savers Campaign in Detroit. This month, we are also starting a six-month training and consulting contract with Amani United, a community organization in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Dominican Center, potentially also an ACORN affiliate. Campaigns: Lessons from the Field was published in December and is now being distributed. “The Organizer” is scheduled for a week of showings at the Zeitgeist Theater in New Orleans in January and at a theater in Harlem in March, with more dates on an East Coast swing at the same time. Finally, initial steps are being taken to develop internet and terrestrial radio stations in Uganda in January. Watch this space…

Mark your calendars! The international staff and leaders meeting date is set for Friday, July 19th and Saturday, July 20th in Lyon, France. See ACORN International’s full 2019 calendar here.

Wade

See some more highlights below.

ACORN Around the World

UK ACORN members double down on housing campaigns

ACORN members have been organizing for affordable, livable housing across the UK. Brighton members carried out several actions as part of an ongoing campaign against a slum landlord, as did Birmingham members. Bristol members focused on their affordable housing campaign, turning out large numbers to a carol-singing demonstration, campaign and member defence meetings. In Newcastle, members have been building a new local group covering three tower blocks. Sheffield members held their Quarterly General meeting, elected officers and held several door-knocking sessions. Manchester ACORN organized a training session for members with ACORN’s National Organiser, as well as phone banking and door knocking sessions and a Christmas social and meeting.

Exciting meetings for Kenya ACORN!

Kenya ACORN recently hosted the ACORN International’s Chief Organizer, Wade Rathke. Wade shared a lot of information to benefit Kenya ACORN’s organizing work! We also visited the only local radio station in Korogocho (KOCH FM) to discuss a potential partnership with the officials of the station.

Fighting for child care in Delhi

As a part of the broader network of Delhi-based organizations working on issues affecting kids aged 0-6 years, Delhi ACORN launched a campaign demanding a creche in the local community. Meetings were organized in Lalita Park, Mandawali and Shashi Garden. Later, district level larger meetings will be organized collectively to set the demand of creche on the agenda of political parties. The general election is scheduled for March/April 2019.

Czech ACORN finds important artwork during demolition

During the demolition of a villa on the outskirts of Prague, workers from the ACORN Czech Republic movement found a collection of paintings from Jewish painter Gertruda Kauders, who died in a concentration camp during WWII. The paintings had been kept between the walls, so that the Nazis could not destroy them during the war. The discovery is not only important for the Czech Jewish community, but is also a major breakthrough in Central European art history. As a result, the Jewish community is organizing a joint exhibition with ACORN Czech Republic! News reports here and here.

Victory! Access to free drinking water in Douala

Douala 5e residents will finally have better access to drinking water as a result of the actions of OnEstEnsemble members to force Town Hall to repair defective boreholes. Actions taken include a petition signed by 200 people, a neighborhood walk from one water point to another, and a children’s theater stage at one of the defective boreholes. After a number of delays, work finally began in December, thanks to the perseverance of OnEstEnsemble members. Residents will quickly have access to free drinking water.

Experimental organizing for ACORN Italy!

ACORN Italy has been busy co-staging a community organizing course in Rome together with Community Organizing ONLUS, an Industrial Areas Foundation affiliate, marking the perhaps first time ever that the ACORN and IAF methods and visions have been blended into one, trying to take the best out of the two and make it one common experimental path. So far, the response has been fantastic and for ACORN Italy this represents a thrilling opportunity to do what ACORN International rightfully pushed them to do for a long time: real community organizing in Italy, and Vatican State too, since the course takes place on an urban farm next door to St. Peter’s!

Honduras ACORN board meets

The board of Honduras ACORN recently had their first meeting since formally registering.

Toronto ACORN delivers the gift of affordable housing to mayor

More than 40 Toronto ACORN members and 5 supportive city councillors turned out to City Hall to deliver holiday gifts during the mayor’s swearing-in ceremony. Members were eager to remind the mayor to keep his promise of making housing a #1 priority this term! They rallied outside City Hall before entering to deliver their house-shaped gifts under the mayor’s tree.

Hamilton ACORN’s housing platform packs a punch at City Hall

Hamilton ACORN released their Housing Platform at City Hall recently. The platform and accompanying report detail what the City of Hamilton needs to do to ensure affordable housing is preserved, and that tenants are ensured health and safety standards in their apartments. The platform urges the City to create an anti-renoviction and displacement strategy, a city-wide registration program for landlords and calls for a complete overhaul of the city’s property standards bylaws.

Ottawa ACORN members celebrate a successful year!

Members and allies enjoyed good food, TONS of prizes fundraised by some rockstar leaders and received awards at Ottawa ACORN’s People Power party. The highlight of the night was when member MCs gave out blooper awards to targets! 2018 was a year with lots to celebrate. Members made huge gains on campaigns like internet for all, inclusionary zoning, landlord licensing and payday lending and we’re expecting in 2019 to be bigger and stronger!

Victory! Members of the Alliance Citoyenne elected to the board of social housing authorities

Members had 3 victories in Grenoble and Aubervilliers. In the Grenoble Habitat, where have been campaigning since last April, tenants supported the Alliance and elected Fatiha Belhachemi. In another Grenoble housing authority, Marie Rodriguez (aka Xena) was elected in 2nd place. In Aubervilliers, Paris, Fatouma Camara was also elected. The first election campaign of the Alliance Citoyenne was a success, proving the strength ACORN’s organizing approach. After many direct actions to demand the renovation of apartments and the improvement of the public service, this victory marks a new stage.

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