El Comita, ACORN Tunisia and the Jasmine Foundation hosted the organizers forum in Tunis, Tunisia from September 12th to September 18th. The Organizers’ Forum annually visits different countries. In Tunisia, we met with unions, NGOs, environmental, and women’s organizations along with communities where ACORN’s affiliate, La Comita, was organizing. ACORN representatives induced Olivia O’Conner from Hamilton ACORN, Adrien Roux from the Alliance Citoyenne, Eloise Mallet from ReAct and ACORN Africa, Sammy Ndirangu from ACORN Kenya, and Marius Beloch from ACORN’s affiliate in Cameroon.
After months of campaigning, the threat of an action by the members of ACORN affiliate OnEstEnsemble led the agency to pay the hostesses of the GCG agency after waiting for months. The repair of the main pipe has been completed which will reconnect households to the network of water Bonewanda. Local residents have asked the Metropolitan regulate the parking of motorcycle taxis to avoid congestion.
At the national level, ACORN Canada released the report “Barriers to digital equality” which calls for affordable and universal access to the internet. In Toronto, ACORN members won the city vote for effective implementation of the RentSafe Toronto, a landlord registration program that we had won in 2016. In Mississauga, PEEL ACORN members won a proactive inspection program based on RentSafe Toronto which will be piloted in select buildings. In Ottawa, members won a motion at the city council to enact minimum distance and licensing requirements for payday lending companies. In Hamilton, members having fighting renovictions, the city voted unanimously in support of a motion to review the its incentive grant programs to developers to ensure no city funds are given to renovictors.
Members of the social building cooperative and AKORN gathered on November 17 at the Republic Square to support the Real Left event called the Revealed Revolution. It was a call out for a comeback of the unfinished “velvet revolution” that began in November 1989, marking the establishment of the Civic Forum. Members are working to create a connected platform like the Civic Forum through which power can be shared and people are able to be actively engage and influence or propose programs.
ACORN’s affiliate in Lyon, France, Alliance Citoyenne represented its members in an action demanding burkini wearers be allowed to swim in public pools, wearing the ACORN visor hats! This comes in the wake of the proposed banning of the garment by the authorities in several French towns.
ACORN foundation in India demanded Indian companies to devise a method to buy back plastic packaging and bottles that get discarded by consumers after usage at a Bloomberg Equality Summit in Mumbai. ACORN India also featured in the award winning article in the Global Post.
Members have been planning for the campaigns on Feeding program and that of Environmental sanitation in Korogocho and its neighboring villages. Members were able to strike a partnership with Koch FM which is the only radio station in Korogocho. This will allow ACORN to have four hours of daily programming with live or pre-recorded on air programs. Further, over 400 women attended an empowerment event in Korogocho in Nairobi, Kenya where six months’ supply of sanitary pads were distributed to all participants.
In Brighton, as part of ACORN’s National Renters Vote campaign to mobilise people in vulnerable housing to vote in the General Election. Working across Brighton and Hove at soup kitchens, housing advice and community centres, street stalls and in temporary accommodation, the union has successfully registered almost 100 people, including 50 people with no fixed address. ACORN alongwith several allies launched a national renter manifesto which sets out the steps needed to ensure that everybody has a secure, affordable and decent home. The manifesto covers six key themes: Security, Affordability, Justice, Conditions, Discrimination, and Housing for People Not Profit.
ACORN Liverpool held a protest against homes being auctioned off in Kensington Fields. Members managed to get one of the homes pulled from today’s auction, but sadly the other one went ahead. Families with children in Liverpool are facing potential evictions as landlords advertise their homes to be sold off as student house shares. Acorn Liverpool’s AGM was a big when members spent time plotting and scheming to build working class power. A new committee is in place, and members are ready to get back at it.
ACORN started another new chapter for ACORN in England: ACORN Portsmouth!
New Orleans: A Community Voice, ACORN’s Louisiana affiliate alongwith Justice and Beyond, a community group and other scientists and environmental activists were able to highlight the issue of lead poisoning and put forth demands for cleanup in New Orleans. While groups have been trying to call attention to the problem for years, it was only recently that a demonstration with some 50 people outside the water board headquarters to protest high water bills and lead levels brought attention to the issue. A 2016 study estimated that there are 6.1 million lead pipes bringing water to homes in the US, a fact that was hidden for long.
Memphis: Wade Rathke, founder of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), and Diné Butler, community organizer and policy analyst, explored ways large equity firms are reducing homeownership in Memphis’ low-income neighborhoods.
Netherlands is pushing forward to build ACORN and more there. Inquiries about ACORN organizing have come from Tel Aviv where there’s interest in a building an ACORN Tenants’ Union. Marielle Benchehboune from Lyon is meeting with them in December when she is there for a conference. Progress is reportedly slow but steady for ACORN in Ireland as well.