Monday, June 21, 2010

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio Launches "The Public Advocate's Guide to Community Organizing" - NYC Public Advocate

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Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today launched “The Public Advocate’s Guide to Community Organizing” a toolkit offering New Yorkers easy to understand information about how City government works, strategies to make City government more responsive, and tools to organize residents around issues affecting their communities.

“Government and democracy work best when citizens are engaged. In a place as diverse as our City, we need to give every community the ability to make Government accountable to its needs,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said. “Our Community Organizing Department and this new guide will help New Yorkers have a greater say in the policies that shape our City.”

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Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was joined by Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams, Ana Maria Archila - Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York and Millie Bonilla - Coalition for Educational Justice as well as staff members Jose Davila and Leslie Cagen...(see photos)

The guide, which was presented at a meeting with members of the New York City ethnic and community media, is available in a user-friendly online format as well as downloadable PDF documents at the Public Advocate’s Website: It can be accessed in seven languages, English, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Haitian-Creole, Arabic and Spanish.

Copies are also being sent to community-based organizations, Community Boards, and members of the City Council.

The first installment of this guide includes two main parts with key information about how New York City Government works and organizing techniques, including:

Part A- Institutions that Impact our Lives
Section 1: How the New York City Government Works- An Overview

Section 2: Other Local Institution and Centers of Power

Section 3: Making your Voice Heard

Part B- Organizing for Change
Section 1: Power in Numbers: Strengthening and Building Community Groups

Section 2: Getting Started

Section 3: Developing and Running Campaigns

Section 4: Outreach

The guide is a dynamic document that will be regularly updated and improved. More sections will be added in the coming months, including topics such as the city budget, land use and zoning processes, as well as how to work with media and new communications technology.

This new resource is the latest addition to the Public Advocate’s effort to increase civic participation in the City through its Community Organizing Department. Other initiatives already in progress include: Advocate for Advocate’s Town Halls, Public Advocate on the Street, the Parent Advocacy Coordinating Team, and Community Organizing workshops.

In its first six months, the Community Organizing Department has engaged over 10,000 New Yorkers through organizing work, including town hall meetings, workshops, volunteerism, and petition signing.