Neighbor to Neighbor

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Neighbor to Neighbor is a Boston Massachusetts based "social justice" organization.

Board

The Board of Directors "has a unique structure, in which all members are low-income people elected as representatives from the communities where we work. The Board is made up of committed activist leaders from each N2N-MA chapter. Board members have direct life experience with the working family issues, and reside in a low-income and working class communities in Massachusetts."[1]

Structure

Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts is comprised of two separate corporate entities: the Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Education Fund and the Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Action Fund. Both organizations are working to build power in low-income and working class communities around economic justice issues. While there is some overlap in the work done by each entity, certain activities are done by one organization and not the other.[2]

  • Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Education Fund

The Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization. Activities performed by the N2N-MA Education Fund include:

  • Grassroots organizing
  • Leadership development
  • Issue advocacy
  • Non-partisan voter empowerment
  • Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Action Fund

Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Action Fund is a Massachusetts corporation operating as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. Activities performed by the N2N-MA Action Fund include:

  • Legislative lobbying
  • Partisan organizing
  • Coordinated electoral work

Democratic Socialists of America

On June 12, 2001, Neighbor to Neighbor was a benefactor of the annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards reception which is hosted by Boston Democratic Socialists of America. The Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award is presented to "leaders who fight for democracy, here at home and around the world". Ed Clark, Honorary Vice Chair of Democratic Socialists of America; and Communist Party USA-linked Dessima Williams received the Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award, while DSAer John Maher received the Michael Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award. DSAer David Knuttunen; and In These Times members Abby Rockefeller and Lee Halprin were also benefactors of the reception. The reception took place at the home of DSAer Marcia Peters and her husband David Karaus in Jamaica Plain.[3]

CORI reform

Deval Patrick with Neighbor to Neigbor to Neigbor members
Deval Patrick with Neighbor to Neigbor to Neigbor members

Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts (N2N-MA) members stood alongside Governor Deval Patrick on August 6 2010 as he signed CORI (criminal record) Reform into law. With the passage of this bill, Massachusetts becomes only the second state in the nation to prohibit both public and private employers from asking about a person’s criminal history on an initial job application.

Members of Neighbor to Neighbor have been organizing for CORI Reform since 2006, and "over the past week, doubts had grown about whether the legislation would pass in time for the end of the session on July 31st. The bill was finally approved by the House of Representatives and Senate in the last hours of the session."

Angela Estrada, a Neighbor to Neighbor member from Worcester who has a CORI record said, “This is a huge victory for Neighbor to Neighbor and all of the people that have worked hard for years to make this reform happen. We have made history today by changing this law. We know that when we all unite, we can win.”

Wilnelia Rivera, Campaigns Director of Neighbor to Neighbor spoke at the event, “This victory represents the power of people to make a change on Beacon Hill,” she said. “When people come together and get organized, they can win. This is our goal at Neighbor to Neighbor, and we’ll keep fighting until all residents of the state have access to jobs, housing, health care, and a quality education.”

Rep. Liz Malia, D-Boston, the lead sponsor of the CORI provisions in the House said, “I am incredibly pleased to be witness to this bill signing. CORI reform is going to improve communities throughout Massachusetts. I am very grateful to my colleagues, the Commonwealth CORI Coalition, and Neighbor to Neighbor, for their hard work – we would not be here today without them.”

Neighbor to Neighbor’s unique model of community organizing and grassroots advocacy was recognized by CORI Reform advocates. “Neighbor to Neighbor has played a crucial role over the years in the CORI Reform Campaign, bringing the voices of people directly impacted to the State House, building a diverse coalition, and working with us on legislative strategy,” said Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston. “Their work was critical to making this victory possible.”

Virgenmina Perez, a member of the Holyoke Chapter of Neighbor to Neighbor who’s son has a CORI, said after the event, “It is a blessing that this bill has passed. We know that this is going to impact many people and open doors to work and housing for all communities. It was worth the wait! Yes we can!”

Friday’s signing was held at Freedom House, an organization with a sixty-year history of fighting for social justice for communities of color. It was a fitting location for the culmination of this civil rights battle.[4]

References

  1. http://www.n2nma.org/about-us/board-directors Neighbor to Neighbor webite, accessed Jan 1, 2011]
  2. Neighbor to Neighbor website, accessed Jan 1, 2011
  3. The Yankee Radical, June 2001, page 1
  4. [http://www.n2nma.org/news/announcements/governor-patrick-signs-cori-reform-bill-into-law N2N website, Governor Patrick Signs CORI Reform Bill into Law Submitted by corey on Fri, 08/06/2010 - 4:03pm]
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